Fremantle Stuff > Ewers

John K. Ewers 1971, The Western Gateway: A History of Fremantle, Fremantle City Council, with UWAP, rev. ed. [1st ed. 1948].



This revised edition of The Western Gateway can be warmly commended both as a commemoration of the centenary of local government in Fremantle and as a contribution to the study of Australian history.

The original edition published in 1948 and the pioneer account of the city by J. K. Hitchcock have long been valued by those who are lucky enough to have copies of them. This edition will be doubly welcome for making a good history more widely available and for adding to the story some account of the remarkable progress of the past quarter of a century.

During recent years a very useful contribution to the understanding of the Australian past has been made by the publication of local histories in all parts of the Commonwealth, many of them as a result of original research by skilled authors. So much of our national history has its roots in local achievement and in successive local adjustments to new conditions and new opportunities. This book will take a worthy place with others on the growing shelf of local history.

To read the story of Fremantle since 1829 is to open a doorway into the history of the western third of the continent. Here the colony was proclaimed and settlement began. Through successive decades of exploration and development, the records of the port of Fremantle tell the story of whaling, the sandalwood trade, the settlement of the North-West, wool, wheat, timber, the gold-rush and commercial and industrial growth. Here, too, were seen the departure and return of expeditionary forces in two world wars. The city played its part in the foundation and growth of many social, economic and political movements that helped to make Western Australia what it is today. The place of Fremantle in shipping has grown to one of national importance, making it indeed the western gateway of Australia.

As I was born at Fremantle, have been a friend of the author since schooldays, and am a besotted collector of local history, the writing of this foreword is a personal pleasure as well as an official privilege.

3 May 1971

Government House Canberra

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