South Freo Power Station – State Attempts to Address Crime of Two Centuries

By Michael Barker
Editor, Fremantle Shipping News

The WA State Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, has announced this afternoon that South Fremantle Power Station is to be sold for redevelopment.

We recently brought the plight of the power station to attention in our article Crime of Two Centuries.

In taking this step the State Government has plainly recognised that the North Coogee site is a prime beachside precinct for locals and tourists and that the derelict crumbling heritage site cannot be left derelict and crumbling for any longer.

A new future for the South Fremantle Power Station in North Coogee is hopefully a step closer with Synergy today advertising the start of an expressions of interest process to sell the iconic site.

The Energy Minister says that, like many power stations of its time, redevelopment has proven challenging with the cost to remediate the site historically exceeding development value.

Synergy will adopt a confidential sale process to explore sale options with developers that have the financial capacity and experience in developing heritage sites with remediation issues.

The expressions of interest phase closes on July 2, 2021. Subject to board approval, Synergy expects to announce the successful bidder in September 2021.

South Fremantle Power Station opened in June 1951 and worked in conjunction with the East Perth Power Station to supply the metropolitan area with power. The site has significant heritage value and was recently listed on the State Register of Heritage Places.

If you’d like to buy the power station and do it up, contact Synergy here.

Minister Johnston, trying to sound upbeat about the sale after so many decades of Government neglect, said –

‘It is fantastic that after nearly four decades there is now an opportunity to pursue a new future for the South Fremantle Power Station site.

‘The sale has the potential to allow an experienced developer to transform the site into a contemporary beachside destination, while also maintaining its heritage status.’

Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk was equally effusive, saying –

‘This is a very exciting announcement for the Fremantle community and I look forward to seeing how this project progresses.

‘It is hoped any future development will also support local Western Australian jobs and deliver a new, vibrant precinct that will become a prime destination for locals and tourists alike.’

What the Government’s announcement today doesn’t address, is just what community involvement, if any, the Government will invite in the sale and redevelopment processes from the City of Cockburn and greater Fremantle communities.

On the face of it, there is at least a possibility that the ‘Crime of Two Centuries’ has been recognised and the Government is trying to a find a way of rectifying the historic heritage wrongs of successive Governments.

* This article was written by Michael Barker, Editor, Fremantle Shipping News