Your guide to Freo in 60 seconds
I’ve lived on the east coast for roughly 20 years, but a part of me still remains in Perth’s port town of Fremantle. In fact, I can pinpoint exactly where I spent most of 1991 (or thereabouts): Ginos. It’s where my friends and I would table-hop for hours on end, attempting to solve the world’s problems between uni classes one latte at a time.
Freo has evolved into a sophisticated travel destination – here’s a taste of what it has to offer locals and visitors.
5 reasons to visit Fremantle Markets
Fremantle Markets is hands down one of the best destinations in Fremantle for locals and tourists, and one of the most well-known markets in Western Australia. Not only is it a leading source of independent wares and fresh produce but its history, vibrancy and community spirit captures the heart and soul of this beautiful port town. If you have never been, or need a reminder why it’s so great, the friendly folk at Freo markets share their top five reasons to visit.
The market is housed in a beautiful Federation Romanesque style, a particular style that refers to the heritage colonial architecture that was built around Australia from 1890-1915. During the 1970s, the market building underwent complete restoration by the Fremantle City Council, turning it from a packing and distribution centre into a heritage site.
Fremantle Markets was officially added to the Register of Heritage Places in November of 1975 and is considered to be one of our premier heritage buildings. The precinct, which includes the Sail & Anchor Hotel, the iconic Norfolk Hotel, the Warders Cottages and Scots Church, is also listed on the Commonwealth Government’s Heritage Commission Registrar of the National Estate.
Then Premier of Western Australia, Sir John Forrest, laid the foundation stone for the market on 6 November, 1897, with construction finishing in 1902 at a cost of £8268. The building functioned as a wholesale food and produce market until the 1950s, reflecting the eclectic and multicultural origins of the many migrants who came to the Port City of Fremantle. Today, it still reflects the area’s multicultural and migrant history, and is widely recognised as a leading local and tourist attraction in Western Australia with over 150 stalls, each one as unique as the next.
Fresh local produce and organic goods
There is a huge selection of local produce at Fremantle Markets, most of it sourced from local growers. There are many other fresh fruit and veggie sellers, as well as casual Farmers Market vendors. They even have an opera-singing fruit and veggie celebrity: Jack from Shun Yi, who has graced the Be Natural ad.
The Fremantle Markets Bar is an institution. The pub is a lively and sociable place to have a drink, and is usually a very popular hangout with the locals. It also offers great performances, music and entertainment, creating a real community hub.
Indigenous and independent products
Fremantle Markets actively promotes indigenous and independent art and products, with many pieces created by local artisans, businesses and crafters. A good example of this is Wendy Binks’ Stunned Emu Designs. You can also purchase ethically sourced indigenous art. For example, trader, True Blue sells authentic artefacts, boomerangs, didgeridoos and souvenirs by local and Western Australian aboriginal artists, with proceeds of sales going directly to the artists.
Home of the Nyoongar people
The City of Fremantle sits within the Aboriginal cultural region of Beeliar. Its Nyoongar name is Walyalup (the place of walyo) and local people are called Whadjuk. Learn about Freo’s indigenous history and its significant sites, like where the famous Wagyl fought the Crocodile spirit, here.