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  • Writer's pictureAlison Fenton

Fremantle - more than a footy team

Updated: May 25, 2020

26 May 2018

The only thing I really knew about Fremantle was that it had a football team. But there was so much more to it than that. The heritage buildings really stood out - so impressive - and I'm not a heritage fanatic.

We decided to tackle Fremantle by public transport. It was an easy commute. The Fremantle train station was close to the docks, High Street - think shops - and an easy distance to the markets.

We found Fremantle a very walkable city, but those who are less mobile will find plenty of buses to get around.

The Fremantle Markets were full of character. We found some interesting souvenirs, ate good Japanese food and then spent serious time pondering which fudge to buy from Original Fremantle Fudge.

Tip #1: The markets are definitely worth a visit. Let's just say the fudge should not be overlooked!

Once again we dodged the showers, but the wind was not as easy to escape. As we wandered the streets, we saw splashes of yellow ribbon on buildings and wondered what it was about. At first I thought someone had gone a bit crazy with a yellow paint can, but soon I realised it was everywhere.

When we visited the Round House, WA's first convict-built prison, the yellow ribbon art by Swiss artist Felice Varini, which had seemed so piecemeal at street level, all came together. Council authorities had extended the life of the art work, leaving it on 6 months longer than planned. This was good news for us, because we saw something incredibly clever, but bad news for the building owners, with the adhesive becoming too strong for easy removal.

Tip #2: You'll miss the artwork, but for a gold coin donation, the Round House is definitely worth a visit. Also check out the whalers tunnel underneath the building. It has some interesting history.

Sea-lovers will enjoy the Maritime Museum, where they can see the racing yacht Australia II and lots of other maritime exhibits.

I talked to the boys about watching the America's Cup yacht race on television and how excited everyone was about the Aussie win. The Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, in his delight, almost declared a public holiday. I bet his political advisers were very nervous!

Tip #3: The Maritime Museum was very good. Adults are $15 and kids under 16 are free. It starts to get pricey if you want to do a tour of the HMAS Ovens or if there are special exhibitions to see. I ended up paying extra for the kids to visit a pirate exhibition which was really more suitable for younger children, so check for age recommendations.

There was so much to see in Fremantle. You cannot escape the heritage of the place. It is impossible not to admire the historic buildings and we enjoyed just wandering the streets. At one stage we even found ourselves in the town hall, listening to the orchestra practice for a concert later that day. That was delightfully unexpected!

Tip #4: Do yourself a favour and allow at least a couple of days to explore Fremantle.

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