Fremantle Stuff > streets > Perth-Fremantle Road

Perth-Fremantle Road

Travellers from Fremantle to Perth, unless they chose to go the whole way by river, were ferried across the water at Preston Point. From the disembarkation point, somewhere near the present border separating North Fremantle and Mosman Park, a ride of three kilometres along the coastal sandhills and a similar distance through gently undulating country with a thick covering of jarrah and redgum brought one to the Bush Inn, where Bailey now ran a well-regarded hostelry. Passing along the line of what are now Palmerston and View Streets, the route followed the ridge through Claremont before diverging through the current localities of Karrakatta and Shenton Park and the north-west corner of Kings Park to enter the town centre by way of Mount Street.
As the track through the jarrah was tediously sandy, and as Bailey’s was the only inn along the road, its custom was steady, though modest, until 1838. In that year, following an unpleasant mishap in which that prominent citizen Lionel Samson took a tumble from his horse while negotiating the Perth-Fremantle road, it was decided to alter the route. In consequence the section of the road between Leighton Beach and the present site of Claremont shifted a few hundred metres west and north, leaving the Bush Inn out of the main traffic. (Bolton & Gregory: 12)

'... you ride over high sandhills along the seashore in a northerly direction about two miles. You then enter a thickly wooded country with gentle hill and dale. The trees are nearly all white and red gum and mahogany [jarrah]. The blackboy trees give a very strange appearance. They look like burnt trees, about 6 feet high with leaves like thin rushes in large quantities. In the centre there is a long spiral stem about eight feet high. The roads are only formed by constant passage and are dreadfully sandy. About four miles from the ferry is the Half-Way House, a very large good house kept by a Mr Bailey. The house is rigged out in native mahogany and looks very well indeed. In dismounting tore my plain trousers... carried away the strap button... repaired damage and started again. The road from this is through a very thickly wooded country. The roads are very pretty, being formed by the trees being cut away, so you are pretty well shaded...' [Journal of Benjamin Francis Helpman, 1837, Battye.]

References and Links

Bolton, Geoffrey & Jenny Gregory 1999, Claremont: A History, UWAP.

Helpman, Benjamin Francis, 1837, Journal, Battye Library.


Garry Gillard | New: 3 May, 2019 | Now: 7 May, 2019