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Fishing Boat Harbour

Mews Road

short jetty

South Jetty (also known as The Short Jetty, Fishermen's Jetty, Fishing Boat Jetty, and Dagos Jetty), available from 1854, extending south from Anglesea Point (which was at the sea end of where Fishermen's Co-op/Bathers Beach House is now), formed what is now the northern boundary of the present Fishing Boat Harbour.

short jetty


Fishing boats were also often moored in the main Harbour, inside the South Mole, as shown in this 1913 photo.


South Jetty and South Bay, Fremantle 1907 After 1897 when the Inner Harbour was opened, fishing boats used South Jetty for loading and of-loading and South Bay for a mooring area. In 1905-06, South Bay was reclaimed, forming Esplanade Park. Public Works Dept

Photograph and caption from Sally May, 1999, 'The Italian fishermen of Fremantle: from blue-collar businessmen to lords of the sea', Fremantle Studies, 1: 47-65.

Possibly a Frank Hurley photo, possibly 1950.

Fishing Boat Harbour, 1969. Aerial Photos and Surveys photo courtesy of the Fremantle Library Local History Collection no. 2015A.

This photo was first published in the Fremantle City Council publication, Gateway, in 1974. The Fishing Boat Harbour was built in 1922 with stone from Rocky Bay and proclaimed as a Harbour on 30.07.1924. In 1944 a 200 metre mole was built out at the foot of Grey Street to combat erosion. In 1949 a spur extension was added on the North side of the breakwater. On 30.08.1961, boundaries were amended and reclamation enabled relocation of the railway line so that boatbuilding activities could be sited on the Eastern shore. Photo and note courtesy of the Fremantle Library Local History Collection no. 935.

Fishing boats in pens at the Fishing Boat Harbour, 2007.

South Jetty, in South Bay, was the site for fishermen to moor their boats and sell their catch in the 19th century. The creation of the Esplanade Park in 1905/06 and the development of South Beach in the 1920s contributed to the difficulties experienced by fishermen in landing their boats and their fish and there was agitation for a safe harbour and a centre for selling the fish. Construction of the Fishing Boat Harbour commenced in 1946 with the building of stone breakwaters to provide safe anchorage for up to 400 vessels. A Fremantle Fishermen's Co-operative Society was formed in 1947. The Co-op built new premises on the site of the old fish market. Since then, a land based berth c. 167 metres long, a series of catwalks, mooring pens and jetties have been built. The harbour covers 40 acres and is restricted to commercial fishing boats. Foreshore sites are leased to fishing companies and shipwrights and, particularly since the America's Cup Defence in the 1980s, there are many restaurants in the area. (Notes for the Alison Bauer 2007 photo no. LH005328 all courtesy of Fremantle Library Local History Collection.)

An application has been made in 2020 for the Fishing Boat Harbour to be granted heritage status.

References and Links

May, Sally 1999, 'The Italian fishermen of Fremantle: from blue-collar businessmen to lords of the sea', Fremantle Studies, 1: 47-65.

May, Sally 2007, 'People, places and spaces: reflections on the immigrant composition of Fremantle's fishing industry'Fremantle Studies, 5: 30-39.

Webb, David & David Warren 2005, Fremantle: Beyond the Round House, Longley, Fremantle: 34-35.

See also: Fishermen's Co-operative.

Garry Gillard | New: 17 July, 2019 | Now: 23 August, 2020