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McIlwraith McEacharn Building

aka Scottish House, 10-12 Phillimore St, 1919


An early photo of the McIlwraith McEacharn building in splendid isolation by George Davidson, who worked there. Thanks to the Fremantle Library for the c. 1920 photo no. 2388. The still extant Customs House building may be seen on the left of the photo.

The building housing the shipping company McIlwraith McEacharn Ltd., known as Scottish House, was erected in 1917/1919. The company was established in London in 1875 by two Scots, Malcolm Donald McEacharn and Andrew McIlwraith. In 1893 they set up business in Henry Street.

FHC photo #E000148 by Skip Watkins, 1985, (cropped) title: Former Adelaide Steamship Building; caption: 10-12 Phillimore Street, also Patrick's Stevedoring. National Trust Collection. Photographic work was commissioned by the City of Fremantle. Adelaide Steamship Building; Patrick's Stevedoring.

The McIlwraith McEacharn Building [aka Scottish House: it has that in the 'fanlight' over the entrance door: see below] was built 1917-1919 for the shipping company McIlwraith McEacharn Pty Ltd, who owned and occupied the building. The Fremantle History Centre calls it the former Adelaide Steamship Building, and also Patrick's Stevedoring. The current occupants have Seacorp on the front door and windows.

Heritage Council:
The facade was constructed of Donnybrook stone on part of the site of the first Fremantle Railway Station and yards. McIlwraith McEacharn Pty Ltd, was a shipping company whose Australian office was based in Melbourne. The company originally formed in 1875 in London by a partnership between Andrew McIlwraith and Malcolm Donald MacEacharn who were both from Scotland.
In Fremantle, McIlwraith McEacharn Pty Ltd had occupied the Howard Smith Building in Phillimore Street [Mouat St corner] until their new offices were built.
The place is of historic significance as an example of a commercial building in the Old Port City of Fremantle dating from the first decades of the twentieth century. The place is significant because, when viewed from the street, it is a substantially intact example of a commercial building which contributes to the very significant Old Port City of Fremantle. Significant as an unusual and early example of the use of Donnybrook sandstone for a highly decorative commercial façade. The place is a significant landmark in the Old Port City of Fremantle. The place is of social significance as evidenced by its classification by the National Trust. (City of Fremantle via Heritage Council)



George Davidson's photo taken outside the McIlwraith McEachern building (also known as Scottish House). Thanks to the Fremantle Library for the c. 1920s photo #2391.

Staff outside Scottish House leaving in a charabanc on an office picnic. The Metropolitan Omnibus Company was formed 1.12.1926 when several Perth Fremantle operators amalgamated. They ran tours to the hills, Rockingham, Mandurah and Safety Bay.


Thanks to the Fremantle Library for the c. 1919 photo #4374 of the interior of the building, with George Davidson sitting at the centre.

McIlwraith McEacharn Line Pty Ltd, steam ship owners, occupied various buildings in Henry, Cliff and Mouat Streets before moving to Phillimore Street c1908. They occupied the P&O Building (17 Phillimore) before moving to Scottish House (10-12 Phillimore Street.) George Leslie Davidson (1892-1988) is seated in the centre of the picture. He was employed by the Company from 1910 to 1960.


Thanks to the FHC for this 1922 photo #LH001008 of the exterior of the building by an unknown photographer.

Staff outside McIlwraith McEacharn Line Pty Ltd on 21 August 1922. From left: ... Jones; Kathleen Elizabeth Williams; Lloyd Ross; Rhoda Bates; George Leslie Davidson; Thomas H B Hope; Stanley Thompson Edwards; Robert Mills Fulton; Henry Ernest Walkerden; Ronald Gibson; ... Robinson; Walter Bateman; ... Broadhurst; ... Hough; ... Brady; Richard Ribbons; ... Hammer. In 1875 two Scots, Andrew McIlwraith and Malcolm Donald McEacharn, established a shipping company, the Scottish Line. This traded between England and Australia and began to serve WA ports in 1893, carrying passengers, livestock and general cargo. The firm built new premises in Phillimore Street in 1919. The name changed several times: being Associated Steamships, Australian Steamship Company and Union Bulk Ships.

References and Links

Heritage Council page

Photographs on the Facebook page of Donnybrook Sandstone

Garry Gillard | New: 20 April, 2016 | Now: 4 August, 2021