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Sailors Rest

Now Port Lodge, Notre Dame University ND#12, 28 Marine Terrace.

The Sailors Rest was founded mainly through the efforts of Rosa Henriques Smith (who is called only by her husband's name in many of the contemporary reports below). It was established in practice before the building of that name was made available, in 1892, at the Masonic Hall, only two doors away. See below for the report of the opening ceremony.

The foundation stone of the Sailors' Rest in Marine Terrace was laid by Sir John Forrest on 9 October 1899. The building comprised a large hall with seating accommodation for 150 persons, separate apartments and sitting rooms for officers and men and private quarters for the missioner. It was designed to provide opportunities for seamen to spend their leisure hours in comfortable and wholesome surroundings. It was founded mainly through the efforts of the late Mrs. T. W. Smith [Rosa Henriques Smith]. Hitchcock 1929: 77.

Port Lodge, 28 Marine Terrace, is now a student residence. This was once Rosa Henriques Smith's Sailors Rest. The building complex is much larger than this facade suggests. The former Co-op Bookshop building (in 2021 Le Bistrot Cafe) adjoins to the east, on the corner of Henry Street and Marine Terrace.

The small building centre and right was for some years the Co-op Bookshop, 30 Marine Terrace, in effect Notre Dame's bookshop. It is built like a lean-to against the eastern wall of Port Lodge, and with the same ND building number as Port Lodge, ND12. It is on the corner of Henry Street. In an undated (early 1900s?) photo held by RWAHS (P222) both buildings have the same sign: British Sailors Society.

The building behind the Rest, on the left of the photo, is the Masonic Hall where the Rest was first established, renting some rooms before its own building was built in 1900.

In 2021 the addition to the Sailors Rest is Le Bistrot Cafe.

Western Mail, 22 October 1892: 23:
An important development of charitable inclination on the part of the public of Fremantle, was inaugurated on Thursday week, at the Masonic. Hall, Fremantle, when the "Sailors' and Strangers' Rest," an institution organised in connection with the Women's Christian Temperance Union, was opened by Mrs. Hensman. The inaugural meeting was presided over by Mr. Justice Hensman, and a very large attendance filled the hall.
The chairman spoke in glowing terms upon the object of the movement and complimented the women (which he thought was a better word than ladies) on the progress that they had made. He wished them every success in their work, and Mrs. Hensman in a few suitable words declared the rooms open.
"The Rest " comprises three large rooms on the ground floor of the Masonic Buildings, Marine Parade, taken by the members of the W.C.T.U. The rooms are very comfortably furnished and present a most homelike appearance: They will be open daily from 8 a.m. till 11 p.m. free, and there will be a caretaker constantly in charge, from whom a cup of coffee or tea and roll can be obtained at any hour at a nominal charge. There is an abundance of useful and entertaining literature, together with the daily newspapers, and all kinds of games, the object of the Rest being to provide a comfortable and profitable resort for men of all classes. These are cordially invited to partake of its hospitality as well as sailors and seafaring men frequenting the port. During the evening prayer was offered by Rev. Mr. Hanlin. Mr. Traylen in an address spoke of the amount of good accomplished by Miss Ackerman during her stay in the colony.
The Rev. Mr. Bird and the Rev. Mr. Matthews arrived during the proceedings, and apologised for not having been able to attend earlier, owing to prior engagements. An entertaining programme was gone through by several well-known local amateurs, and refreshments were provided during the interval. Altogether a most enjoyable evening was passed, and the company dispersed, wishing the ladies who have undertaken the work every success in their labour of love.
The usual Saturday night temperance meeting, which has hitherto been held in the Protestant Hall, will take place at the Masonic Buildings this evening, and in the future will always be held there.

