Fremantle Stuff >
The first jetty was built out from Bathers Beach where Captain Fremantle landed in 1829 near the western end of the (later) Whalers Tunnel, according to Hitchcock (9-10):
Captain Fremantle landed on Arthur’s Head, and on May 2  took formal possession in the name of His Majesty King George IV. The exact spot where he landed was indicated in a despatch to the Admiralty dated October 8, 1829, wherein he said that: "The landing took place in a little bay close to the mouth of the river, to the southward of it, being the only landing in that neighbourhood where boats could go with security, the bar at the entrance of the river generally being impassable." No doubt that little bay would have been the indentation in the shore between Arthur's Head and the little promontory (Anglesea Point) from which the Long Jetty was later constructed. The landing would have been made somewhere near the western end of where later a tunnel was made through the rocky head, and it was there that the first jetty was situated.
I assume this is the one conjecturally shown at 16 as 'Whalers Jetty' on this modern map of Arthur Head. The Tunnel is shown as 15.
March 1831 saw the first attempt to improve port facilities. Reveley started building a ‘rough stone jetty or landing place for boats’ at Anglesea Point at the west end of the South Bay.  However, this was either unfinished or a failure because 12 months later Daniel Scott was building a jetty in ‘Fremantle Bay’ opposite his block at the end of Essex Street and it was already 75 feet long.  By July 1832 it was completed and he was able to advertise his landing charges.  (Errington)
Known as the Short Jetty after the Long Jetty was built, this extended south from Anglesea Point, and was completed by 1854. (Hitchcock: 40) The photo is SLWA # 230453PD.
Short Jetty, c. 1900, RWAHS UNCR2222
This is the photo of the Short Jetty used by Hitchcock in his 1929 History. His caption reads: 'The Only Jetty, 1870'.
The next photo shows the relationship between the Short Jetty and the newer Long Jetty.
A view from Arthur Head lighthouse, with the stone wall around the Round House in front. On the left is the Commissariat; and in the centre, South Jetty. To the right is the Long Jetty with the Kerosene Store and Bathers Bay in front. Fremantle Library photo #1611 c.1891.
This c. 1897 photograph by Alfred Pickering is clearer (click/tap for larger size).
In the centre of the photo is the building now called the Kidogo Arthouse (it was the Kerosene Store, where the fuel for the lighthouse was stored). That's the original mortuary to the right of it. A replica of that has now been built there - on Anglesea Point, where the Marquis of Anglesea was wrecked in 1832. The Short and Long Jetties are behind those two buildings. The still extant Commissariat is on the extreme left of the photo. Photo Alfred Pickering, c. 1881-1897, courtesy of SLWA BA533/184 (from Facebook). Click/tap for larger size.
Library: This was built in 1878 by Mason, Bird and Co.: it ran in a south westerly direction for a length of 750 feet into 12 foot of water. In 1887 a major westward extension was made, so that the total length became 2,837 feet. Accomodation was provided for six vessels, however the depth of water at the end was only 20 feet. A further 457 foot extension was completed in 1896 giving a depth of about 22 foot in lower water. This was an emergency measure to accomodate an extra two vessels, pending the opening of the inner harbour in 1897. The total length was then 3,294 feet. The major demolition of the Long Jetty took place before March 1913. The original (SW) portion then became a matter of maintenance controversy between the Government and Fremantle Municipal Council until its complete demolition in 1921. Sources: R.S. Minchin and G.J. Higham: Robbs Railway, 1981 and Mr S. Jones.
This informative photo, taken by Izzy Orloff from the top of the South Mole powerhouse chimney and courtesy of Fremantle City Library (315), shows in the left foreground Anglesea Point on which is the Harbour and Lights boatshed (formerly the kerosene store) which has yet to become Joan Campbell's pottery and then the Kidogo Arthouse. The Short Jetty has become the Fish Market Jetty with sheds for the purpose built on it. The Long Jetty is no longer in use but is not yet demolished, as the cost of maintenance is being debated between state and local government bodies. It will be demolished in 1921. Between the jetties is a breakwater, which will later be extended and developed as part of the enclosure of the fishing boat harbour. Note that South Bay, behind the sheds, has not yet been filled in to form the Fremantle Esplanade.
Alfred Pickering c. 1895-1905. Photo courtesy of SLWA 011527D (Facebook). Click/tap for larger size.
