Fremantle Stuff > Timeline > Chronology

Fremantle Timeline 1828 -


Syndicate formed in London for colonisation of Swan River.

Decision of British Government to found colony.

Captain Fremantle in HMS Challenger dispatched to take formal possession of Swan River. >

Captain Stirling appointed Lieutenant-Governor.


Lieutenant-Governor: James Stirling 1828-1832, then Governor 1832-1839

25 April. HMS Challenger, under the command of Capt Charles H. Fremantle, anchors off Garden Island.

2 May. Capt Fremantle lands at Bathers Bay and takes 'formal possession of the whole of the west coast of New Holland in the name of His Britannic Majesty' King George IV.

Act 10 George IV ch.22, authorising establishment of Legislative Council.

stirling2 June. Captain James Stirling, with Surveyor-General Roe and the first contingent of 68 settlers, arrives at Fremantle in the transport Parmelia, which runs aground on Parmelia Bank. >

3 June. Stirling and company land on Garden Island.

17 June. HMS Sulphur lands with a detachment of the 63rd Regiment.

18 June. Stirling lands on Rous Head. Proclamation of the Colony.

August. Foundation of Perth and Fremantle.

5 September. Sale of the first town allotments: to W. Lamb, J. Hobbs, L. Samson and T. Bannister.

December. Thomas Peel arrives on board the Gilmore.

29 December. JPs appointed. William Mackie appointed Chairman of the Court of Quarter Sessions.

1829 ship arrivals


Legislative Council constituted by Order in Council.

Executive Council constituted by Instructions under Sign Manual.

February. The Fremantle Journal newspaper first appears.

1830 ship arrivals


round houseLieutenant-Governor Stirling appointed Governor.

First locally-grown wheat ground into flour in Col. Latour's horse flour mill, cnr Market St and Bay St (now Elder Place).

Round House built. >

Alma Street Cemetery opened.

Kingstown township on Rottnest Island open for selection.

December. The Fremantle Observer newspaper first appears.


Executive Council, Legislative Council, Civil Court established.

Governor: James Stirling, until 1839.

First vineyard planted, at Hamilton Hill.

Two brothers named Velvic killed by indigenous people between Bullscreek and Bannister lagoon. Midgegoroo later shot as retribution.

17 August. Duel between Clark and Johnstone, in which the latter died.


2 October. The colony' s first horse-race held on South Beach.


Postal Department established.

Wool exported from the colony for the first time.

8 August. Capt James McDermott drowns when his ship Cumberland is wrecked in Mangle's Bay.


31 January. John Bateman appointed first postmaster. The premises were on Lot 59 in Henry St (the Workers Club site).


The Fremantle Whaling Company established.

First locally-built sea-going vessel, the Lady Stirling, launched at Fremantle.


Excavation of the Whalers Tunnel under Arthur Head commenced.

The Fremantle Whaling Company kills first whale.


Henry Vincent appointed as first superintendent of the native prison at Rottnest.


huttGovernor: John Hutt, 1839-1846 >

Governor Hutt petitioned to permit the building of an Anglican church on King's Square. St John's was opened in 1843.

The first temperance society in the colony established in Fremantle.


January. The ship Shepherd leaves for London with the first shipment of the colony’s produce.

The foundation stone of the old Wesley Church in Cantonment Street laid by Governor Hutt. The building was enlarged in 1896, but was demolished in 1929.


kingThe Rev. George King, LLD, the first Anglican minister in Fremantle, appointed. >


21 January. The foundation of the old lighthouse at Rottnest laid.

6 April. The foundation stone of the old St John's Anglican Church laid by Governor Hutt. 


Anglican Church of St John the Evangelist opened, in the centre of King's Square, facing down High St towards the Round House.


June. First shipment of horses left for India.

First execution of a white person. John Gavin tried for murder 3 April and sentenced to be hanged and suspended in chains, which sentence carried out 6 April.


24 February. A heavy north-west gale causes much damage to buildings and shipping.

HMS Driver is the first steamer to enter Gage Roads, causing the look-out man to mistake her for a ship on fire.

December. The first shipment of sandalwood from Fremantle.


Lt-Col Sir Andrew Clarke Governor 1846-1847.

Three vessels, built of jarrah, launched: two were built at Fremantle, and one, capable of carrying 300 tons, at Mandurah.

The first Roman Catholic place of worship in Fremantle opened in Henry St.

The barque Unicorn sailed from Fremantle for the United Kingdom with a cargo of produce valued at £30,000.


Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Irwin acting Governor 1847-1848, due to the death of Clarke.

In July and August, heavy rains and floods experienced; during that period the first shipment of Abrolhos guano sent away.


Captain Charles Fitzgerald Governor 1848-1855.

