Fremantle Prison

You peer through the door into a cell and see a tiny room furnished with nothing but a backless stool, tiny table, and hammock serving as a bed. Your kids glance at you, wide-eyed and solemn-faced, as the guide leads you into a grim, bare excercise yard surrounded by high fences. You see an execution room with the hangman’s noose dangling ready, a whipping post and solitary confinement cells. But you also see amazing artwork some of the prisoners have painstakingly painted onto their walls. This is an astoundingly real and evocative glimpse into history and another side of life.

Contact details

1 The Terrace, Fremantle; (08) 9336 9200

Price range

FREE ENTRY TO GATEHOUSE AND VISITOR CENTRE; GUIDED TOUR PRICES MID-RANGE TO HIGH COST

Don't Miss

■ The Tunnels Tour (high cost) – a real adventure that includes paddling a replica convict punt through underground tunnels. The minimum age is 12 years.

Fabulous Facts

The first British colonies in Australia were built by convicts who cleared land, worked the farms and constructed buildings. Settlers in the Swan River Colony (now Perth and Fremantle) tried to manage without convicts, but failed. The fi rst shipment of convicts was sent to Western Australia in 1850. The new arrivals lived in temporary accommodation and constructed their own prison, which opened in 1855. These are the buildings you see today.

Insider Tips

■ The only way to experience the full prison is to take a guided tour, but you can see the prison gatehouse, find out some of the history of the prison and see some artefacts of punishment in the visitor centre.

■ There are several tours on offer. The one described above is the Doing Time Tour, which runs every half hour and takes about just over an hour.
 
■ The Great Escapes Tour, which runs hourly, is another popular tour. There are discount prices if you do both tours.
 
■ The eerie Torchlight Tour is available in the evening, but the minimum recommended age is 10 years.
 
■ Try to go at a quiet time, such as early in the morning, as it is difficult to see the exhibits properly in large groups.
 
■ Audio guides are available for the guided tours, if required, in Japanese, French, German, Korean and Mandarin.

See Also

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