Western Mail, 8 April 1898: 54:
A philanthropic institution, which does much good, in an unostentatious way, is the Sailors' Rest at Fremantle, and with it the name of Mrs. T. W. Smith will always be associated, Ever since the inception of the institution, six years ago, Mrs. Smith has devoted much of her time and energy to the cause of those who "go down to the sea in ships." It was only by desperate exertions that the institution survived the first struggle for existence, but Mrs. Smith heartily took up the work and eventually seedling planted by the Women's Christian Temperance Union flourished so well, that in two years' time the Best became self-supporting. The first branch of the W.C.T.U. in Western Australia was formed in July, 1892, by Miss Jessie Ackerman, the then Australian President, and one of the departments of labour at once taken up by the members was that of work amongst sailors. Rooms were procured at the Masonic Hall, in Marine-terrace, and the rent, which was 30s. a week, was guaranteed by thirty ladies. At that time the ships trading to the port were few and far between, and it was decided therefore to use the Rest as a home for strangers as well as sailors.
Upon the formation of the Union, popular weekly concerts were inaugurated at Fremantle, and held every Saturday night at the Protestant Hall. Subsequently these entertainments were transferred to the Sailors' Rest, and, as no charge was made for admission, the hall was crowded on almost every occasion, and the objects of the Rest were thus brought more prominently before the public. By the aid of subscriptions raised in the town and by Captain Talboys, of the s.s. Australind, and Captain T. W. Smith, then of the Customs schooner Meda, Mrs. Smith was enabled to comfortably furnish the rooms allotted her by the Masonic bodies. Newspapers, books, and games were procured and the income of the Rest was increased by the establishment of a refreshment stall. The place soon became a resort for the apprentices on the sailing vessels, and new arrivals at the Port, when the rush to the goldfields set in, also looked upon the Rest as a boon, for there a welcome was always extended to them by Mrs. Smith and her band of co-workers. " In 1894, the Rest received a slight impetus through the instrumentality of the Rev. R. Hanlin, of the Scots' Church, Fremantle. That gentleman, being a vice-president of the British and Foreign Sailors' Society, brought the claims of the Fremantle Rest under the notice of that body when on a visit to England, with the result that the British and Foreign Sailors' Society donated the sum of £10 per annum towards the funds of the institution. The weekly concerts have been carried on uninterruptedly for a period of five and a-half years, and the collections taken up average something like 25s. a week. The funds have been augmented on occasions by bazaars and so forth, and in the organisation of these entertainments Mrs. Smith has received valued assistance from a number of Fremantle ladies who take a deep interest in the welfare of the Rest. Prominent among these ladies are Mesdames Ferguson, Young, and Trease, and Misses Smart, Back and Young. The total expenses of the Rest amount to about £150 a year.
The scope of the Rest having become considerably enlarged by the expansion of the shipping trade of the port, Mrs. Smith is finding her efforts seriously handicapped by the limited accommodation at her disposal. Some time ago a piece of land adjoining the present building in Marine Terrace was reserved by the Commissioner of Crown Lands for a Sailors' Home, but the funds required before a start can be made with the erection of the building have not .come to hand so freely as was anticipated. The total subscriptions raised so far amount to £200 14s. 11d., and as it is proposed to erect a Home which will cost something like £2,000, Mrs. Smith has set herself no light undertaking to accomplish. The energetic superintendent of the Rest, however, recognises the truth of the saying, " Where there's a will there's a way," and it is her intention to borrow the money and proceed with the erection of the building at an early date. She relies on the benevolence of the public to repay the loan. The Home, when completed, will be equal to any similar institution in the Eastern colonies, and it will he well worthy of the chief port of the colony. It is to be constructed of stone, with ornamental brick facings: On the ground floor there will be a concert hall, reading and writing rooms, a refreshment bar, dining room and kitchen. The upper storey will be devoted chiefly to bedrooms. It is imperative that the work should be undertaken as quickly as possible, as Mrs. Smith has already received notice from the Masonic bodies to quit the present apartments, as the rooms are required for lodge purposes. Western Mail, 8 April 1898: 54.

Heritage Council:
Statement of Significance
The place has social and historic significance as a building erected to provide a rest home for sailors and for associations with the Women's Christian Temperance Union. The place has aesthetic significance as an unusual example of a building in the Federation Arts and Crafts style that has probably been extensively altered.
Physical Description
Two storey rendered building with a zincalume hipped roof behind the highly bracketed parapet and pediment. A recessed central bay containing the main entrance of the building rises above the parapet. There are two arched windows in the west side of the façade with multi-paned fanlights and sided by pairs of small engaged columns, windows in the east side are probably not original. Visual inspection suggests that the building has been extensively altered.
The Sailors' Rest home came about because of the efforts of Mrs T. Smith, a member of the Fremantle branch of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). Land was demanded from the government, and the building was constructed with funds raised by public subscription. The foundation stone was laid by Sir John Forrest on 9 October 1899. W. A. Nelson, Architect, T. Game, Builder. Later owned by British Sailors' Society Fremantle Branch. Brick additions 1942 by Allen & Nicholas Architects. The façade and windows were changed in 1958, and brick additions built along Croke Lane by Cameron Chisholm & Nicol. Currently (2002), Port Lodge, Notre Dame University.

References, Links, Acknowledgement

Wendy & Ari Antonovsky have notes about Rosa Smith in their Heritage Walk, from which the top image is derived: thank you.

Thanks to Ausstage researcher Sean Weatherly for a couple of the links.

Inquirer and Commercial News, Friday 13 October 1899: 12: report of the laying of the foundation stone.

Western Mail, 8 April 1898: 54.

Heritage Council entry.

See also: W.O. Mason.

See also the entry for this building on the Notre Dame page, which has additional information.

Fremantle blogger Roel Loopers wrote this welcome to Le Bistrot.

A significant performer at the Sailors Rest was Raithes. See Brendan Kelly's 2023 article for details.

Garry Gillard | New: 11 August, 2015 | Now: 17 August, 2023