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Oceania   >   Australia


Fremantle is a port on the western coast of Australia, facing out into the Indian Ocean. Often referred to as Freo, it's not just a suburb or outgrowth of Perth, but a city in its own right - it's where Western Australia got started. Later on the action moved upriver to Perth city centre, which meant that Fremantle missed a lot of modern development, and retained its charming character.

Fremantle has long been the first port of call in Australia for ships from Europe - by the Dutch in the 1600s then by the English from the early 1800s. At first it competed with Albany WA as a shipping port, then overtook it to become the premier west coast port, both as port-of-call and as definitive destination for the growing region. This brought a motley population of itinerants, workers and settlers, especially the convicts who from 1850 were transported here from England to ease a labour shortage, at a time when transportation had ceased elsewhere in Australia. Fremantle is therefore well endowed with historic buildings and streets redolent of that era, and the story is well-told in the museums and prison. This heritage escaped 20th-century demolition as the CBD moved up to central Perth. Nowadays it's protected, and facilities were especially spruced up for the 1987 Americas Cup yacht races.

Fremantle remains an important port for freight (especially minerals and livestock export) and is a frequent port of call for cruise ships. It's also the closest point for boat trips to Rottnest.

- Wikivoyage

Image by Mesut Kaya

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