1873 ... saw the completion of the first section of the old Ocean Jetty [the Long Jetty]. That section ran in a south-westerly direction from Anglesea Point and the structure was afterwards extended in a westerly direction to a total length of 2,830 feet, the depth of water at its head being 20 feet on the north side and, 21 feet on the south. The first section was constructed by Mason, Bird and Co., of the Canning Saw Mills, and later two extensions of 1,000 feet and 450 feet were carried out by R. O. Law and Matthew Price. The jetty was little used after the opening of the river harbour in 1897 and after being closed to traffic and used only as a promenade for some years, it was doomed to demolition in 1921. That old jetty was historic for over its planks the first representatives of many families now well established in Western Australia made their first entry into the Golden West. (Hitchcock: 57-58)
A contract was let to R. O. Law in 1887 to build a new approach and extend the sea jetty by 1,000 feet in a westerly direction towards Gage Roads. The original section was only 15 feet wide and had a narrow approach and the new section was made 42 feet in width. That was the second section to be built to the sea jetty and it is of interest to record that Law at the time of signing the contract was a minor [not yet 21], and at that early age gave evidence of his ability to undertake and complete a big job. Twenty-five years later Law secured a contract for the demolition of the structure, the jetty being of no further use and a danger to pedestrians using it. (Hitchcock: 59)
This 1897 photo is Fremantle Library image #2055, with this caption: 'The Long Jetty was completed in December 1873 and extended to over 3000 feet in 1892. Until the Harbour was completed it was a very busy place. The ship on the left is unloading "bulk" using baskets and trams. Taken before 1897.' The photographers' names are in the bottom right corner. My guess is that it is Bertel & Williams.
This well-known photograph of a boy sitting on a mast on the Long Jetty was also taken by Alfred Pickering. Photo courtesy of SLWA # 011527D (from Facebook). Click/tap for larger size.
Kate Caldwell, writing in 1933, suggests that there was a stone jetty before the wooden one of 1853:
"In the old maps a stone jetty appears at the river end of Cliff-street. Within living memory the only jetty that existed at that spot was the usual wooden structure with protecting railings, a tank being erected at the shore approach. On this tank a man was employed all day pumping water from the river (apparently windmills were non-existent). This salt water was afterwards distributed by carts on the streets. In the early days of the Colony, Phillimore-street which runs from Cliff to Market-streets was well below the high water mark of the river, but land was afterwards reclaimed by convict labour and the old railway station was built where the present Customs House stands, at the Cliff-street corner. It would, therefore, seem that this old stone jetty was existent in pre-convict days, and was a jetty in the literal meaning of the word, stones being thrown into the water, and a roadway made on the top. Nowadays, no doubt, we would call it a mole."
Below is the river jetty that was constructed with convict labour in 1853. It was at the northern end of Cliff Street. Goods were landed at the southern end of the street and carted to the river jetty for transport to Perth by boat.
The Battye Library's photo BA1341/28 is from 1880-90. It is beautifully reproduced in John Dowson's Old Fremantle, page 24, where his caption describes it thus: 'The Swan River from the lighthouse on Arthur Head, c. 1885. The River Jetty, convict-built in 1853, is on the left; beyond it are Ferry Point, then the 1880 railway bridge and in the distance the 1866 passenger bridge. In the foreground is the Government Cottage or Residency, built in 1851 for the water police, demolished 1967.'
Stephen Stout's photo of the river jetty c. 1864
An 1865 map shows a 'watering jetty for ships' at the foot of Arundel Street, where there was a well.
The Boom Defence Jetty is on your right as you go out onto the South Mole, next to Dago Bay. See the 2005 Slipways Conservation Plan for more information.
West of the termination of East Street, on the river, on Beach Street. Formerly a terminus for Rottnest ferries, it is now inhabited by the plainest building in Fremantle, in one of the most prominent positions: a brewery and boozer in a galvo shed.
Not often used for anything, the site of the installation of the Commonwealth of New Bayswater, a Jessee Lee Johns creation for the Fremantle Biennale 2021.
This small jetty was built at the rear of 35 Swan Street, North Fremantle to allow access to the river across the scum and slush effluent from the Swan Wool Scouring Company at 33 Swan Street. The girls are Joyce Helliwell, Hilda ? and Myrtle Helliwell (1913- ). The old traffic bridge, 1866-1947 is in the background. Ref. no. 4079.
Hitchcock, JK 1929, The History of Fremantle, The Front Gate of Australia 1829-1929, Fremantle City Council.
Walter, Irma 2014, Stout-Hearted: The Story of Stephen Montague Stout, Hesperian Press.
Brief note about and photo of the South Jetty in Fremantle, the newsletter of the Fremantle Society: November 2000.
Page for photographer Alfred Pickering.
Garry Gillard | New: 7 July, 2015 | Now: 25 June, 2022