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Fremantle Passenger Terminal open to public 15 November

Fremantle Ports is throwing open the doors to the Fremantle Passenger Terminal, a landmark building on Victoria Quay, on Sunday 15 November.

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  • Cruise
  • Published 15 Oct 2020
What: Fremantle Passenger Terminal Then and Now open day
Where: Fremantle Passenger Terminal, Peter Hughes Drive, Victoria Quay, Fremantle Port
When: 9am-2pm Sunday 15 November 2020
Free event, no bookings required
Free parking at terminal or 15-minute walk from Fremantle Train Station

Fremantle Ports is throwing open the doors to the Fremantle Passenger Terminal, a landmark building on Victoria Quay, on Sunday 15 November.

Fremantle Ports CEO Chris Leatt-Hayter said the terminal was a must-see for anyone interested in migrant history, cruise shipping, mid-century design and architecture, or art.

“We’ve had a number of requests over the years from people wanting to see where they or their parents first stepped onto land in Australia and relive what they saw.

“Architects, designers and art lovers have also wanted to see the terminal from the inside as it is an iconic building of architectural significance with artworks commissioned from famous Western Australian artist Howard Taylor.

“As we’ve done significant upgrading in recent years, people will see a heritage building in superb condition and we’re keen to show it to them.

Chris Leatt-Hayter said the building was still the largest cruise terminal in Australia.

“It features separate large spacious arrival and departure halls, timber parquetry and extensive use of Western Australian hardwood timbers, huge glassed areas and a balcony offering fantastic views of the working port.

“With the halt on cruise shipping in Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic*, we’ve taken the opportunity to share this building with the public.”

On the day, the public is invited to join a tour of the building and enjoy a range of activities, including a vintage-inspired fashion parade organised by St Pat’s Rack, photo and memorabilia displays, free vintage portraits by the Fremantle Camera Club, meeting the Harbour Master and seeing Australian Border Force detector dogs.

People are also encouraged to ‘come dressed for the era’ wearing clothes from the 1950s, 60s or 70s.

The modernist two-level Fremantle Passenger Terminal was designed in the post-war international style and built in two stages in 1960 and 1962.

It has significant historic and social value as it is associated with the hundreds of thousands of migrants who came through Fremantle in the 1960s and 70s as a result of post-World War II immigration.

The building and car park continue to operate as a cruise terminal and cargo-handling facility, mostly for the motor vehicle trade and imports of agricultural and industrial machinery.

*The Australian Government has directed that no cruise ships are to come to Australia until 17 December 2020.

Background information on the terminal

The modernist two-level Fremantle Passenger Terminal was designed in the post-war international style and built in two stages in 1960 and 1962. This style is characterised by simple, functional, largely unadorned structures with open spaces, large areas of glass and an emphasis on steel and concrete in the building materials. Architectural firm Hobbs, Winning and Leighton were the consulting architects for the terminal in association with the Fremantle Harbour Trust. The building is still the largest of its kind in Australia and at the time of being built was the only passenger terminal in Australia with two-berth capacity. It was built for dual-purpose usage with capacity for cargo handling as well as servicing passenger needs. The building features Western Australian artist Howard Taylor’s flora and fauna art works commissioned for the terminal.

The Fremantle Passenger Terminal was recorded in April 2000 in the Register of Heritage Places as a Permanent Entry by the Heritage Council of Western Australia. The building was assessed as having significance for its aesthetic value as a design reflecting the architectural styles and values of the 1950s and 1960s, its landmark qualities from both the landward and harbour sides and as a significant 20th Century feature of Victoria Quay. In terms of its historic and social value, the terminal’s association with the hundreds of thousands of migrants who came through Fremantle in the 1960s and 70s as a result of post-World War II immigration is seen as significant. The terminal has special importance as the site of first landfall and first impressions of Australia for new settlers. It is also associated with Frank Tydeman, General Manager of the Fremantle Harbour Trust from 1950-63. He initiated and directed the modernisation, mechanisation and containerisation of port facilities during the post-war mineral and immigration boom. Of heritage significance, too, is the social value of the Fremantle Passenger Terminal for its associations with holiday makers arriving aboard cruise ships.

The terminal has undergone significant upgrading in recent years, with the work respectful of the heritage significance of this Victoria Quay landmark as well as improving security and visitor amenity. A conservation plan prepared for Fremantle Ports by architect Ron Bodycoat was completed in 2001 and is being implemented in consultation with the Heritage Council of WA. Any work done to maintain or develop the building is required to be carried out in a way that does not diminish, destroy or conceal any of its significant elements.

Download the Fremantle Passenger Terminal 50 Years anniversary booklet.

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