Warders’ Cottages, Fremantle

Fremantle’s Warders’ Cottages presented a unique challenge to adapt these 1850s convict-built terraces for contemporary uses.

The State heritage-listed cottages were built more than 165 years ago to house prison warders employed at the Convict Establishment, now known as the World Heritage-listed Fremantle Prison.

Located in Henderson Street next to the Fremantle Markets, the cottages are a highly visible and important part of Fremantle’s CBD.

The three sets of terrace housing, occupying 3,544 square metres, continued to be used by warders up until the Prison’s closure in 1991. The cottages were then purchased by the Department of Housing for public housing.

In 2011, the Department of Housing determined that the cottages were no longer suitable for its tenants.

The Heritage Council of WA assumed ownership of the cottages in 2015 and commenced conservation of these cottages so they will once again contribute to the vibrancy of central Fremantle.

The State Government has invested $3.3m in the restoration of the cottages which has involved the removal of paint from the external limestone walls, allowing the stone to breathe and dry out. The structural integrity of the cottages has been restored through the overhaul of onsite drainage and the refurbishment of important joinery, door and window frames.

The cottages are suitable for private residential use, but can also be sensitively adapted into small offices or other commercial premises.

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (formerly the State Heritage Office) acknowledges the generous support from Smeg Australia, Living Edge and Mossenson Galleries in the quality fit-out and furnishing of the display Warders’ Cottage at 17 Henderson Street, Fremantle.

Page last reviewed 1 July 2019
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