Fremantle Stuff > Buildings > Mortuary


The structure now on the seaward side of the (present) Kidogo Arthouse represents the mortuary that used to be there.

bathers bay

Bathers Beach from Arthur Head, 2015, showing the Kidogo Arthouse (aka kerosene store) and a structure representing the mortuary; my photo.


View of Fremantle from Power House stack, 1905. The small pagoda like building in the centre front is the Morgue [mortuary] and next on the left is the Harbour and Light boatshed store [kerosene store/Kidogo Arthouse]. The newly reclaimed Esplanade is behind it. In the background are the Arundel Street Baths (1898-1906). The West Australian Government Railways goods sheds are behind the Morgue and the South Jetty and the base of the [now] disused Long Jetty can be seen to the right. There is a Harbour and Light building on the jetty. Fremantle Library photo #628.


The photo above and the text below are from an interpretive plaque on the boardwalk nearby.

The Mortuary, or dead house as it was also known, was used for the temporary storage of bodies and as a place for conducting autopsies. Built c1896, it was the fourth such building in the vicinity.
The first dead house was built in the early 1860s on the western end of the headland. By 1869 it had been replaced by a dead house located in the basement of the Harbour Master's house.
The Harbour Master's complaints about the smell were eventually acknowledged and in 1886 the guard house was converted into the third mortuary.
The fourth Mortuary was sold in 1920 for £3/10/0 and demolished, presumably for the building material.


The photo above and the text below are from a second interpretive plaque on the boardwalk. Click on the image for a larger size.

The c1896 Mortuary was located on the same site as this current shelter. We know this from historic photographs as well as archaeological remains.
As the colony's first port, Bathers Bay was the site of numerous buildings including Harbour Master's facilities, Customs House and bond stores. Today only the Commissariat Store (1852), some of the Long Jetty piles (1873) and the Kerosene Store (1881) remain visible. Less visible clues, however, lie beneath the ground.
Archaeological investigations and surface surveys, conducted in 1984 and 1986, concentrated on the former whaling and ship building industries as well as the Long Jetty. In 2007, an archaeological conservation plan was prepared for the Bathers Bay area. All have contributed to a better understanding of the place, its former uses and historical significance.


Photo from unknown source, date unknown, looking north, showing the mortuary in the centre, with the kerosene store/Harbour & Lights boathouse/Kidogo Arthouse on the right.

References and links

See also: kerosene store/Kidogo Arthouse/ Harbour & Lights boathouse.

Wikipedia page for Bathers Beach

Garry Gillard | New: 25 June, 2015 | Now: 8 November, 2019