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Mason's Hall

Corner of John Street (now Tydeman Road) and Hall Street (no longer in existence)

Mason's Hall was built in North Fremantle by landowner (and jeweller) Frederick Mason (formerly May) who arrived by transportation but became a very successful Fremantle jeweller and businessman.

I thought at first that Mason's Hall was identical with Albert Hall at 3 Pearse Street (formerly Mason Street - named for Frederick Mason), but the dates make that impossible. The former was constructed of wood and burnt to the ground in 1907. This was after the construction of Albert Hall (in stone) in 1899, so it can't have been on the same site.

Research had revealed that Mason's Hall was in John Street (newspaper notices) and I earlier thought also in Mason Street (Fremantle Library photo caption - but see next paragraph!) so it seemed possible that it was on the western corner of Mason and John Streets, that is, the western corner of what are now Pearse Street and Tydeman Road. (There is a very old pair of semi-detached houses on the eastern corner, which look to me as they would have been there c. 1900.)

map1912Further research (by Ros May) has discovered a short street called Hall Street on a 1912 map (clip on the right). From the left: North Fremantle railway station, De Lisle Street, lot 37 (the Railway Hotel site), lot 38, Hall Street, lots 39 and 40, Mason Street (now Pearse Street), three more lots, Victoria Avenue (now QV Street). It's not possible that there would have been a street called Hall Street unless the hall were in that street. It is very likely that the hall was on lot 38, as the 1907 fire which destroyed the hall also threatened the hotel, which nearly caught fire several times. (“The Railway Hotel close by, nearly caught fire on several occasions. ”The Evening Mail, January 14th 1907.)

Note that the railway line at that time was to the west of De Lisle Street and the Railway Hotel. It is now on the eastern side of both the hotel and what's left of De Lisle Street, so the site of Mason's Hall (and Hall Street) has now become the site of the structure which supports the railway line in its current position - between De Lisle and Pearse Streets - where there is a bridge over Tydeman Road.

The first performance in Mason's Hall may have been in 1893, to judge by this advertisement in The West Australian Tuesday 21 February 1893 page 1:

In its great success
To be followed by A GRAND DANCE.
Front seats, 2s ; back seats, 1s. Two shilling seats admit to Dance and Entertainment.

Another example of a performance was advertised in The West Australian, Wednesday 20 February, 1895, page 5:

This evening the Innisfail Amateur Dramatic Company will reproduce the successful Irish drama, The Shaughraun, at Mason's Hall, North Fremantle. The performance will be given with the object of assisting the widow and children of the late John Irvine, who was killed by the recent explosion at Rocky Bay. The West Australian, Wednesday 20 February, 1895, page 5

[Stone quarrying was carried out extensively in Rocky Bay, so the explosion would have been in connexion with that. Also know that this troupe were not from Innisfail in Queensland. They simply chose an Irish place for their name as they performed mostly Irish plays, often by Dion Boucicault. 'Innisfail' is an ancient name for Ireland, meaning 'isle of destiny'.]

The Daily News of Wednesday 8 April 1896 page 2 reported:

This concert was held in Mason's Hall, North Fremantle, and was in every respect a great success. The object of the entertainment was to aid Menzies Hospital, and the promoter, Mrs. Colquhoun, deserves all the credit for a worthy object and the excellent training of the juveniles. The first part of the concert was made up of scenes and songs from ' H.M.S. Pinafore,' the singing and conduct of the young performers being admirable, and their costumes extremely pretty. In the second part songs and re citations were given by Misses Ada Bromham, May Mason [daughter of Frederick Mason], Hilda Vagg, Flora Matthews, Maude Short, Flo. Stewart, Hazel Triggs, Nellie Bick, Nellie Thomas, and others, and Messrs. T. Cashman, Triggs, and R. D. Colquhoun. In the third part, a quartette with chorus from 'The Gondoliers' was well given, the dancing of Misses Lilly and May Poole being especially good. An effective tableau, in which a score of little girls, fittingly costumed to represent as many nations, appeared, made an appropriate finale, Mr, Mason gave the use of the hall free of charge.

Concerts may have ceased in the hall after the sale in 1904 of a number of items connected with staging entertainments, as advertised in The Daily News Wednesday 24 August 1904 on page 8:

At eleven o'clock to-morrow morning, in Mason's Hall, North Fremantle, Mr. John Twinem, auctioneer, of High-street, Fremantle, will sell a number of organs, pianos, harmoniums, and a quantity of stage scenery. The whole lot is to be sold absolutely without reserve, and as the various instruments are by well-known makers, no difficulty should be experienced in disposing of them. Full particulars of the sale are set out in an advertisement which appears in our auction columns.

Newspapers reported the hall's destruction in 1907, as in this report from the Kalgoorlie Miner of Monday 14 January 1907 on page 5:

Perth, Jan. 13. Mason's Hall, at North Fremantle, was destroyed by fire early this morning. The flames were observed at 4.30. The structure was 100 ft. long and 80 ft. wide, the framework being of jarrah, with weatherboard walls. The building was valued at £400, and was uninsured. The telephone exchange were unable to raise the North Fremantle Fire Brigade, and the Fremantle brigade had to be sent for. Had the brigade turned out promptly, the building might have been saved. 

References and Links

Ausstage database entry for the hall.

Garry Gillard | New: 11 July, 25 April, 2022EndDate -->