Fremantle Prison Gatehouse, Fremantle, Western Australia


Dublin Core


Fremantle Prison Gatehouse, Fremantle, Western Australia


Architecture, capital punishment, conservation, Considine & Griffiths Architects, architect, convict, Convict Establishment, convict labour, Edmund Henderson, Edward I of England (1239-1307), fortification, Fremantle, Fremantle Prison, gate, gatehouse, limestone, maximum security, medieval castle, medieval warfare, penal establishment, prison, stonework, Swan River Colony, towers, transportation, WA, Western Australia


A view of the Fremantle Prison Gatehouse in Fremantle, Western Australia. The Gatehouse was constructed by convict labour between 1854 and 1855. It was built according to the design of Royal Engineer Edmund Henderson from limestone quarried on site. Gatehouses consisting of two close towers with a gate positioned between them were a common feature of medieval castles and walled cities, especially during the reign of Edward I in England (1272-1307). Gatehouses were deliberately designed to be large and imposing structures, because their purpose was to protect the weakest point of a fortified space - the entrance. A major restoration of the Fremantle Prison Gatehouse took place in 2005 under the management of Considine and Griffiths Architects. The stonework was conserved and all non-original rendering was removed.

About Fremantle Prison:

Fremantle Prison was originally named The Convict Establishment, then The Colonial Convict Establishment. It was renamed Fremantle Prison in 1867. The building of the prison commenced in 1852, following a British government directive that the Swan River Colony was to be used as a penal establishment and the arrival of the first ship of convicts in June 1850. The prison was first occupied in May 1855. Control of the prison was handed over to the colonial authorities in 1886, and the gallows were added in 1888 (following the closure of the Perth Gaol in 1887). From then until capital punishment was abolished by an act of State Parliament in 1984, Fremantle Prison was the only legal place of execution in the colony and later the state. The prison was decommissioned in 1991, when the remaining male inmates and staff were transferred to the new maximum security prison at Casuarina. The Women’s Division, added to the prison in 1889, had been disbanded in 1970 when female prisoners were transferred to Bandyup Women’s Training Centre. Since its closure, Fremantle Prison has been added to the State, National and World Heritage Lists. For more information and a list of recommended readings, see Fremantle Prison’s official website:



McEwan, Joanne


4 February 2011


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