Another day during our 2020 Perth family visit we went discovering on our own and took a ride to the coastal town Fremantle – or Freo as the locals love to call their town. After parking the car, we strolled to what we presumed to be the city centre in search of the tourist info centre.
Walking across Kings Square and St Johns Anglican church on kings square, we saw an interesting table designed to echo the church’s architecture, where people can play chess.
The city has also laid out a supersize chess board on the square and installed decorated ping pong tables inviting tourists and locals alike for a bit of play. Around the corner we saw an animatronic dinosaur. We learned later that this was the Dinosaur Walk, a keep-the-kids-busy-during-the-holidays initiative. Later we saw them standing around throughout the old centre of Fremantle.
An older gentleman at the tourism centre was happy to explain all the sights to be seen in Fremantle – inclusive of the Cappuccino Strip (South Terrace).
As it was reasonably early in the day, we decided that was as good an activity to start the day with as any other and that was our fist stop. South Street has this great European vibe with the vintage Victorian buildings and coffee shops spilling out onto the walk way. The planters on the street were decorated with beautiful artwork from Horatio Birdbath. Even though it was fairly chilly (for me in any case), we enjoyed a nice cappuccino and long black on the deck in the morning sunshine.
After our coffee break we sauntered down High street towards the Roundhouse (an old gaol) . Its elevated position gave sweeping views over the ocean and Rottnest Island on the horizon, which we went to visit a few day later.
From the Round House, we walked down, past several artists workshops and across the road towards the WA Maritime museum. Outside on the grass in front of J-Shed, some funky ducks (by Greg James) are keeping a lookout to the bay. Just before entering the Maritime grounds, you pass a number of classrooms. It was only later that we realised this is a Tafe Campus. One could have a worse spot on the map to go to school!
On our way to the entrance of the Maritime Museum we passed the HMAS Ovens, the submarine on display on Fremantle’s historic World War Two submarine slipway just outside of the museum. A statue of a submariner (by Smith Sculptors) pays homage to all who played a role in Australia’s Maritime history.
At the entrance of the museum, there more than 400 panels installed: the Welcome Walls. These panels pay tribute to those migrants who arrived by sea who contributed to their new home enriching the lives of all Western Australians.
We paid our entry fee and spend an hour or two sauntering through the Maritime museum with its diverse and interesting displays.
From there we walked along the shore to the Bathers Beach for a quick fish and chips lunch. As everywhere in Australia there was signage to remind visitors and locals alike of the Aboriginal heritage.
Right across the road from our lunch spot, we visited the Shipwreck Museum and walking around you realise how big the Dutch/Flemish stamp onto the sea trade has been. Just some of the names alone (Zuytdorp, Zeewijk and Vergulde Draeck) are so familiar – us being from Belgian origin. The WA Shipwrecks Museum is recognised as the foremost maritime archaeology museum in the Southern Hemisphere.
Just a 10 minute walk back up to the city centre, brought us to the Fremantle Convict Prison. In contrast with the Dutch focus we experienced at the shipwreck museum, the Fremantle Convict Prison had a completely British angle. Our guide was full of gory, arty, religious and other details of the prison and made the visit informative and fun … if that can be said about a prison.
Our day was filled to the brim and too short to seek out all nooks and crannies and interesting bits and bobs of Fremantle. But … like many places in Australia that we have seen while on various family visits … we’ll be back!
Before, during and after our 2019-2020 family holiday, bush fires have been raging in Australia. Thank you to all firefighters and volunteers who worked relentlessly to combat the raging fires.
Read more about our other trips and destinations during our 2019 – 2020 family visit in Australia.