The Round House
The Round House is the oldest public building in Western Australia and stands at the western end of High Street on Arthur Head, a high promontory overlooking Bathers Beach and the Indian Ocean. The Round House is part of the Arthur Head Arts Precinct.
The twelve-sided building was purpose-built as a gaol in 1831, 18 months after settlement of Fremantle and was used until 1886 to house locals who broke the law.
After it ceased being used as a goal it became a police lock-up until the late 1890’s and then used as accommodation for the Water Police and afterwards as a storage facility for Fremantle Ports.
Today visitors can take a tour of The Round House and imagine the hardships faced by convicts, prisoners and gaolers alike.
The tunnel below the Round House was built by the Fremantle Whaling Company in 1837 to allow the company easy access between Fremantle town and Bathers Beach.
A dropping time ball and sound signal were erected at The Round House in 1900 and was used each day at 1 pm to signal the correct time to navigators on ships entering Fremantle Harbour. While the procedure was discontinued in 1937, the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides now re-enact the ceremony and a member of the public may be invited to be the Honorary Gunnery Officer to fire the sound signal.
To find out more about The Round House and other Fremantle buildings take a Fremantle Ghostly Tram Tour. It runs every Friday night and includes a visit to The Round House, Fremantle Arts Centre and Fremantle Prison.
Open daily 10.30 am-3.30 pm
Subject to change, check website for details.
Entry by gold coin donation
Canon firing at 1 pm
360 degree views of Fremantle