Theatres/Venues 7a: Perth & Fremantle


Fremantle mapEstablished in 1829, and named after Captain Charles Fremantle, the English naval officer who had pronounced possession of the Swan River Colony (later to become Western Australia), Fremantle is situated at the mouth of the Swan River some 20 kilometres south-west of the state capital, Perth. The traditional owners of the land on which the city resides are the Whadjuk Noongar people. One of the first buildings erected was a gaol in 1830. Known as the Round House it is the oldest building still standing in the state. It was not until 1850, however, that the first convicts arrived, with the object being to boost the small population as much as it was to help construct infrastructure. More than 9,000 convicts followed up until 1868. Significant events during the late-1800s included the opening of the Perth-Fremantle railway (1881) and the Town Hall (1887) as well as the deepening of the town’s harbour (completed in 1897).

Fremantle MontageImages: L – Bathers Bay (now Bathers Beach), ca. 1870 (State Library of Western Australia). R – High Street, looking east from the railway line, ca. 1901 (Fremantle City Library).



Princess Theatre - Fremantle(1912-1969) 29-33 Market Street

Built for retired master pearler, Captain, Frank Biddes, the 1,850 seat Princess Theatre was opened on 21 December 1912 by the Fremantle Mayor, and with a program of films and singing by Elsie McGuire. Although it operated largely as a cinema during its lifetime the Princess was occasionally used for other entertainments, including vaudeville. During the war years for example, it was jointly operated by West Pictures and the Brennan-Fuller vaudeville circuit. In 1915 the basement was used to provide amenities for military personal. This helped set in motion the Returned Services League (R.S.L.) movement.

Image: Princess Theatre, 1927. Source: Organ Society of Western Australia.



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Published on April 18, 2014 at 1:29 am  Comments Off on Theatres/Venues 7a: Perth & Fremantle