Fremantle Ports

Fremantle, Western Australia | C.1964

Photo Credit: @hannahsorrell_

The Fremantle Inner Harbor is a port at the at the mouth of Swan river that opens into the Indian Ocean in Fremantle, Australia. The port has significant history for Australia’s indigenous people as it was a large provider of essential resources. In more recent years, the port has played a large role in the development of Western Australia and was an important location during wartime.

Fremantle Ports’ Administration Building was designed by architects Hobbs, Winning and Leighton and construction was started by A T Brine and Sons Ltd in 1963. Officially opened on March 5, 1964, it is now known as the Fremantle Port Authority and acts as the operational hub of Western Australia’s principal general cargo port.

The Fremantle Harbor Master position dates back to 1829 when the position was created. The controlling body of the Fremantle Harbour Trust was established in 1903 with five commissioners appointed by various governing bodies. For over 60 years the Harbour Trust governed the port until November 1964, when it was replaced by the newly established Fremantle Port Authority.

The Fremantle Port authority was erected to accommodate staff in a more efficient manner. Before the 11-story building was erected, people were living in eight buildings located around the wharf. The building’s architecture was a radically modern twist to the ports original image and operational styles.

The building style is described as Post War International. The structure comprises of a rectangular footprint, utilizing industrial building materials of glass, steel and concrete, curtain walls, windows in horizontal bands and minimal ornamentation. One of several interesting architectural features is a folded roof of pre-stressed concrete panels over the ground floor podium – a first of its kind in Australia at the time.

The authority is now known as Fremantle Ports, as created under the Western Australian Port Authorities Act 1999. On average, $3.4 million in trade passes through the port every hour of every day, making it one of the most active ports in Australia.

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