Fremantle Stuff > town lots

Town Lots 23 and 24

Cliff Street, between High Street and Croke Lane.

The earliest owners of Lots 23 and 24 recorded by Hitchcock (1929) were W. & P. Chidlow.

The building on the site in 2022 is the Lilly building, 34-42 Cliff Street, completed 1896, designed by architect Herbert Nathaniel Davis. There was a stone house on the site as early as 1844. Captain James Lillyacquired the property in 1880 and operated a business there. He was known as the 'Father of Western Australian Shipping', as he operated the first regular mail service between Western Australia and the other states, and was later manager of the Adelaide Steamship Service Company and co-founder of the Fremantle Gas and Coke Company. An earlier two-storey building was demolished to make way for the existing building in c. 1894. Lilly died in 1903 and the property was managed by his executors. The building was bought by the City of Fremantle in 1973, and demolition was scheduled. Public pressure from the Fremantle community and a National Trust of Australia (WA) covenant enabled it to be saved. It was bought by Peter Grace in 1977 and used as an art gallery for two years. Renovations for this purpose were carried out by Grace and architect Richard Longley. Part of the building is used for residential accommodation.

Hitchcock, writing in 1919, describing the eastern side of Cliff Street, south of High Street, as he remembered it was in 1869:
The corner now occupied by the Bank of New South Wales was vacant land, and next to it was the offices and store of Mr. Robert King, one of our earliest merchants. Of these only the store (which was later occupied by the W.A. Bank) now remains. The private residences of Messrs. King, Vincent, Dr. Shipton and others occupied the remaining space down to the Pier Hotel corner, which was then unbuilt upon. The only other buildings in the Cliff-street of that day were the Water Police Station and quarters at the corner of Marine-terrace ; these were practically rebuilt in later times, but were used for their original purposes until the recent disbandment of the water police, or rather, their amalgamation with the land forces.

References and Links

Fremantle History Centre. Look for the PDFs called:
Purchasers of Fremantle Town Lots 1829-1837
Purchasers of Fremantle Town Lots 1855-1879

Hitchcock, J.K. 1919, 'Early Days of Fremantle: High Street 50 Years Ago'Fremantle Times, one of a series of articles on 'Early Days of Fremantle' publ. 21 March - 20 June 1919.

streetsoffreo.com.au page for 18 Cliff Street.


Garry Gillard | New: 3 December, 2022 | Now: 14 December, 2022