The Manning Buildings


Freo Today. 25 June 2024. This nice pic, taken by Jean Hudson, is of a part of the Manning Buildings as seen from High Street Mall. Recently redeveloped by Gerard O’Brien’s Silverleaf, the Buildings have once again become a significant feature of Freo.

The Buildings are named for an early Fremantle settler family. As recorded in the Heritage Council’s Inherit entry for the Buildings –

The Manning Buildings comprise: 109-113 High Street, 115-119 High Street, 121-137 High Street, 1-5 William Street, 40-62 Market Street and 36-50 South Terrace.

The Manning family emigrated to Australia in the 1830s and became the biggest landowners in Fremantle. The Manning buildings were built from 1902 to 1906 for a cost of £2,243, as an investment, by the trustees for the Manning Bros. Estate. The National Trust assessment cites Cavanagh & Cavanagh as the main architects for the buildings with various builders for the different stages. The Majestic Theatre (115-135 High Street) formed part of the development. There was public objection when, as part of a refurbishment in 1986, three of the shops were demolished to allow access to the shopping mall.

Two storey commercial building which curves around the the William Street corner and is attached to the adjacent Manning Buildings in High Street. A lane way at ground level with first floor over it attached to 5 William Street. The parapet has a highly decorative pediment with ‘Manning Chambers’ in stucco below. The first floor façade features engaged columns; some pairs have multiple rendered bands across them. There is a verandah awning, which is probably not original.

Garry Gillard in his amazing Freotopia entry for the Buildings, which contains some wonderful pics of parts of it from yesteryear, explains that the Manning Chambers portion of the Buildings is the oldest. Jean Hudson’s photograph is of a portion of the High Street Mall frontage as it is today.