Fremantle Stuff > Buildings > German Consulate

German Consulate aka Tarantella

5 Mouat St, 1903


Photograph of a painting by Toby Leek, courtesy of the artist.

german consulate

E.M. Deane Smith designed the building, so I assume this is his drawing. Click on the image for a larger size to see the lettering MOUAT CH.[ambers] above the first-floor windows. The name written at an angle across the middle of the drawing is C.P.L. Ratazzi, who was German consul. Source: John Dowson, personal communication.

The German Consulate, 5 Mouat St, was built in 1903 for William Bacon. The German Consul, Carl Ratazzi, who was also Acting Italian Consul, was interned after the beginning of WW1. Many people remember this building as the Tarantella Nightclub. It's currently a B&B.


Plastic Not Fantastic

Steve Grant, Fremantle Herald, 9 April 2016

tarantellasFREMANTLE Labor MP Simon McGurk has asked WA heritage minister Albert Jacob why unsightly plastic piping was approved for the sides of one of Fremantle’s most famous heritage buildings.
Air-conditioning was installed at 5 Mouat Street — once a German consulate but perhaps more famous as Tarantellas nightclub — leaving long lines of light-coloured plastic pipes stretching from the second-storey roof to the ground.
The pipes were never going to pass unobserved; Fremantle Society president John Dowson lives right across the road and he says they’re highly damaging.
Mr Dowson says the distinctive, Gothic premises is arguably the most-photographed building in Fremantle.
“The cheap, nasty white plastic piping is totally unsuited for a level one heritage building no matter where it used on the building and in this case the piping is very visible for passers-by and for anyone wanting to photograph this important building,” he says.
“On Friday I rang the State Heritage Office and they said approval for works at the property had been granted and suggested I speak to someone at Fremantle council as the responsible authority… I rang and spoke to someone at Fremantle council and they suggested I speak with the State Heritage Office.”
Ms McGurk told the Herald she’d asked the minister what he was doing to reverse, “this damaging and unsightly work on an important historical street front in Fremantle’s West End”.
“Let’s hope we can get a reversal of such an unsympathetic approach to a heritage building and streetscape,” Ms McGurk said.
The building was constructed in 1903 and was used by the Imperial German Consul prior to WWI, and the story goes that bloke spied for the Kaiser by keeping an eye on shipping in the nearby harbour and broadcasting the results from the building’s tower.
As Tarantellas, it earned a well-earned reputation as one of WA’s seediest nightclubs, which served only to make it more popular.
It’s currently a bed and breakfast.
The owners were contacted for comment.

References and Links

Boch, Sebastian 2014, 'The Kaiser's spy on Queen Victoria Street', Fremantle Studies, 8: 37-46.

Webb, David & David Warren 2005, Fremantle: Beyond the Round House, Longley, Fremantle: 16-17. [The authors retail the unlikely rumour that Ratazzi spied on shipping movements from the attic of 5 Mouat St.]

Garry Gillard | New: 9 April, 2106 | Now: 9 November, 2019