Fremantle Stuff > Buildings > The Knowle

The Knowle


The Knowle, 1853, now part of Fremantle Hospital, was built for Lt-Colonel Edmund Henderson, Comptroller-General of Convicts 1850-63, as a home for himself and his wife and son. As the southern third of the building lacks the chimneys possessed by the other two, it seems reasonable to assume that the chimneyless section was the part added in 1897.

After Colonel Henderson's departure from the Colony in 1863, The Knowle was used by a number of Establishment Officers, and then served as an Imperial Invalid Depot. It was handed over to the colonial government in 1886. Through the 1890's, hospital services in Fremantle were still housed in the old Pensioner Barracks on South Terrace. Attempts to arouse government interest in building a new hospital failed, and finally in 1895 the government agreed to a proposal to provide new accommodation in the adjoining Knowle. After some alteration and addition, including a third bay wing, it was opened as Fremantle Public Hospital in 1897. The Knowle is still in use in the middle of the Fremantle Hospital complex, and still retains many of the original features and details - including an elegant verandahed elevation, a prison workshops staircase, metalwork and joinery. Campbell: 6.5.


'Government Hospital Fremantle'. FHC photo #1118 by C.M. Nixon c1897. The two storey building on the left is the Knowle (1856), originally the home of Captain Henderson. The floors and staircase were built of Singapore cedar. The house was later occupied by Mr Clifton, Comptroller of Customs and in 1892 was used as a branch of the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum. After a Typhoid Fever outbreak in 1892, a public meeting was called in 1893 to press for a hospital. The Government agreed and J H Eales designed alterations to the Knowle which was converted in 1895. In January 1897 it was formally occupied as the Fremantle Hospital. In January 1903, J H Eales designed a new operating theatre, instrument room, dressing rooms and outpatient quarters. From left, brick nurses quarters (1898/1899), the Knowle, the laundry, male medical ward, male surgical ward and porter's lodge. Tennis court for staff in front.


The Knowle, 2 August 2016


References and Links

Campbell, Robin McKellar 2010, Building the Fremantle Convict Establishment, PhD, UWA (Faculty of Architecture). Available online to download (not from this site) as a 40MB PDF.

Garrick, Phyl & Chris Jeffery1987, Fremantle Hospital: A Social History to 1987, Fremantle Hospital.

Webb, David & David Warren 2005, Fremantle: Beyond the Round House, Longley, Fremantle: 80-81.

Garry Gillard | New: 17 June, 2015 | Now: 8 November, 2019