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Leake Street

George Leake (1786-1849) was a wealthy landowner in the Swan River Colony and a store keeper in Fremantle. He was the first resident Magistrate of Fremantle in 1839, and the uncle of Sir Luke Leake and George Walpole Leake.

Leake Street, in the West End of Fremantle, is one block long, running between Market and Pakenham Streets, with only the Princess Theatre building and the former Terminus/Pearlers Hotel remaining on the northern side (with Terminus parking between).

Lot Numbers

I'm guessing that, on the north side of Leake Street, the Princess Chambers part of the Princess Theatre complex is on Lots 127 and 126, and the cinema auditorium part is on Lots 125 and 124. Lots 123 and 122 are now private parking, while the former Pearlers/Terminal hotel building occupies Lots 121 and 120.
On the south side of Leake Street, it looks as though Lot 401 is occupied by shops and offices: Peggy's Sandwiches is on the corner, at 35 Market Street; Allegro Pty Ltd (Lot 402?) is in a new building at 15 Leake Street; Lot 403 is the rear of the former NAB (currently Fremantle Police Station: it is 88 High Street at the front); Marine House appears to be on part of Lot 404; the remainder of Lot 404 and all of Lot 405 are a terrace of dwellings called Olympia, at '7-11 Leake Street' according to the sign on the building; Lot 406 is vacant, and Lots 407 and 408 are occupied by the PS Art Studio and Gallery, at 22 Pakenham Street, in the former ShipStores building.

Lots 403-405 were occupied by the Olympia Roller Skating Rink (given the housing terrace its name) from 1909. According to David Coppock, it opened 11 December 1909 and closed 4 October 1913.

The southern side currently has the original building of Port School, the back door of the temporary police station (formerly a branch of the National Australia bank, in High Street), and Marine House, plus a terrace of new dwellings called Olympia.

Historian J. K. Hitchcock stayed in Leake Street in his first night in Fremantle in 1869 when he was thirteen years old. Here, writing in 1919, he describes the street in 1869:

In Leake-street the principal building was the old Race Horse Hotel, which stood just opposite where Mannering and Co.’s printery now is. The other buildings consisted of a number of cottages on each side of the street, which were built in the very early days. As time went on these tenements fell into a state of disrepair and consequently attracted only an inferior class of tenant, so that eventually the reputation of the locality stood little higher than that of the Old Establishment Yard [Marine Terrace between Collie and Essex Streets, now the site of the Esplanade Hotel], where vice and squalor were rampant. As a matter of fact, it is not so many years since a band of larrikins inhabiting this quarter earned an unenviable notoriety for their misdeeds, and were known far and wide as the ‘Leake-street Push.’ All but one of these old cottages have now disappeared from the landscape and the solitary survivor presents a striking contrast to the big brick building which now overshadows it.

The (1920s) photo of Mulligan's Providoring Company in Leake Street appears on page 197 of Old Fremantle. The source is given as 'Fremantle Providoring, Poore'. The extant two-storey building is now called Marine House. (There is another Marine House at 1 Essex Street.)

There are two panoramic photos of the northwestern corner of Fremantle CBD taken from the Town Hall, one in 1893 (or 1891 SLWA) and one in 1899, which give some idea of the development in Leake Street during that time.

This photo (dated 1893 by the Library) shows the corner of Market and Leake Streets in the bottom righthand corner. The copy above is actually from Hitchcock's 1929 History, as it is clearer. (Hitchcock's caption dates the photo as 1876!) The Library's caption reads, in part: Reference number: 4821. General notes: View of the town and the river bar in 1890s. Manning's Folly is in the right background and the jetty in the centre.
The Terminus Hotel is clearly visible at the Pakenham Street end of Leake Street, with its verandah on the upper floor. The largest building in the street, on the south (left) side would be the Fremantle Providoring Company, later called Marine House. The Race Horse Inn must be one of the buildings towards the Market Street end of Leake Street.
The sign on the corner building proclaims that it is the premises of John Jarvis, greengrocer and fruiterer.

This photo, one part of a Nixon & Merilees 1899 panorama shows less of the buildings on the north side of Leake Street, as they are obstructed by Imperial Chambers (1896) in Market Street and some large warehouses on the south side of Leake Street. The photo is from the City Library archive, no. 1753D, with this information: Fourth in a series of six photos which form a panorama of Fremantle. High Street, ending in the Round House and the Light House is at the left, with the National Hotel and the long facade of Imperial Chambers extending across to the right. On the right of Olivers (demolished for the Princess Theatre, 1912) is the Biddles Building. The harbour (1897) and North Mole is in the background.
The signage on the corner shop on Lot 127 tells us that Oliver was a tailer, who could make you a bespoke suit for 50/- (fifty shillings - A$5).

References and Links

Dowson, John 2003, Old Fremantle: Photographs 1850-1950, 2nd ed. 2004, UWAP.

Medcalf, Margaret, 1967, bio of George Leake in ADB.

Historical Panoramas: Curtin/SLWA site.

Cinema Treasures.

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Garry Gillard | New: 30 December, 2018 | Now: 18 November, 2023