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Railway Stations

There have been two railway stations in Fremantle. The first (1881) was at the northern end of Cliff Street on what was formerly The Green. The second is the current one (1907), on Elder Place (formerly Bay Street).

The first railway station was opportunistically constructed on the park known as The Green, a park and cricket ground which the citizens of Fremantle had made out of land reclaimed from the river and with couch grass planted by hand. In an attempt at recompense the government gave them Fremantle Park. The building in the photo was roughly where the 'Old Customs House' is today, at the western end of Phillimore Street (where the WA Circus School was the major tenant until recently).
The railway workshops were adjacent to the station until 1905 until the government removed them to Midland, taking hundreds of jobs out of Fremantle, to the dismay of citizens.

This c. 1901 photo from Fremantle Ports/Facebook should ideally be seen in its largest size. The first railway station is just to the right of centre. Railway workshops in the middle distance.

The second railway station, 1907, soon after its opening (Dowson).

John Dowon:
A great photo, with sailors from HMS Hood marching past the Fremantle Railway Station. The Fremantle History Society should campaign to get the wonderful Victorian Gardens reinstated to give the station a proper forecourt, instead of the bitumen and diesel fumes from the buses, (which could be moved to the right of the station). I have lobbied for years, but the station management response is: "It's not our job to grow roses!" John Dowson, Facebook.

Construction of the Fremantle to Guildford railway began in 1879. During the next two years land was reclaimed from the river for construction of the line, which was opened on 1 March 1881. Hutchison: 139.

The 1907 railway station. The six swans were made by Walter Burvill (1875-1924), a local plaster modeller. Their colour has varied, but it was decided at the 2007 restoration that white was the original, and therefore preferred colour. The station was closed during the period after the Court government closed the Perth-Fremantle line in 1979. It was opened again by the Burke government in 1983 after much community agitation, notably on the part of the Fremantle Society, which claims the survival of the station building as one of it successes (cf. Davidson 2010).

References and Links

Davidson, Ron & Dianne Davidson 2010, Fighting for Fremantle: The Fremantle Society Story, Fremantle Society: 73-74.

Dowson, John 2003, Old Fremantle, UWAP: 45, 100, 180.

Dowson, John 2005, Submission to Minister for Planning Alannah MacTiernan, Fremantle Society.

Hutchison, David 2006, Fremantle Walks, Fremantle Arts Centre Press: 139-140.

Hutchison, David 2004, 'The railway workshops in Fremantle', Fremantle Studies, 3: 75-87.

Minchin R.S. & G.J. Higham, Robb’s Railway: Fremantle to Guildford Railway Centenary 1881-1981, Australian Railway Historical Society, 1981.

Society newsletter, Fremantle, vol. 7 no. 1, 1979, on "Railway 79?".

See also: bridges, re the two railway bridges.

See also: the lamp room.

See also: Claremont railway station.

Garry Gillard | New: 13 June, 2016 | Now: 18 April, 2023