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Convict-Built Walls on Alma Street

There is no surviving convict-built wall along Alma Street. However, there are plans and photographs that show walls.

Fremantle Library image #3743, c. 1930, with this caption: Jessie Thompson and her mother walking across the old Alma Street cemetery site, now South Terrace Primary School. The Fremantle Hospital nurses quarters (the Balding Nurses Home) demolished in 1999, are in the right background.
When the photo is enlarged, a wall can be seen extending the full length of that part of Alma Street which is behind the figures. A man (wearing trousers) can be seen walking along the street. He is much shorter than the height of the wall.

The nurses quarters building (named for Matron Balding) on the right side of the photo was on the NW corner of Attfield Street. There is another photo of the building that shows the wall terminating at its western wall.

From 1850, Alma Street formed the southern boundary of the Convict Establishment, with Henry Wray's residence on the corner with South Terrace, the western boundary. There was probably a convict-built wall running up to at least Attfield Street, if not Hampton Road, but there is no longer any trace. I just walked the length of it to check. However, there is the end of a convict wall at the Alma Street corner with Attfield Street – or what used to be Attfield Street before it became an internal hospital access road (which you can still drive up and down).

This is the Alma Street end of a convict-built wall which used to extend up what was formerly Attfield Street to Fothergill Street. It now terminates about one-third of the way up.

The only stone walls on Alma Street now are modern, like this one outside the mental health unit which is on the corner with Hampton Road. The secure locked ward wall section may be seen there.

References and Links

A sewerage map (originally drawn c. 1914) – & SROWA_series634_cons4156_item2057 – of the hospital and what was then the Immigrants Home (i.e. the Barracks) shows the convict-built wall still in position and continuous, except where there is an opening for an entrance, such as the one giving access to what would have been the drive up to The Knowle. I can't show a copy of the map because it's enormous.


Garry Gillard | New: 4 August, 2023 | 20 August, 2023