Fremantle is often described as a city of artists and indeed many of the state's leading practitioners in the visual arts, crafts, writing, film and photography live there. It is an interesting and visual place, being a bustling port city with a substantial fishing industry, surrounded by beaches and with a city centre (the West End) consisting of an outstanding collection of Federation and other historic buildings.
Fremantle is also renowned for its numerous coffee houses, small restaurants, museums as well as a number of significant historical landmarks such as the Round House and the Fremantle Prison. It was once, briefly, 'home of the Americas cup'. Fremantle is located at the mouth of the Swan River on the West Coast of Western Australia and is part of the Perth metropolitan area.
The Perth city centre is only 14kms away - a 25 minute cab ride or 30 minutes by train.
On May 2, 1829 Captain Charles Fremantle formally annexed all of Western Australia for England to prevent a similar move by France. One month later a party of settlers arrived from England aboard the ship Parmelia, led by Captain James Stirling who established two townsites in the new Swan River Colony: a port and a farming community. He named the port Fremantle and the farming settlement Perth.
The history and development of Fremantle has always revolved around the city's port facilities, but its most rapid development took place during the Western Australian gold discoveries of the 1890s. However, the early years saw slow progress because of capital and labour shortages. The introduction of convict labour from England in 1850 provided the workforce for expansion and the construction of many of Fremantle’s original buildings which are still standing.
Today the Port of Fremantle, completed in 1897 by CY O'Conner, is an efficient and modern container handling facility, the main entry port for Western Australia, an important landing destination for goods destined for the eastern states and a popular stop over for cruise ships and visiting naval vessels, especially the US Navy. Fremantle was a major naval base during the latter stages of the 2nd world war and had more than 130 submarines, mostly American, operating from the inner harbour.
In addition to the port, there is a boat harbour for a substantial fishing fleet and surrounded by all of the maritime services needed to support the fleet, several large recreational boating harbours (that hosted yachts for the Americas Cup challenge in 1987) and a small boat building industry. In recent years two significant historical replica ships were built here - the HMS Endevour and the Dyfkin (the first Dutch vessel to chart the Australian coastline in 1666).
During the year there are two important community events, the Blessing of the Fleet in October and the Fremantle Festival in November.
The bottom line is: When visiting Perth in Western Australia, why would anyone stay anywhere else but in Fremantle? If you don't stay in Fremantle, what do you do after 6pm and where do you go at the weekend? These are the questions you will get from the locals.