About Freo

Fremantle, or Freo as it is known by the locals, is one of the most visited places in Western Australia. It’s not a place you simply tick off your bucket list but a city you’ll want to visit time and time again. Once you’ve been you’ll understand why Freo was recognised as a ‘top ten city for 2016’ in the highly prestigious Lonely Planet Best in Travel publication.

Surrounded by pristine coastline our beaches are suitable for all beach goers including families with kids to surfers looking to catch their next wave. For a truly unique experience head to Bathers Beach, our inner city gem that in 2016 became the first ever licenced beach area in Australia.

There are several arts precincts that are a must when visiting Fremantle including the Bathers Beach Art Precinct adjacent to the Round House and the jewel in Fremantle's crown, the Fremantle Arts Centre. To find out more about these art precincts and the many amazing galleries and studios in Freo click here.

Fremantle is the home of alfresco dining in Western Australia and is a favourite spot for foodies. Take your pick from small bars offering bespoke cocktails, pubs serving locally brewed beers to restaurants presenting mouth-watering dishes with the freshest local ingredients. Head to one of the many cafes along the Cappuccino Strip to sample for yourself and why Freo has earned the reputation of the coffee capital, you won’t be disappointed. Click here to get your taste buds tingling.

The festival and events scene is legendary with performance, annual festivals, arts and live music presented in open air venues, converted warehouses and public spaces throughout the city. Of note are Fremantle International Street Arts Festival (Easter weekend), Hidden Treasures Winter Music Series (July) and the fully curated Fremantle Festival (October/November). To find out what’s on in Freo click here.

Fremantle is not your run of the mill shopping location. It’s a place to explore and discover unique and independent boutiques, vintage and retro stores and local designers retail stores. Don't miss MANY 2.0 which is loosely referred to as the largest pop-up shop in the southern hemisphere with local artisans showcasing individual contemporary wares. Plan your next shopping trip here.

All of this combined with the iconic tourist attractions of Fremantle MarketsWestern Australian Maritime MuseumWA Shipwrecks Museum and the World Heritage Listed Fremantle Prison make Freo an exciting place to visit. To discover all there is to see and do click here.

Fremantle is such a walkable city and the best way to fully experience the atmosphere of the city is to take a  self-guided walking tour. Explore tourist attractions, history, cultural heritage and street art.

This is just a snippet of what there is to love about Fremantle. If you’d like to read more check out the Fremantle story blog posts on all things Freo.

History

The heritage of the Whadjuk Nyoongar Aboriginal people of the South West region of Western Australia goes back tens of thousands of years. The area now known as Fremantle is known by Whadjuk people as Walyalup, meaning it was place of the Walyo or Woylie, a small Brush-tailed Bettong.

The first Europeans arrived in 1829, when Captain Charles Fremantle claimed the west coast of New Holland for the British Crown. In June 1829, Governor James Stirling came ashore to establish the Swan River settlement at the mouth of the Swan River.

Soon after, a settlement was made 20 kilometres upriver at Perth, the present-day capital of Western Australia. Between 1850 and 1868, convicts were sent from Britain to provide labour and help the struggling colony grow–they built some of Fremantle's notable heritage buildings, including Fremantle Prison and the Fremantle Arts Centre.

The boom days for Fremantle were the years of gold and wheat, at the end of the 1800s, when the port was the gateway to the rich goldfields and pastoral lands to the east. The town grew quickly over the next few decades, becoming a city in 1929.

Fremantle's impressive suite of late Victorian and early Edwardian buildings date from these years. When the boom-times ended, Fremantle's importance declined and economic activity moved to Perth. This helped to save the city's fine architectural heritage, which was largely untouched by clearing for new development. Fremantle’s West End precinct was recently included in the State Register of Heritage Places.

It is Fremantle's port that has always been a focal point of the city's prosperity. A limestone bar crossed the entrance to the river was removed and the harbour was deepened as early as 1897.

It was a key home base for Allied naval ships during World War II. After the war, Fremantle was first port of call for thousands of immigrants from war-torn Europe. Many stayed to build new lives in Western Australia.

As Perth grew in importance through the 1960s and 1970s, Fremantle’s economy slowed. A turning point in the city’s history was the America’s Cup Defence in 1987, which revitalised the city and showcased it to the world.

Today, Fremantle is Western Australia’s biggest commercial port, handling a variety of freight. The adjacent fishing port is home base for a large commercial fishing fleet.