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Central Chambers

61-63 High St, cnr Pakenham St, 1906; designed by F.W. Burwell, built by Richard Rennie

Statement of Significance
The place is of historic significance as an example of a commercial building in the Old Port City of Fremantle dating from the gold boom period in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The place is a fine example of a Federation Free Classical style building, with elaborate stucco decoration above the ground floor level, that makes a significant contribution to the streetscape. The place is of social significance as evidenced by its classification by the National Trust. Awning and shop fronts are not significant.
Physical Description
Two storey building on corner site with single storey at rear onto Pakenham Street. There is a highly decorative first floor façade featuring 'Central Chambers' in stucco, a parapet with balustrade and five highly decorative pediments. The pilastered and stucco arched windows have decorative stucco above and engaged low piers below. There is an original entrance between the shops with stained glass leadlight sidelights and French doors between. The awning over the ground floor shop fronts are not original.


William Pearse's butcher shop dating from 1850s, a Georgian style two storey building with she-oak shingled roof, was originally on the lot. It was updated with a cgi roof and verandahs c1870s, before being demolished c1906 to make way for this building. Built by R Rennie and designed by F Burwell in 1907, it originally had verandahs, removed 1952. Owners in 1957, J & W Bateman added a loading ramp (rear?) (Plan 1062).


Corner of Pakenham and High Sts c. 1905. Fremantle Library Local History Collection image #578. Looking East along High Street from the Pakenham Street corner. The Town Hall is in the centre left background, with, on the right: J.A. Hicks & Co. (No. 81-83, later the Wyola Club), W.J.Beisley, hairdresser and tobacconist, Manchester Dye Works, M. & F. Hamer Newsagency and J. & L. Baker, Butchers. The road is closed due to the laying of tram lines for which the jarrah blocks (6" by 3" by 5") which made up the road bed were lifted. FHC.

In 1991 Duncan Stephen & Mercer Architects made changes to the shopfront, (from 1950s, not original) carrying out a photographic survey prior to changes. In 1993-94 the first floor was converted to two residences, as well as alterations to the rear and renovations of the façade, by the March Partnership Architects & Interior Designers. A photographic survey and measured drawings were completed prior to changes.
In 2002, ground floor housed Fremantle Surplus Store and Aboriginal Art Emporium.
Currently (2013), ground floor houses Fremantle Surplus Store and Love in Tokyo. Heritage Council.

In 2016, Love in Tokyo is still there, but the shop on the corner is now Djurra Salon and Spa.

References and Links

The photo of Pearse's butcher's shop was taken by Stephen Montague Stout in the 1870s.

Hutchison, David, Fremantle Walks.

Heritage Council.

Garry Gillard | New: 21 March, 2016 | Now: 11 August, 2020