Fremantle Stuff > West End > Cliff St (See also Cliff St history.)

Cliff St

North to south. Click on any image to see a larger version.


Cliff St used to lead at its northern end to the north or river jetty, while the south (sea) jetty was at its southern end. Goods to be transported from ships to Perth had to be taken along Cliff St to be put on small boats for the river part of the journey, as ships could not enter the river until 1897.

The postal address of Fremantle Ports building is 1 Cliff St. The unnamed driveway at its entrance is in line with Cliff St and could at a stretch be considered to its continuation, but to all other intents and purposes Cliff St now ends at Phillimore St. However, it should also be pointed out that it used to extend right to the river and to the North Jetty there, as seen above.

Dalgety/Elder/Wilhemsen/MSC Building, corner of Cliff and Phillimore Sts


Next to the Dalgety Building, at 11 Cliff St, is a new building designed by Murray Slavin for the Mediterranean Shipping Company, who ship containers. They are also in the Dalgety Building. The Slavin building is now the main entrance to the whole thing. I went on a tour.

phillimore chambers

The building on the NE corner of Cliff St with Phillimore St is Phillimore Chambers.

6 Cliff

Atlas Chambers, 6-8 Cliff St, has had various owners, including the Helpman family 1855-81. On the right is the 1986 garden courtyard of the Fremantle Hotel, which is on the corner of Cliff and High Sts.

union bank

The building on the NW corner with High St is the former Union Bank building. The first building on the site, on town lot 5, was Captain Daniel Scott's residence. The monogram UB may be seen above the doorway. The Church of England bought the building in 1930 for the Flying Angel Mission to Seamen. It is now Notre Dame building 32: Arts & Sciences. NDU has preserved the name of a previous occupant on top of the door, and on the corner first-floor window: G. S. Murray, Customs Brokers.

wf samson house

On the SW corner with High St is an NDU parking area, with the remnant Liebler Building facade on the Cliff St frontage. The corner was the site of a house which was the residence of Mayor WF Samson 1881-1700. The house apparently dated from about the late 1850s and was demolished by Elders who put a metal shed there for the storage of wool. The story of the site is told by the Fremantle Society in its newsletter for August 1991. Another photo of the house features on the cover of the special newsletter of 2000.


Hotel Fremantle, 6 High St, on the NE corner with Cliff St, lacking its corner turret and flagpole, like the P&O Hotel. This was designed by Wilkinson & Smith and built in 1899, and a renovated version was the Kiwi headquarters for the Americas Cup defence in 1987, with Steinlager on tap.


The Bank of NSW building, at 7 High St, on the SE corner with Cliff St, was designed by Wilkinson & Smith, and built for the Bank on land owned by Pearse and Owston in 1899. The building was fully leased to NDU when it was sold in 2014. See also: Wikipedia page

21 Cliff

Facade (only) of the Liebler Building, also known as Reckitt & Colman Building, at 21-29 Cliff St. It was saved from complete demolition in 1967. What's behind it now is a NDU carpark. It is currently decorated with pseudo-religious graffiti and is apparently sometimes called the 'wedding wall' because bridal parties are photographed in front of it - but then they are photographed in front of anything in this part of the West End.


A pair of semis, private dwellings at 16 and 18 Cliff St: the worst houses in the best street. At least one is rentable accommodation.

31 Cliff

Samson Building, 1892, 31 Cliff St, designed by Talbot Hobbs, offices of the oldest family-held business in all of Australia, Lionel Samson & Sons, whose record is approaching 190 years of continuous trading, the company having been founded at the settlement of the colony in 1829, as the date on the building's pediment proclaims.

33 Cliff

'Fanny Samson's Cottage'. One of oldest houses in the state and used by the same family for more than a century and a half. The imposing building to the right is the Samson Building which was built in 1892, after a fire destroyed most of the original house and office that had been on the site. However, part of one of the original buildings survives and houses a Samson museum.

22 Cliff

The McDonald Smith Building, 22-32 Cliff St, has had various owners, including Vincent, James Lilly, and Tompkins and Co. The building was designed, as Cliff Street Chambers, by architect Herbert Nathaniel Davis. To the right: Lilly's Building, 1896, 34-42 Cliff St, also designed by architect Davis, now mostly private dwellings; then NDU's Tannock Hall of Education, named after the first VC. This stands where the Pier Hotel was once.

Between 32 and 34 Cliff Street is a laneway which has a name and is possibly a gazetted street. It is called Mary Lilly, after James Lilly's wife.

34 Cliff

Lilly's Building, 34-42 Cliff St, completed 1896, designed by architect Herbert Nathaniel Davis. James Lilly was a shipping merchant.

Tannock Hall (NDU) is on the NE corner of Croke St. On the SE corner is yet another of those carparks where once a fine building stood - in this case the Cliff St post office, built 1889, demolished 1955.

The next buildings, the Water Police Station and Quarters, are on the corner of Marine Terrace.


Elder Shenton & Co Building (original architect: Hobbs) 37-45 Cliff St, now the home of local paper, The Fremantle Herald, is on the corner of Croke Lane, formerly Dalgety St. At the end of the nineteenth century, the (first) Literary Institute stood on this same corner, with the Pier Hotel directly across the road.

47 Cliff

Buildings of the Imperial Convict Establishment, built 1852, 1894, 1896, 1897, occupy all of the space on the west side of Cliff St between Croke Lane and Marine Terrace. The central portion is the oldest. Worth noting are the mail slot under a window to the left of the main entrance, showing the use of this part of the building as a post office, and the flagstones in front of the doorway. These would have been imported as ballast and to use to construct pavement. They were damaged by gas workers in about 2010.

Garry Gillard | New: 28 September, 2014 | Now: 8 August, 2018