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Town Lot 81

NE corner of High and Henry Streets, where the Marich Building (1897) is now to be found. Also on the eastern part of the lot are Bill Campbell's bookshop and Five Stars Tattoos.

The original grantee of Lots 80 and 81 was William Rolfe Steele. He arrived in 1829 on the Lotus. He established one of the first four licensed premises, the South Seas Public House (Tuckfield), the name of which was changed to Royal Hotel by 1840. He established the Rose and Crown hotel at Guildford, before leaving the colony in 1852.

STEELE, William Rolfe, b. 1799, arr. 6.10.1829 per Lotus, m. Mary Ann PAVE b. 1803. Chd. Mary Anne b. 1830, William b. 1832, Sidney b. 1834, Amelia b. 1836, Alfred b. 1838, Emma b. 1841, Cora b. 1844 d. 1919. Publican "South Sea Hotel" Fremantle 1.1.1830. Licensee of "Royal Hotel" 1840 & "Rose & Crown" at Guildford 1846. Land & stock agent & made several voyages to Eastern colonies & Far East. Dep. per Louisa for Victoria.

Hitchcock (1919, describing 1869):
On the next corner of High and Henry streets (Saunders and Nathan’s) stood an old two-storied building, a bit back from the road, which had once been a hotel [the Royal Hotel]. At the time I speak of, it was occupied by a Mr. Thos. Buckingham who kept a butcher’s shop facing High-street, opposite the present¬†Union Stores.
Next to this was a little cottage, standing far back from the road, which was used as the first telegraph office (opened in 1869). The first telegraph operator was a Mr. Holman, and the late Mr. W.T. John was the first messenger. Mr. H.G. Stirling succeeded to the former position, and eventually became postmaster, a position which he relinquished in order to enter the ranks of journalism. He was succeeded by his brother, Mr. L.J. Stirling, now of York.

In the 1880s, the northeast corner of High and Henry was known as Albert's Corner, as Mr Albert had butcher and bakery shops here (Library).

In 2023, I think almost all of Lots 81, 80, and 79 are occupied by Steve Gorman's Marich Building, used partly for accommodation as Rialto Apartments. The eastern half of Lot 81 is currently occupied by Bill Campbell's bookshop (previously the Empire Fruit Palace) and the Five Star Tattoo Parlour (which was previously in the Manning Arcade).

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.

Tuckfield, Trevor 1971, 'Early colonial inns and taverns', Early Days: Journal and proceeedings of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society, 7, 3: 65-82; Part 2, 7, 7: 98-106.

Garry Gillard | New: 6 December, 2022 | Now: 13 November, 2023