22 April. Membership of the first Town Trust for Fremantle published in the Perth Gazette: Capt Daniel Scott (chairman), A Francisco, William Pearse, Alfred Davies, John Bateman, E Yelverton. Scott is in the chair 1848-51.

A project to remove the bar at the mouth of the Swan River strongly opposed by the people of Fremantle, fearing that it might lead to the shipping being taken to Perth. An unsuccessful attempt to carry out the work was made in 1849. It was nearly half a century later before any but small vessels could enter the river.

September. Government schooner Champion back from the Abrolhos after an unsuccessful quest for treasure supposed to have been buried there in 1727 by the mutineers of the Dutch ship Zeewyck.

November. Bishop Short arrives from Adelaide on his first pastoral visit to Western Australia and consecrates St John's Church. Short St is later named after him.


WA constituted a penal settlement.

Unsuccessful attempt to remove the bar at the mouth of the Swan River.


1 June. Scindian arrives with the first convicts, on the twenty-first anniversary of foundation: in addition to the convicts and military guards with their wives and families, Captain Henderson, Comptroller-General of convicts, and a large staff of officials, including Dickson, principal overseer, and James Manning, clerk of works.

24 October. John Bruce arrives on board the Hashemy as Staff Officer to the Pensioner Force


Building of the Convict Establishment commenced.

The Fremantle Literary Institute established under the designation of the Fremantle Mechanic's Institute. Amalgamated with the Working Men's Association in July, 1868, and housed in a small building at the corner of Cliff Street and Dalgety Street [Croke Lane].

The New Swan Lodge M.U.I.O. of Oddfellows formed.

JW Davey Chairman of the Fremantle Town Trust 1851-52.


Construction of The Commissariat Buildings begun, the building designed by James Manning and constructed under the supervision of Captain Henderson, Royal Engineer and Comptroller General of Convicts for Western Australia.

Building of the Johnston Memorial Congregational Church commenced in 1852, completed in 1854 and enlarged in 1857.

Skinner Street Cemetery dedicated in 1852 and continued to be used until the opening of the present cemetery in 1899. The oldest tombstone in the Skinner Street cemetery: Lieutenant Edward Colvin Oakes of the 28th Bengal Infantry, died 7 October 1852.

Water police force organised.

5 September. Barque Eglington wrecked on North Beach.

Captain Douglas, of the Louisa, drowned in crossing the bar at Fremantle.


Capt Daniel Scott Chairman of the Fremantle Town Trust 1853-54.

Commissariat buildings completed.


South Jetty aka Short Jetty/Old Jetty completed.

Fremantle, for the first time in its history, with a population of over 1,000, the official figures being 1,607.

First postage stamp (black swan) in use.

Fremantle citizens petition Lord John Russell to cause the seat of the government to be removed from Perth to Fremantle: request refused.

Guildford residents agitate without success for the removal of the convict establishment from Fremantle to their town.

Dr GC Attfield arrives: medical officer to the Imperial establishment at Fremantle.


Sir Arthur Kennedy GCMG CB Governor 1855-1862, Fitzgerald having retired.

Thomas Carter Chairman of the Fremantle Town Trust 1855.

hitchcockJK Hitchcock, 'Fremantle's first historian', born in Guildford (Western Australia), to die in 1929, three months after his History was published. The complete text is available on this site. >


Capt Daniel Scott Chairman of the Fremantle Town Trust 1856-58.

The Residency, at Arthur Head, constructed.

The schooner Sara built at Preston Point by William Owston lost at Port Gregory.


February. The steamer Lady Stirling, the second of that name, launched at Fremantle, having been brought out from England in sections and reconstructed in Fremantle by J. J. Harwood. She ran between Fremantle and Perth with passengers and cargo for more than 20 years.

'Bully' Hayes' visit.


The ship Nile (763 tons) 110 days from London in charge of Captain Johnston, bringing 12 saloon passengers (including the first Anglican Bishop of Perth, Bishop Hale), 71 steerage passengers, 34 crew and 270 prisoners.

First shipment of grapes to leave the colony despatched on the Nile by RS King to Colombo, arriving after 51 days in good condition.


CA Manning Chairman of the Fremantle Town Trust 1859-67.

Escape of five convicts from the Fremantle prison to Sulphur Town on Garden Island; eventually arrested at Shark Bay.

Census: Fremantle's population increased from 1,607 to 2,946 in five years.


JH Duffield and John Luff smothered when the sides of a well which they were sinking (on the property of Mr. Easton in East Fremantle) caved in.


Volunteer force organised in Fremantle, enthusiastically taken up by CA Manning.


Dr John Hampton Governor 1862-68: perhaps WA's least popular Governor, but see also Irwin.

