Fremantle Stuff > Places > Bathers Beach
Bathers Bay is a small beach immediately south of Arthur Head. It is about as historically important to European WA as any place can be, being where Captain Fremantle landed 8 October 1829 to 'take possession' of the western part of the continent. The first people, the Whadjuk, called it Manjaree.
The original Bathers Bay was defined by two 'points' at north and south. The Marquis of Anglesea was wrecked on Anglesea Point on 4 September 1829 - and this southern point was consequently named after the ship's last name. The northern end of Bathers Bay was named Point Marquis. Neither 'point' still exists as such: both have become part of shore realignments. Point Marquis has been flattened and built over by the roadway leading out to the southern lighthouse. Anglesea Point was roughly at the western end of the former Fishermen's Cooperative building - now Bathers Beach House - and has become part of the shoreline at the southern end of Bathers Beach, near the point where the fishing harbour breakwater goes out to sea. Some remnant piles of the former Long Jetty may still be seen in the sea. There is also a sculptural representation of part of said Jetty, which is more or less at the point where the actual Jetty went seawards from Anglesea Point.
Bathers Beach from Arthurs Head, my photo
As is generally known, Fremantle derived its name from Captain Charles H. Fremantle, of H.M.S. Challenger, which anchored off Garden Island on April 25, 1829, three years after Major Lockyer had founded the settlement at Albany. 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. Hitchcock: 9-10.
The former Fishermens Cooperative building, now Bathers Beach House. It has a licence at the western end to serve alcohol on the former public beach on a bit of alienated/privatised land.
People's Ocean Knowledge Trail of Cockburn Sound & Districts
Garry Gillard | New: 27 April, 2016 | Now: 3 April, 2019