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Richard Rennie

rennieRichard Rennie (1870-1936) was a builder, who came to WA from Victoria in 1896. He was on the Town Council 1925-1936, and the Tramways Board, and also that of the Union Stores, and was a Rotarian.

According to Hutchison (Appendix 1), he built: Central Chambers, 1906, 61-63 High St; the Tramways building; Owston's Building, 1903, 9-23 High St; the National Hotel, 1895; five of the goods sheds on the wharf; Manning's Chambers, 1906, including the Majestic Theatre; the National Bank of Australasia; part of Beaconsfield Primary; the Bushells factory; and four houses between Stirling and Ord Sts. He also rebuilt the Swan Hotel, and completed the Fallen Sailors & Soldiers Memorial War Memorial on Monument Hill in 1928.

He was buried in the Anglican section of Fremantle Cemetery. Rennie Cresent, Hilton, is named after him. He was partnership for a period with Herbert Abbott.

References and Links

Hutchison, David, Fremantle Walks, from which I got the list of buildings constructed by Rennie, in Appendix 1.

Entry at, whence the photo. The Rennie family history is on that site. It's from there that we learn that 1896 is as close as anyone can get to establishing when Rennie arrived from Victoria. There's also a tentative list of what he built (including the buildings listed by Hutchison). It seems, from his note in the appendix, that David Hutchison got his information from the Rennie family, from a later Richard Rennie. ... I might as well republish the entire list from that site here:

It is hard to avoid printing merely a list of his known constructions since it is thought that members of the family should have access to every scrap of information found during the research undertaken.
Richard Rennie built a substantial number of buildings in Fremantle. However he also built in other parts of the metropolitan area as well as in the country. Information on a number of these constructions was supplied by either his son Richard Edward Rennie, his daughter Eleanor Valentine Rees, by his grand son Richard Edward Rennie, or was taken from newspaper clippings.
In partnership with a Mr.Hill he built the Narrogin to Wickepin Railway in 1908/9, and the Upper Chapman line to Naraling in 1909/10.)
He built a hotel at Beedon Point, and the first Raffles Hotel - an iron building - near Canning Bridge.
He also built the Moora Post office.
He was particularly proud of the successful construction of the water tower at the Claremont asylum and the fact that it did not leak at the first filling.
However it was in Fremantle where he left his mark. In partnership with a Mr. Abbott he built five of the huge goods sheds along Victoria Quay in Fremantle.
Abbott and Rennie also built Manning's Chambers opposite the Fremantle town hall. Both Richard and his son Richard Edward can be seen in a photograph of this building taken during its construction. From the latter's age the construction must date from about 1906.
A post card dated January 1 1907, on which is a photograph of High Street, indicates that by this date Richard had built seven buildings in that street; three of them were marked with crosses on the photograph. These were Fremantle Munciplal Tramways building 1 High St., Owstones Building (1903) 9-19 High St., and the National Hotel Cr High St. and Market St. which was his first big job.
He is said to have also built the National Bank in High Street, and Robert Harper's warehouse.
He built the Majestic Theatre in Hannan St. (now High St.) Fremantle. This building was later remodelled by his son Frank Rennie as a retail store for G.J. Coles but the iron grille on the first floor balconies still bears the letters M.T. for Majestic Theatre.
According to his son, Richard built a brick section (3 or 4 rooms on the west side) of the Beaconsfield Primary School.
In Hamilton Hill he built the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall at a cost of 2000 pounds. The foundation stone was laid on March 21, 1925 by the then governor Sir William Campion.
At a cost of £30 000 he built the three story Bushells Ltd factory and warehouse in Queen Victoria St. Fremantle, now demolished.
He built a pavillion at the Kings Park Tennis Club, with his son Frank Rennie later building a second pavillion.
It is said he built a number of the houses he lived in, including four on the block between Stirling and Ord Streets Fremantle.
Although he only finished the project, which was started by another builder, he is most often identified with the building of the Fremantle War Memorial in 1928. His son Frank Rennie later added the four matching lights around the memorial.
He rebuilt the Swan Hotel in North fremantle in 1922.
Because records of his building activities are difficult to locate, it is almost certain that this list is very incomplete.

Garry Gillard | New: 18 June, 2016 | Now: 24 July, 2021