'The year of the flood'. Low lying land at North Fremantle submerged, residents leave their houses, some flooded up to the roof.

WD Moore and Co. founded.

Johnston Memorial Congregational Church manse erected.

February. Money order office in connection with the post office opened.

Flour, pearl shells from Shark Bay and a consignment of cotton exported for the first time. Four vessels sailed for China with full cargoes of sandalwood, the Dolphin left for Madras with a cargo of sleepers and the Gloucester left for the United Kingdom with 4,922 bags of copper ore, 949 bales of wool, 21 bales of whalebone, 10 cases of pearl shell and sundries.

The schooner Fitzgerald, owned by John Mews, wrecked near Fish Rock.


Summer residence erected at Rottnest by prison labour for Governor Charles Fitzgerald, completed in 1864. 'Government House' would in 1919 become holiday accommodation, then in 1953 the hotel, becoming known as the 'Quokka Arms', now Hotel Rottnest.

The post office savings bank instituted.


G. B. Humble in charge of the Government Boys' School in Adelaide Street, which he conducted until 1889.


Maitland Brown expedition to the North-West in search of the missing explorers Panter, Harding and Goldwyer, who were found dead: a memorial later erected on the Fremantle Esplanade by GJ Brockman.

First Freemason’s Lodge in Fremantle formed.


The first road bridge across the Swan River completed, built out of timber by convict labour 1863-7. It was called the North Fremantle Bridge, and, after the second bridge was constructed, the High Level Bridge - and also the 'stick bridge'.

First bank opened in the town: the National Bank of Australasia Ltd opened a branch under the management of R. H. Sutherland (possibly at 20 High St?)

December. Captain Owston' s schooner, New Perseverance, wrecked in Cossack Creek, driven so far on the land by a tidal wave that it was impossible to refloat her. It was said that her stranded hull was subsequently used by G. S. Seubert as a taproom when he secured a licence for the sale of liquor in Cossack.

First shipment of articles of produce and manufacture of the colony sent in the David and Jessie to Melbourne for the Intercolonial Exhibition.


Obelisk on Monument Hill erected; it was demolished 1924, and replaced by the present Memorial 1928.

2 February. The (first) Fremantle Herald established by James Pearce and William Beresford in association with James Roe and AHK Cole, appearing weekly on Saturday.

27 February. Meeting of ratepayers in the Oddfellows Hall to elect these members of the first Town Council: WS Pearse, Chairman; George Pearse, GA Davies, Herbert Dixon, West Ward; WE Marmion, John Chester, DB Francisco, North Ward; W Jose, S Hayes, Lucius A Manning, South Ward; WD Moore, treasurer; HM Lefroy, Joseph Doonan, auditors.

A number of maritime disasters.


Sir Benjamin Pine Governor 1868-9, Hampton having resigned.

Edward Newman Chairman of the Fremantle Town Trust 1868-69.

10 January. Arrival of the Hougoumont with Fenians on board: the end of the transportation period that had existed for 18 years.

Medical Registration Act in force.


Sir Frederick Weld GCMG Governor 1869-74.

Escape of John Boyle O'Reilly.

February. Arrival of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh in HMS Galatea, staying as a guest of the harbourmaster, Lieutenant Croke, R.N., under whom he had formerly sailed as a midshipman.

21 June. Telegraph line to Perth opened, the first office being an old cottage standing back from the road at the rear of where the Madrid Restaurant now stands in High Street. The first operator was W. Holman, who had been an officer of Mrs. Habgood’s barque Zephyr, and the first messenger was WT John, then a boy. The first telegraph cadet was Horace Stirling who was appointed to take charge of the Fremantle office. He was afterwards closely allied with telegraph extension throughout the State and was a keen observer and a well known historian. In April, 1871, the Government bought out Stirling and Fleming, by whom the line had been constructed.


WS Pearse Chairman of the Fremantle Town Trust 1870-71.

Fremantle population 3,796.

Schooner Adur despatched from Fremantle with stores for the Forrest exploring expedition which had started out on March 30. The explorers arrived at Esperance on July 2 and successfully reached Adelaide on August 27. That was a remarkable feat to be accomplished without the aid of camels and was only surpassed by another and more hazardous expedition by the same explorer in 1874.


10 March. Fremantle having been declared a municipality, the Town Council meets for the first time at John Thomas's Albert Hotel (later rebuilt and renamed the Commercial and then the Cleopatra Hotel). The first chairman: William Silas Pearse, 1871-72.

Telegraph communication extended to Guildford.

Western Australian Bank opens a branch in Fremantle. Up to that time the only bank operating in Fremantle was the National Bank that stood on the site now occupied by the National Hotel.


