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Federal Hotel

Lot 378, 23-25 William St, c. 1887, 1904.


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


Photo by Daniel Beaujouan

The pub had been known as Rosie O'Grady's for twenty years to 10 January 2016. It is now (2021) under new ownership and the Federal Hotel name is restored.

A large three storey hotel building, constructed in 1887 of stuccoed brick work. Designed by architect G.I. Inskip. The original verandahs over the pavement do not survive. Extended in 1904.
The chaste Victorian Classical revival architectural character is important. Notwithstanding the loss of the original verandahs over the pavement, of greater significance is the contribution the building makes to the Victorian streetscape of the west end of the city and, in particular, in relation to the Town Hall opposite and to the commercial premises which extend around the corner and into High Street. A building whose presence reinforces the surviving Victorian character of the very centre of the city where Town Hall, Church and commercial premises combine to produce a significant and cohesive townscape. Australian Heritage Database.

The Federal Hotel features in the foreground of an important photograph (522A) taken from the Town Hall in about 1913 so I've put it on this page, together with the very helpful text provided by the Fremantle Library. Click on the photo to see it at its full size.

federal panorama

Panoramic view of Fremantle looking west from Town Hall. Note:
The Federal Hotel in William Street, opened July 1887. Proprietor Mr. J.A. Herbert.
J.W. Porter's business in William Street. Sold 1914, re-established in William Street 1936. The firm moved to Murphy Street, O'Connor in 1959. See: B/Porter.
William Detmold Ltd. William Street, opened in August 1899. later known as Spicers Ltd. Demolished September 1970.
Burns Philp and Company, Newman Street (not shown in copy, refer to original). Constructed in 1898 as Monger's West Australian Stores Ltd. Architect Archer William Hoskings ( 1868-1911). Occupied by Burns Philp 1905/1906, demolished September 1971. See: 725.35 Miscellany File.
Fremantle Oval, grandstand (1897) and oval entrance (replaced by brick entrance c1914) This brick entrance was demolished January 1986. A new entrance was built in late 1985 in conformity with the Parry Street extension.
Warders Quarters in Henderson Street.
Roof of Scots Church in South Terrace. Foundation stone laid by Sir John Forrest on 26.03.1890. The architect was J. Talbot Hobbs. The Church was completed by November 1890 for a cost of 2,000 pounds.
Pensioner Barracks, South Terrace. Built c1850s and occupied by the enrolled pensioner force. During 1914-1918 war, used as the No. 8 General Australian Hospital. Later Immigrants Home, demolished 1950s. Stan Reilly Frail aged Lodge now on site, completed 1976. See: 725.18 Miscellany File.
Fremantle Technical College, corner South Terrace and Essex Street. Built 1912, designed by P.W.D. under Hillson Beasley.
Essex Street - Instone and Co. According to Kerr, the factory and showrooms were constructed c1906 at a cost of £865/4s. Architect: J.F. Allen; Contractor: C. Moore.
Port Mill - see 725.4 Miscellany File.
Kings Theatre (two storey building in centre of photograph). Built for James Gallop, the foundation stone was laid on 20.02.1904.
Rear of Manning Buildings, South Terrace, 1902.
Literary Institute, South Terrace, built 1899, Architects: Wilkinson, Smith and Wilson. Opened 15.03.1899 by Elias Solomon. Work carried out by L. Burness for a total cost of 1,528 pounds.
Rear of Imperial Restaurant (opposite Literary Institute).
Text accompanying the FHC photo.

fed pcFremantle Society Event

Federal Hotel c1898 (postcard sold at auction $496) >

From President John Dowson
After a huge turn out at Kidogo for our first event of the year, The Fremantle Society’s next event is a dinner at the recently refurbished Federal Hotel in William Street Fremantle (formerly Rosie O’Grady’s). Join new operator Nikola Jurin and operations manager Marc Townsend to see what they have done so far with the hotel (thank goodness the original name of the hotel has been reinstated!).
The evening will include a tour of the hotel, though you may wish to avoid Room 3 where Lilian Martin and her three year old son Daniel were murdered in 1927.
The hotel opened in 1887, though soon after someone tried to burn it down three times on the same night.
Thursday 3 March at 7pm. Two course meal $30. Plus tour of the upstairs rooms by the licensee. Bookings essential.

From the Mayor's blog
The Federal is a hotel with a lot of history including multiple arson attempts (some on the same night!), murders, and the place where the first WA meeting of the State ALP was held. When the Federal first opened its doors in 1887 it was touted as one of the most beautiful buildings ever seen in the colony (see old postcard).
New operators Nik Jurin and Marc Townsend have done a great job with refurbing the hotel and bringing back its charm while also creating a great beer list and menu. Nik was behind the revamp of the South Beach Hotel (aka the Dav) and Marc was the face of North Fremantle’s Mrs Brown.

References and Links

Brad Pettitt, Mayor's blog entry, 29 March 2016.

John Kennedy was licensee in 1898, West Australian, Tuesday 6 December 1898, p. 5.

Garry Gillard | New: 23 September, 2014 | Now: 29 June, 2022