The Missing Towers of Fremantle City

By Garry Gillard*

Most visitors to Fremantle’s historic West End climb the steps to the Round House.

Once there, most of them take The Photograph. The Instagram Shot. The one looking back east up High Street.

Credit Jean Hudson

And there is something wrong with every one of those snaps. The turret on the Fremantle Hotel is missing.

And so is the clocktower on the P&O Hotel.

Fremantle from the Round House circa 1901. The railway line is in the foreground with Dalgety’s Building, completed November 1901 on the left. The architect was J Talbot Hobbs. Beyond is the Hotel Fremantle (1898) and in the centre background is the Town Hall. The turreted building on the right of the Town Hall is the P&O Hotel (1901). At the front right is the Police Quarters, demolished in 1905 for the Tramways Car Barn. Beyond this are the home and garden of W F Samson and the Bank of New South Wales (1899). Source City of Fremantle Library.

It looks obviously wrong: the turret and clocktower are key elements whose absence from the scene damage the authenticity of the turn-of-the-twentieth-century vista.

It would not be cheap, but it can fixed. Witness the brilliant restoration carried out by Murray Slavin on the Dalgety building on the corner of Phillimore and Cliff Streets, Fremantle, now Mediterranean Shipping Company’s Aussie headquarters.

It’s time for restoration action!

* Garry Gillard publishes Fremantle Stuff and you’ll find his extensive information on Fremantle Hotels right here.


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