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North Fremantle

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North Fremantle, originally part of Fremantle, broke away in October 1895 to become an independent municipality. The first mayor of North Fremantle was Daniel Keen Congdon. The two municipalities were reunited by an order of the Governor in Executive Council as from 1 November 1961. Wikipedia page for City of Fremantle.

The main impetus for the early development of North Fremantle was the arrival of the convict ships from 1850 and with them the Pensioner Guards. Land was provided for the Pensioner Guards in North Fremantle. In 1851, Captain J[ohn] Bruce, commanding officer of the Guards, was granted 150 acres in North Fremantle. The land was surveyed and small allotments were granted to members of the Guard. By 1862, 21 Pensioner Guard cottages had been constructed in North Fremantle, making it the first Pensioner Guard village in Western Australia. Significant public works soon followed the arrival of the convicts. Among these was the quarrying and levelling of the Fremantle-Perth Road and the construction of the first Fremantle traffic bridge in 1866. This opened up the Fremantle area allowing for daily trips to take place from Fremantle to Perth. Heritage Council.

North Fremantle originally formed part of the north ward of Fremantle, but having regard to its geographical position, the ratepayers of that district considered that they would fare better by forming a separate municipality. Accordingly that portion of the ward lying on the north of the river seceded from the parent body and was gazetted a municipality in 1895. Hitchcock: 94.

... following a petition from the mayor and councillors of North Fremantle and the City of Fremantle, the two municipalities were united by an order of the governor in Executive Council as from 1 November 1961. Ewers: 179.

In the fifties [1850s] the greater part of North Fremantle east of where the railway bridge now [1929] stands was granted free to Colonel Bruce and members of the enrolled pensioner force, the land to the west having been previously taken up by William Pearse, who kept a dairy in that locality. Hitchcock: 27.

Heavy floods occurred in June and July of that year [1862], which was always spoken of by old residents as ”the year of the flood.” The Swan River overflowed its banks to such an extent that all the low lying land at North Fremantle was submerged and residents had to leave their houses, which, in some cases, were flooded up to the roof. Much damage was done to the property and flotsam of every description, including dead cattle, etc., came down the river and was swept over the bar. Hitchcock: 45.

[In 1864] ... the first pile of the traffic bridge over the Swan River at North Fremantle was driven. Hitchcock: 48.

October 2nd of that year [1867] saw the opening of the North Fremantle traffic bridge. That was built by convict labour, the stone for the approaches being quarried by the chain gang. Previously both passengers and vehicles were conveyed across the river by ferry boats worked by convicts . "Moondyne Joe," the famous gaol-breaker , claimed to have been the first man to cross the bridge on the day it was opened, he having escaped from prison the previous night . The bridge was originally a camel-back structure being so built in order to permit sailing lighters to pass under it. It was cut down to its present height and strengthened when it became necessary for the trams to cross the river, the need for the great height having disappeared when the low level railway bridge was built and steam lighters had replaced the sailing craft. Hitchcock: 52.

On July 23 [1925] a sensation was created by the collapse of the Fremantle railway bridge caused by a washaway of the sandy embankment at its northern end. Fortunately it occurred at an hour when few trains were running. As it was, the transport service between Fremantle and Perth and inland places was paralysed for many months while temporary repairs to the bridge were being effected. Undue strain was placed upon the road bridge, over which all goods and passengers had to be carried to and from the North Fremantle railway station, which had become the terminus for the time being. Hitchcock: 85.

Soon afterwards [1906] an arrangement was made with the North Fremantle Council under which the board undertook to supply that municipality with electric light and power, the North Fremantle Council to convey the current to its customers within its borders. During the second year of operations the question was raised of the extension of the tramway system to North Fremantle and in that connection the North Fremantle Council again preferred to be a customer rather than a partner in the scheme, and opened negotiations for laying down its own system. That line was opened for traffic on September 30, 1908. Hitchcock: 95.

William Pearse came to the colony with one of the 1829 contingents of settlers, and was a member of the first Town Trust in Fremantle. His eldest son, William Silas, was the first chairman of the council in 1871, and also represented the town in Parliament. Another son, George, was a member of the Town Council and later of the Municipal Council, as was also the youngest son, James, who later was a mayor of North Fremantle. Hitchcock: 105.

[before 1929] ... North Fremantle has of recent years become an industrial hive of superphosphate works, soap factories, oil storage depots, large tanning and boot factory, flour mills, the State Implement Works, and Ford Motor Works, and lesser but important business undertakings. Hitchcock: 114.

In 2016-17 there was a movement in part of North Fremantle to break away from Fremantle to join the Town of Mosman Park.
Excerpt from Fremantle Society website 2 October 2017, blog entry by president John Dowson:
There is currently another push from North Fremantle residents to secede from Fremantle. A previous effort to secede just a small area near Mosman Park failed, but now there is a much more ambitious plan, which seeks to take all of North Fremantle except Fremantle Ports land into an amalgamation with Mosman Park.
The mayor of Mosman Park Ron Norris had a meeting with seven of the group a couple of weeks ago. Mosman Park has accepted the idea in principle, and the Fremantle Society has been told by the mayor and the secessionist side that the concern from locals revolves around dissatisfaction with Fremantle Council in general and specific concerns about foreshore and insurance issues.
The North Fremantle group have not made the secession an election issue, because they want nothing to do with Fremantle Council.

References and Links

Hitchcock, JK 1929, The History of Fremantle, The Front Gate of Australia 1829-1929, Fremantle City Council.

Dowson, John 2017, blog entry, Fremantle Society website 2 October (by the President - above)

Wynne, Emma 2015, 'North Fremantle: Unusual history of industrial hub in the suburbs', 720 ABC Perth, 7 August.

Sunday Times, North Fremantle: Importance as an industrial centre, 28 May 1933.

North Fremantle Heritage Refresh Project.

North Fremantle Foreshore Management Plan.

Wikipedia page for North Fremantle.

Rocky Bay Heritage Trail.

Swan River, North: my happy snaps

Garry Gillard | New: 29 May, 2015 | Now: 12 January, 2024