6 January. Telegraph lines to Toodyay and York opened, and to Albany 26 December.

10 March. The most severe gale in the history of Fremantle swept over the town and created great devastation among the buildings and shipping. With one exception every overseas vessel in the harbour was driven ashore, but most of the coasters escaped as the weather-wise skippers of those small craft had taken the precaution of running over to Careening Bay at the approach of the storm.

Dr HC Barnett appointed colonial surgeon at Fremantle, holding the position until 1895, when the office of colonial surgeon was abolished. Dr Barnett continued as medical attendant to the Lunatic Asylum.

The coaster Flying Foam lost on a voyage from Champion Bay to Fremantle, supposed to have foundered at sea.


J Thomas Chairman of the Town Council 1873.

29 May. Requisition drawn up for a meeting to take steps to form a Chamber of Commerce. First committee meeting 2 June, with WD Moore as Chairman and members WE Marmion, John McCleery, E Solomon, JdeM Absolom, J McGibbon and EH Higham.

Completion of the first section of the Ocean Jetty/Long Jetty.

27 November. Telegraph line was extended to Busselton.

First Good Templar Lodge in Fremantle formed.


William Marmion Chairman of the Town Council 1874.

13 May. Telegraph line to Geraldton opened.

Colonel Warburton and party arrive from the North-West by the schooner Mary Ann (Captain John O'Grady) after travelling overland from South Australia to the De Grey district, the trip occupying 92 months. First occasion on which camels seen in the colony.

Louis de Rougemont in the colony.


J Thomas Chairman of the Town Council 1875.

Sir William Robinson GCMG Governor 1875-77.

17 February. Fremantle Benefit Building and Investment Society founded.

Good Endeavour Tent of Rechabites opened.

Arrival of Ernest Giles, the explorer, overland from Adelaide to Perth.

The sailing vessel Spinaway arrives from England under the command of Captain Pringle.


Henry Maxwell Lefroy Chairman of the Town Council 1876.

April. Escape of six Fenian prisoners from the convict establishment.

Foundering of the cutter Gem in fine weather and within sight of the anchorage.


Major General The Hon. Sir Harry Ord GCMG CB RE Governor 1877-80.

John Daniel Chairman of the Town Council 1877.

Discussion of the question of a railway route to Perth: north or south of the river?

December. Telegraph communication with South Australia opened.

Arrival from the United Kingdom of the schooner Airlie (236 tons), which had been bought by her owner and captain, JM Ferguson.


Edward Higham Chairman of the Town Council 1878-80.

First regular steamship service established by James Lilly on the coast by placing the SS Rob Roy, under the command of Captain Craig, on the run between Geraldton and Albany.

Good Samaritan Lodge of the Sons of Temperance opened in Fremantle in 1878.

Star of the Sea Lodge of the Hibernian Catholic Benefit Society founded.


Construction of the new St. John's Anglican Church in Adelaide Street begun.

First sod of the Fremantle to Guildford railway turned by Governor Ord.


Sir William Robinson GCMG Governor again 1880-1883 (he was Governor in 1875-1877).

First shipment of bullocks from the north arrives.

Commanded by Captain Archdeacon, HM schooner Meda arrives from England to commence a survey of the coast.

Half-holiday on Wednesdays (afterwards altered to Saturdays) conceded to clerks and shop assistants.


Elias Solomon Chairman of the Town Council 1881

1 March. Railway from Fremantle to Guildford formally opened by Governor Robinson.

May. Visit of Prince Edward and Prince George (later King George V) as midshipmen on board HMS Bacchante.

Population 4,133.


Edward Higham Chairman of the Town Council 1882.

The schooner Pet collided with a whale and overturned off Cape Leeuwin. All the crew were saved except the master, Captain Littlejohn.


Sir Frederick Broome KCMG Governor 1883-1890.

Barrington Clarke Wood Chair of the Town Council of Fremantle 1883 until ...

Fremantle Municipal Council established, and presided over by a Mayor, BC Wood being the first to occupy that position, 1883-5.

In 1883 a proprietary grammar school was established in Fremantle and a schoolhouse, now [1929] Girton College, was built at the top of High Street [now 200], a trained master (Henry Briggs) being brought from England.

March. SS Macedon, bound for the North-West with a survey party on board, wrecked off Rottnest. No lives lost.

Epidemic of measles. Mortality among adults unusually heavy; the remnant of aboriginals in the district nearly wiped out.


West Australian Shipping Association established.

March. Railway to Chidlow's Well opened.


Sir John Coode visits the colony to report on harbour construction.

29 June. Railway to York opened.

1 October. Telegraph line to Roebourne opened.

Scots Church established, with services conducted by a lay preacher until the arrival of the first settled minister, the Rev. Robert Hanlin.


Daniel K Congdon Mayor of the Municipality of Fremantle 1886-88.

