Fremantle Studies Day

Fremantle Studies Day Sunday 22 October Fremantle Army Museum Theatre Burt St, Fremantle

The 2017 Fremantle Studies Day focuses on cultural institutions which have given Fremantle its reputation as a centre for the arts in Western Australia. From the earliest days when providing a broad education for the working class man was seen as a vital endeavor of a community through to the encouragement and support of professional and amateur writers, musicians and artists, Fremantle continues to produce a dynamic and lively creative community. Join us to learn more about the institutions which have made significant contributions to our rich heritage.


Cultural organisations in late 19th Century Fremantle- Prof. Bob Reece

Fremantle Arts Centre: Contemporary Programming in a Historical site – Sheridan Coleman

Four decades of Fremantle Press – Jane Fraser

The amateurs of Perth – Fremantle Symphony Orchestra – Natasha Meston

Afternoon tea will be served to provide an opportunity for fellowship and discussion. Copies of the recently launched Fremantle Studies Vol 9 (members $15, non- members $20) will be on sale.

Registrations open at 1pm for a 1.30pm start Members: $20
Non members: $25

RSVP essential: by Thursday 19 October 2017
Photographs courtesy of Fremantle City Library History Society – Image Numbers : LH004978, LH005030, LH002513, LH000812



Cultural organisations in late 19th Century Fremantle, Bob Reece


Apart from the ex-convict-owned and managed Herald newspaper (1867-1886), the two main cultural organisations in Fremantle in the second half of the nineteenth century were the Mechanics’ Institute (1851) and the Working Man’s Association (1868), which came together in 1870 to form the Literary Institute. Established by philanthropic city fathers to ‘uplift’ the working classes through self-education, they offered ‘improving’ literary entertainments as well as library facilities and lectures on scientific and literary subjects. Over time, however, they were riven by class differences, becoming more like gentlemen’s reading clubs and the nucleus of Fremantle’s city library.


The first Literary Institute, in Cliff St, before 1899, photo courtesy of the Fremantle History Centre

Bob Reece is Professor Emeritus in History at Murdoch University where he lectured from 1978 until 2010, apart from three years as Keith Cameron Professor of Australian History at University College Dublin. Widely published in Aboriginal history and Irish convicts in Australia, he has also written extensively on the history of Sarawak (Malaysia).

Fremantle Arts Centre: Contemporary Programming in a Historical Site

Sheridan Coleman

The talk will give a portrait of the way in which FAC as an organisation has infused the complex and rich history of the site, and the building itself, with its substantial and varied arts program. This will include a history of the work of the Arts Centre as a cultural and community hub since 1974, and will include several examples of programs which have sought to bring contemporary artistic voices to bear on the nature of the space itself. The talk will also mount a discussion on the challenges of maintaining and restoring a heritage-listed building (original restoration) and the way that the ‘shadow’ of the building enriches the cultural programs that take place therein. Though the story of the lunatic asylum is well known, FAC’s forty-three year history as a place for families, art, learning and community has become as iconic and important a part of the building’s character and role in the local and wider community.


Sheridan Coleman is a practising artist and freelance arts writer from Perth, W.A. She recently graduated from a PhD course in fine art supported by APA and CUPSA at Curtin University. Her practice is dedicated to the study of landscape art traditions and their future in a world which is largely materially known, constantly photographed and has been translated (almost) in full into interactive, online, satellite-photographed maps.

Four decades of Fremantle Press

Jane Fraser

Dorothy Hewett, Randolph Stow, Elizabeth Jolley, Gail Jones, Brenda Walker, Craig Silvey, Robert Drewe, Joan London, John Kinsella, Liz Byrski, Philippa Nikulinsky, Kate McCaffrey, Norman Jorgensen, Tim Winton, Alan Carter, Dave Warner – think of almost any well-known Western Australian author and you’ll find that Fremantle Press has published them at some point in their careers – and usually at the very beginning when they were completely unknown and had only their talent to make them attractive publishing prospects. Fremantle Press was established more than 40 years ago to serve the Western Australian community by publishing the stories from this state. This will be an intimate and inspiring behind-the-scenes look at a working publishing house.


Jane Fraser is CEO and sales and rights manager at Fremantle Press. She began her career in educational publishing in Sydney. She has worked as an international co-editions publisher, in tertiary publishing, corporate marketing and communications and as a non-fiction publisher.

The City of Fremantle Symphony Orchestra: A History

Natasha Milosevic Meston

Since 1993, the historic Fremantle Town Hall has served as the primary venue for Perth’s most long-established community ensemble: The City of Fremantle Symphony Orchestra. The FSO brings classical music performance home to Fremantle and has proven itself to be a vital contributor to its artistic and cultural landscape, boasting an annual program of four concerts in addition to auxiliary performances held in conjunction with seasonal events. For its audience, the FSO is a way for locals to support their friends and family, or recognise and enjoy the musical talent of their community. For its regular membership of approximately sixty musicians, this ensemble means a chance to play and perform the often strenuous but always enjoyable works of musical geniuses alongside the commitments of fulltime work and family demands. In short, the FSO provides a chance for socialisation, connection, and support between diverse members of the community, and is particularly dedicated to the promotion and enjoyment of classical music as part of the cultural community landscape of Perth. This paper addresses the orchestra’s attempts to achieve their many aims, and outlines the long history and significant impact of the ensemble.

