I always thought that Fremantle was a suburb of Perth. Well, these days the whole area is one continuously built up conurbation – referred to as the greater Perth metropolitan area. But it is separate and it is very different.
Fremantle is famous for its well preserved architecture. This includes convict-built structures and hundreds of gold rush-era buildings. Often built in limestone with ornate façades the streetscapes off a stunning variety of architectural styles. Fremantle stands as one of the best example of British colonial (Victorian and Edwardian) architecture
A Little History
Fremantle and Perth were both founded in 1829 but as Fremantle is located at the mouth of the Swan River it became the port and was developed first. It is named after Charles Fremantle the captain of the ship dispatched by the British to start a colony on the west coast before the French made a move on the territory. This was a recurring theme in the geography and colonisation of the “new world” in those days of course.
The Fremantle colony struggled for its first two decades. Then the British decided to turn it into a penal colony – just as the convict era was coming to an end in the other states of Australia. Convenient that eh? Ship in an army of convicts to use as labour to build up a city and port. The other most obvious result was the building of Fremantle prison (see future blog post).
Fremantle was actually declared a city, in its own right, one hundred years later in 1929. Definitely worth a visit and (in my opinion) easily better than Perth city centre.
The Record Finder – A ‘Gold Mine’ of Vinyl
There are plenty of interesting shops in Fremantle but this one was my personal favourite. The Record Finder specialises in that old form of music reproduction – vinyl. There are plenty of other items on offer such as old magazines and comics. As well as posters and that newer forms of music – CDs. But – for me at least – that’s not even the best part…
Here they sell radiograms! Now, younger readers will not have a clue what a radiogram is, but I remember them well. My nana always used to have one. It is basically a record (vinyl) player, speakers and radio all built into the one unit. Usually (at least the ones I remember) with space to store your favourite vinyl albums/LPs. Check out the photos below. I love those things and really think they should make a comeback. Who knows? With so much vinyl records being pressed again radiograms may be the next big thing. And some of them are big!
You don’t even need to try hard to find it. It would actually be impossible to miss this place as it sits right on the High Street. At the heart of the architectural heritage. Every visitor will walk past it.
We visited Fremantle twice. Once right at the start of our WA adventure and then again for our last day before flying back east. On our 2nd visit I had a good old chat with the owner and was pleased to find out that the business is going well. Despite being closed down due to Covid restrictions for much of the past two years. What a great shop! If you fancy a bit of (relatively recent) retro musical history then The Record Finder is the shop you really must visit.
Inside this record collectors paradise…
For more information on this record shop check out: facebook.com/therecordfinderfremantle
More Views of Fremantle
The legendary, original singer of Aussie rock band AC/DC was born in Scotland and moved to Melbourne when he was six. But after four years he settled in Fremantle where there is now a statue in his honour.