Under an agreement with the British Government the convict establishment and the convicts handed over to the colonial government. The Comptroller General of Convicts and all the organised machinery disappeared and the local prison system took its place, the few remaining convicts becoming ordinary prisoners until they completed their terms.

A party of prospectors, mostly New Zealanders, arrives from Wyndham in the schooner Myrtle.

Fremantle Rowing Club founded. The club became noted for its regattas on June 1 and for its excellent annual dance, which was one of the chief social features of the town for many years.


2 June. The Fremantle Town Hall opened.

3 June. After a ball at the Town Hall, William Conroy shoots Cr Snook, who later dies. Conroy put on trial for wilful murder and hanged 18 November 1887, the last man to be hanged within the precincts of Perth gaol. After that time, hangings were conducted in Fremantle Prison.

Contract let to RO Law to build a new approach and extend the sea jetty by 1,000 feet in a westerly direction towards Gage Roads.


1 January. Telephone exchange opened

March. Foundation stone of the new Wesley Church laid.


Elias Solomon Mayor of the Municipality of Fremantle 1889-91. He was also member for South Fremantle 1892-1901 and Federal Member for Fremantle (Free Trade) 1901-03.

9 April. Telegraph line to Broome and Derby opened.

1 June. The Great Southern Railway, which was built by Anthony Hordern under a land grant concession, opened for traffic.

Reports of gold indications from the Yilgarn district create considerable interest, and prospecting parties led by Captain Hughes and John Tuckey organised and despatched to Golden Valley.


Sir William Robinson GCMG Governor for the third time 1890-1895 (he was Governor in 1875-1877 and 1880-1883).

News of the discovery of gold in Yilgarn and Southern Cross creates a stir and from Fremantle were fitted out a few score prospecting parties. The town soon lively with newcomers from the Eastern States and merchants and shopkeepers have their first indication of the busy and prosperous period that followed.

Town's water supply commenced, a matter for pride that Fremantle was the first town in the colony to organise a water supply. The revenue from the sale of water that year: £1,004.

1 October. On the anniversary of Trafalgar Day, the Moreton Bay fig tree in the triangle of Adelaide Street and Edward Street (now Parry St) planted by His Excellency the Governor, Sir William Robinson, in commemoration of responsible government being granted to the colony. The tree was provided by Phillip Webster, one of the auditors of the Fremantle Municipal Council, who, with the mayor and councillors, attended the Governor and handed to him a gold-painted spade with which he performed the ceremony. It was intended that the spade should be placed with the municipal treasures, but it disappeared. Webster, it should be recorded, planted most of the trees growing in St John's Church grounds.

December. First election under responsible government. Members elected to the Legislative Assembly for the Fremantle district: WE Marmion (Fremantle, Minister for Lands); WS Pearse, North Fremantle; David Symon, South Fremantle, with John Forrest Premier.

WD Moore appointed by the Governor to represent Fremantle in the Legislative Council as, under responsible government, the Council did not become elective until the population of the State reached 60,000 which did not come about until 1893.

The Presbyterian Church in South Terrace erected.


CY O'Connor, the designer of the Fremantle harbour, arrives from New Zealand.

9 April. Midland Railway opened as far as Gingin.

Robin Hood Lodge of the Ancient Order of Foresters opened.

The barque Thornliebank (1,405 tons) burnt while at anchor in Owen's Anchorage, having brought a cargo of rails from England; later reconditioned for use as a coal hulk and then scuttled outside Rottnest.

Census taken: eight towns in the colony with a population exceeding 500: Perth, 8,447; Fremantle, 7,077; Albany, 2,665; Geraldton, 1,218; York, 1,199; Newcastle, 742; Guildford, 726, and Bunbury, 572.


William Frederick Samson Mayor of the Fremantle Municipal Council 1892.

Discovery of gold at Coolgardie.

Commencement of the river harbour. November: first truck of stone was tipped at Rous Head by Lady Robinson.

Death of Joseph Johnston, of the Congregational Church.

Commencement of the construction of the Port Brewery in Beach St. It partially collapsed in 1893 causing one death and several injuries. It ceased to be a brewery in 1908 and was demolished c1963.


January. Telegraph line to Wyndham completed, and to Karridale and Quindalup in April, and railway communication with Bunbury was opened 8 September.

The old volunteer fire brigade station in Croke Street erected. (After it was dismantled, a new building for the permanent firemen erected in Phillimore Street in 1908. The current station is just to the west of that one.)

A considerable dislocation of business consequent upon the collapse during the previous year of the Victorian land boom.


Daniel K Congdon Mayor of the Fremantle Municipal Council 1894.

A year of prosperity.


Lieutenant Colonel Sir Gerard Smith KCMG Governor 1895-1901.

