The Fremantle Roundhouse is the oldest public building in the State of Western Australia. Opened in January 1831, just 18 months after settlement, was built to hold any person convicted of a crime in the settlement. It was in service as a gaol until 1886.

After it ceased being used as a gaol it became a Police Lock-up until the late 1890s and then was used as accommodation for the Water Police. Afterwards it was used as a storage facility for Fremantle Ports. When threatened with demolition in the 1920s, it was saved and later control went to the State Government before it was deeded to the City of Fremantle.

Fremantle Roundhouse

Darren, Ivan and Andrew find some of the original colonial prisoners of the Fremantle Roundhouse have not yet left. Footsteps, voices and doors moving on their own are all captured.


The Round House was used for colonial and indigenous prisoners until 1886, when control of the Convict Establishment prison (now Fremantle Prison) was transferred to the colony. After that the Round House was used as a police lockup until 1900, when it became the living quarters for the chief constable and his family.

As early as 1903 its removal had been suggested; again in 1929 unsuccessful suggestions were made to remove the Round House.

In 1936 it was vested in the Fremantle Harbour Trust for preservation. A number of suggestions were put forth, including turning it into a museum, but these plans were interrupted by World War II.

In 1966 the Port Authority opened the building to the public for two hours per day. Later, this attraction was run by the Western Australian Historical Society. The building was transferred to the City of Fremantle in 1982 and has been open daily since then.