George Alfred Davies Mayor of the Municipality of Fremantle 1895.

Increase in the building trade of the port and town so rapid as to create a shortage of bricks. To relieve the situation a shipload of bricks for use at Fremantle brought from Melbourne.

Establishment of Fremantle Hospital. In the West Australian Year Book for 1895 it is recorded that 'the Fremantle Casualty Ward had been changed into a hospital'.

March. Commencement of the work of converting the Barracks Field into the present Oval.

The privately-owned Midland Railway, which was opened in sections, completed to Geraldton.

16 February. The Orient mail steamer Orizaba wrecked on a reef on the western side of Garden Island.


Elias Solomon Mayor of the Fremantle Municipal Council 1896-98. He was also member for South Fremantle 1892-1901 and Federal Member for Fremantle (Free Trade) 1901-03.


Matthew Moss Mayor of the Municipality of East Fremantle 1897-1900.

4 May. SS Sultan the first official steamer to open the new harbour.

The Municipal Market buildings in South Terrace erected

First wood block road built in the State put down in High Street by EH Gliddon, the town engineer.


Construction of CY O'Connor's Goldfields Water Scheme begun.

The second road bridge across the river was built 1896-8 just downstream of the first and called the Low Level Bridge. It was wider and stronger but much lower. It was required by the increased commercial traffic mostly as a result of gold discoveries.

The Salvation Army Citadel in William Street erected.


James McHenry Clark Mayor of the Fremantle Municipal Council 1899.

ciy of yorkThe Boer War begins. Western Australia contributes six contingents consisting of 922 men, many of them from Fremantle. Western Australians killed during that campaign numbered five officers and 33 non-commissioned officers and men.

June. Fremantle Cemetery opened.

July. The sailing vessel City of York wrecked off Rottnest, 11 of the crew drowned, 15 saved. A monument to the memory of the dead was erected over the grave in the cemetery by public subscription. >

carlisle castleOn the same day, the sailing vessel Carlisle Castle wrecked in a severe gale off Rockingham; the whole of the officers and crew, numbering 22, were drowned. >

9 October. Foundation stone of the Sailors' Rest in Marine Terrace laid by Sir John Forrest. The building comprised a large hall with seating accommodation for 150 persons, separate apartments and sitting rooms for officers and men and private quarters for the missioner. It was designed to provide opportunities for seamen to spend their leisure hours in comfortable and wholesome surroundings. It was founded mainly through the efforts of the late Mrs. T. W. Smith [Rosa Henriques Smith]

October. Captain Riddell, of the schooner Ethel, together with his son and mate, murdered on the pearling grounds by a Malay crew. The perpetrators of the crime brought to Perth, convicted of murder, and hanged.


solomonElias Solomon Mayor of the Municipality of Fremantle 1900-1901. He was also member for South Fremantle 1892-1901 and Federal Member for Fremantle (Free Trade) 1901-03. >

Francis McDonald Mayor of the Municipality of East Fremantle 1900-03.

Parliament decides that the railway workshops should be removed from Fremantle to Midland Junction.

March. Elias Solomon elected as Fremantle's first member of the House of Representatives in the Federal Parliament, the opening of which took place 9 May 1901.

The Baptist Church in South Terrace erected.


1 January. Commonwealth of Australia inaugurated.

solomonEdward William Davies Mayor of the Municipality of Fremantle 1901, removed on the grounds of insanity. >

Lawrence Alexander Mayor of the Municipality of Fremantle 1901-2.

26 March. Foundation stone of the Trades Hall in Collie Street laid by Sir John Forrest; the building opened 23 June 1904, by WH Carpenter, MHR, first Labor representative for Fremantle in the Federal Parliament.

26 July. Visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall — later George V and Queen Mary. The Duchess, Princess Mary of Teck, named a school after herself: the Princess May Girls School, and the south wharf of the harbour Victoria Quay, after the queen.

Population 20,444, nearly treble the 7,077 of 1891.

Christian Brothers College opened.


LA Alexander Mayor of the Municipality of Fremantle 1902.

7 March. Death of CY O'Connor by suicide at South Beach.

23 August. Woodman's Point lighthouse opened.

An explosion at the Fremantle Powder Magazine causes the death of one man.


Tom Smith Mayor of the Municipality of Fremantle 1903.

William Angwin Mayor of the Municipality of East Fremantle 1903-06.

7 January. First Harbour Trust for Fremantle appointed: Robert Laurie, MLC (chair); AG Leeds, C Hudson, A Sandover and T Coombe, with FWB Stevens as secretary: he had been associated with the harbour scheme as secretary to CY O' Connor.


Frank Cadd Mayor of the Fremantle Municipal Council 1904-5.


Michael Samson Mayor of the Fremantle Municipal Council 1905-07. Father of Sir Frederick Samson. Died in office.

5 February. Construction of the tramways system commenced; completed 11 April 1906.


S Thomson Mayor of the Municipality of East Fremantle 1906-09.

Outbreak of bubonic plague; suppressive measures taken vigorously and promptly, only two cases end in death.


William Murphy Mayor of the Fremantle Municipal Council 1907-09.

January. Starr-Bowkett Society founded.


2 February. SS Windsor, with a cargo of sandalwood shipped by Paterson and Co., wrecked on the Abrolhos, with a loss of five lives.

Fremantle Fire Brigade, previously a volunteer body, reorganised on a permanent basis, and a new station erected in Phillimore Street, the foundation stone being laid by the Hon. James Price 19 June.


Edward Henry Fothergill Mayor of the Fremantle Municipal Council 1909-10.

Joseph Francis Allen is Mayor of the Municipality of East Fremantle 1909-14.


Admiral Henderson brought out from England by the Commonwealth Government to report on an Australian Naval Defence Scheme. He recommended the establishment of a base at Cockburn Sound.


Joseph Holmes was elected Mayor of the Fremantle Municipal Council 1911 but did not sit.

Population returns show an increase of only 400 between 1901 and 1911, because of the removal of the railway workshops to Midland Junction.


Frederick James McLaren was Mayor of the Fremantle Municipal Council 1912-14.

The State Steamship Service was inaugurated in 1912.

An attempt made to provide a dry dock for Fremantle at Rous Head, but abandoned.


Steamship Owners Federation and Employers of Waterside Labour Association both established.


William Ernest Wray was Mayor of the Fremantle Municipal Council 1912-14.

Leonard Bolton is Mayor of the Municipality of East Fremantle 1914-19.

Outbreak of the Great War.


Hotels now to open 9-9, whereas previously it was 6-11.


Waterside workers strike.

23 October. First train leaves Perth for Adelaide on the Trans-Australian Railway, the Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie stretch having been constructed by the Commonwealth Government.


Outbreak of influenza.



William Montgomery Mayor of the Fremantle Municipal Council 1919.

Frank Gibson Mayor of the Fremantle Municipal Council 1919-23.

Harry Woodhouse Mayor of the Municipality of East Fremantle 1919-1924.

tom edwards4 May. Death of Tom Edwards, working class martyr, killed by police in Victoria Quay. >

JW Bateman proposes the erection of a war memorial.

Fremantle Business Men's Association and the Fremantle Fruiterers and Greengrocers' Association formed.

Abolition of the late Friday shopping night.


Visit of the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII (and then Duke of Windsor). >


April. Fremantle Smelting Works closed owing to a depression in the lead market and high freights.

The jubilee (50th anniversary: 'diamond jubilee') of the Fremantle Municipality celebrated.

Departmental estimate of the town's population: 25,534.


September, October. Strike of their mechanical staffs close leading newspapers of the State for five weeks. A strike of railway engineers also in progress for several months.

New Licences Reduction Board sits.


John Cooke Mayor of the Fremantle Municipal Council 1924-26.

Herbert John Locke Mayor of the Municipality of East Fremantle 1924-31.

December. Disputes between the maritime unions: the shipping service between Fremantle and the Eastern States almost suspended.

The Collier Government extends the benefits of the 44-hour week to the whole of the employees of the Public Works Department, numbering about 3,000, raises the wages of the 7,000 employees of the Railway Department by three shillings per week.


The strike of waterside workers followed by a strike of British seamen.

4 April. Poll on the prohibition question results in a victory for the 'wets'.

23 July. Collapse of the Fremantle railway bridge caused by a washaway of the sandy embankment at its northern end. For many months, while temporary repairs to the bridge were being effected, all goods and passengers carried to and from the North Fremantle railway station, the terminus for the time being.


Frank Gibson Mayor of the Fremantle Municipal Council 1927-29.

Visit of the Duke and Duchess of York, the future George VI and Queen Elizabeth, spending six days in WA.

8 April. First consignment of bulk petrol to reach the State discharged at Fremantle.

St John's Rectory in Cantonment Street demolished to make way for wool storage. 


Dedication by Governor Sir William Campion of the tablet on the fallen sailors' and soldiers' monument, in the course of erection on Monument Hill.

11 November. On Armistice Day, the memorial being completed, the unveiling ceremony performed by the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Robert McMillan.

September. Visit of the Berlin, the first German warship since the war.


Frank Gibson Mayor of the City of Fremantle 1929-1951. Knighted in 1948.

12 February. Proclamation by the Lt-Governor, Robert Furse McMillan, that Fremantle would become a City on 2 June.

Council decision to erect the Centenary Buildings, immediately behind the Town Hall.

27 May. Last meeting of the Municipal Council, before Fremantle became a City.

3 June. Fremantle proclaimed a City, on the centenary of colonisation. Twenty-nine trees planted in Fremantle Park.

28 September. Pageants on the Esplanade representing significant moments in Fremantle history.


Joseph Francis Allen is Mayor of the Municipality of East Fremantle 1931-33, dying in office.


Opening of the Hazel Orme Kindergarten in Price St.


John Munro Mayor of the Municipality of East Fremantle 1933-34, elected at an extraordinary election 14 June 1933 after the death in office of JF Allen.


Herbert John Locke Mayor of the Municipality of East Fremantle 1934-44.


April. Japanese cruisers Asam and Yakumo visit Fremantle.

Establishment of a free dental clinic for children - in two rooms in the Centenary Building (Town Hall).


The Round House 'strengthened, repaired, and its approaches beautified'.


15 December. The Fremantle Traffic Bridge opened. It was not intended to be used for more than five years, but it's still there.


Home Defence Corps formed at Fremantle.








William Wauhop Mayor of the Municipality of East Fremantle 1944-1961.


Serious fire in the Harbour when fire spreads from the wharf to merchant vessel Panamanian.








4 September. The Fremantle Civic Library opened by JS Battye, State Librarian, in the the 1899 Literary Institute building at 13 South Terrace. The new Library came about partly a result of the efforts of Cr Evan Davies, and it was renamed the Evan Davies Library in 1956. The building was threatened with demolition in the 1970s and was only saved due to the work of members of the Fremantle Society.

Release of the Tydeman report recommending huge extensions to Fremantle Harbour including removal of both road and rail bridges. The road bridge is still there, tho the rail bridge was rebuilt further east.


FWE Tydeman appointed General Manager of the Harbour Trust (Port Authority).


(William) Frederick Samson Mayor of the City of Fremantle 1951-1972. Knighted in 1962.


Visit of Queen Elizabeth and her consort. Due to prevalence of poliomyelitis at the time, they lived on board the royal yacht Gothic. They were accorded a civic reception at the Town Hall.

29 October. Foundation stone of John Curtin High School laid. It was officially opened 1958 by Premier Hawke.


The Stephenson-Hepburn Plan for Regional Development adopted.


15 October. John Curtin High School officially opened 1958 by Premier Hawke, tho the first boys had been admitted in 1956 and girls in 1957. The first headmaster was Jack Howieson. It is now called the John Curtin College of the Arts.


Opening of the Passenger Terminal at F shed on Victoria Quay by the Premier, David Brand.


William Wauhop Mayor of the Town of East Fremantle 1944-1961.


Construction begins on the new Fremantle Harbour Trust (now Port Authority) building near Victoria Quay.




Victor Ulrich Mayor of the Town of East Fremantle 1964-1974.

The current rail bridge is opened.


Opening of the new Fremantle Harbour Trust (now Port Authority) building near Victoria Quay by Premier David Brand.

Retirement of FWE Tydeman from the position of General Manager of the Harbour Trust (Port Authority).

Retirement of Capt FHB Humble (grandson of George Humble) from the position of Harbourmaster, to be succeeded by Capt AB Brackenridge.


The Harbour Theatre actors group is set up. First performances are in the theatrette in the library building. According to the Theatre's website, these had begun there in 1963. The Theatre's venue in 2015 is the Mosman Park Memorial Hall (aka Camelot Theatre) 16 Lochee Street (cnr Solomon St) Mosman Park.


The pilot boat Lady Forrest withdrawn from service after more than sixty years, and replaced by the Lady Gairdner, named after the wife of Governor Sir Charles Gairdner.


WA (Bill) McKenzie Mayor of the City of Fremantle 1972-1984.


Ian Gilbert Handcock Mayor of the Town of East Fremantle 1974-1991.


John Cattalini Mayor of the City of Fremantle 1984-1994.


Andrew Bruce Smith Mayor of the Town of East Fremantle 1991-94.


Jenny Archibald Mayor of the City of Fremantle 1994-96.

Timothy Martin Smith Mayor of the Town of East Fremantle 1994-97.


Richard Utting Mayor of the City of Fremantle 1997-2001.

Andrew Bruce Smith Mayor of the Town of East Fremantle 1997-2001.


Peter Tagliaferri Mayor of the City of Fremantle 2001-2009.

James O'Neill Mayor of the Town of East Fremantle 2001-07.


Alan Ferris Mayor of the Town of East Fremantle 2007-.


Brad Pettitt Mayor of the City of Fremantle 2009-.

Garry Gillard | New: 6 August, 2015 | Now: 9 March, 2019