Natasha Milosevic Meston

Natasha Milosevic Meston completed her undergraduate degree in History at the University of Western Australia in 2016. Her honours thesis, completed under Dr Chantal Bourgault du Coudray, is due to be published in History Australia in 2018 and concerns the fields of gender, biography and war. She currently works within the Royal West Australian Historical Society and as a commissioned historian.


Lives in Archives workshop

Notre Dame University and SROWA (State Records Office) are running a workshop Lives in Archives: using archives at the State Records Office of Western Australia.

The workshop provides those interested in all disciplines that study the past – history, archaeology, family history, Aboriginal history, State politics – with essential skills on critiquing written documents and advice on discovering and using the huge collection of historical data at the SROWA.
Sessions are on 16 October – Notre Dame University and 23 October at SROWA.
Cost $200
Limited to 15 people
for further information or to register your interest contact Dr Shane Burke at UNDA on 

Secretary of the Fremantle History Society
Anne Brake


Dear all

For those of you who will be looking after children or grandchildren during the upcoming school holidays, here are some great ideas to keep them entertained. The Fremantle Army Museum has some fabulous programs for the budding archaeologist or historian.

See attached flier for details on the programs and how to book.

Thanks, Anne

Holiday Activities FLYER

September Meeting

Dear all

Our September meeting is just over a fortnight away. It is a very special opportunity to get inside the recently restored Mediterranean Shipping Company Building – also known as the Dalgety Building.

MSC are opening this beautiful landmark as a special favour for FHS members. It is a very busy workplace and so access is being given on the morning of Saturday 16 September.

Please note the change in time from the newsletter AND also note the building will be locked behind us as we enter so don’t be late or you will miss out.

Saturday 16 September; arrive at the main reception doors at 11 Cliff St by 9.50am for a 10.00am start.

MSC are keen to get numbers as well so please RSVP to Greg Luke ( with numbers attending no later than Thursday 7 September.

This a great opportunity – I hope you are able to make it.

Kind regards, Anne

Secretary of the Fremantle History Society
Anne Brake

Art Tour at Fremantle Prison

Come along to an Art Tour at Fremantle Prison on Tuesday 28 February at 5pm. Please note that some of the content is quite graphic in nature and includes prisoner graffiti. On the other hand, much of the art is spectacular and executed by prisoners who were very talented artists. The Art Tour provides a fascinating insight into the psychology and emotional wellbeing or otherwise of the prisoners who spent time inside.The tour will go for one hour and will not involve stairs. Matthew, who is a great guide will take us to visit the art murals in the exercise yards, plus talk about the conservation project involving the restoration of the solitary confinement block, plus show you through the Main Cell Block. Please meet at the entrance to the prison.

Photograph courtesy Fremantle History Centre Image No. LH005161



Fremantle History Society Christmas Function 2016



Fremantle History Society Christmas Function 2016



Frank Norton: Painter and Collector

See more details here

 Photograph courtesy Australian War Memorial

2016 Fremantle Studies Day



The Fremantle History Society invites you to join us

on Sunday 30th October between 1 and 5pm
at THE WA ARMY MUSEUM, Burt Street Fremantle

for four new papers which consider special places and themes in Fremantle’s history, leaving us with important questions to ponder.
Enjoy stimulating papers, good company and our legendary afternoon tea.
Registrations open at 1pm for a 1-30pm start

Price: $20 members, $25 non members

Bookings:, phone contact 0438 445 141,

WWW: FACEBOOK:/fremantlehistorysociety

Please see further information regarding speakers on the flier.

Photograph Courtesy of Fremantle City Library History Centre, Print No. 2834

Fremantle Studies Day 2015

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Fremantle History Society presents Fremantle Studies Day 2015 on Sunday 25th October 2015.

Four lively presentations exploring aspects of the suburban-city centre relationship from the 19th C till the present in the heritage listed Hilton Hall, 2/34 Paget Street, Hilton.

Our program of events includes our famously delicious Afternoon Tea, served in the hall’s spacious café style foyer.

See the flyer below for further information.

Fremantle Studies Day 2015


Visit to Garden Island

Amazing day on Garden Island with Dr Shane Burke guiding the group around the Captain James Stirling's first settlement in 1829. Thanks to the Stirling Naval Base for allowing access to the island and to Able Seaman Ian Strike for sharing his knowledge of the island and base. Thanks also to Dr Shane Burke for giving us his time and in depth knowledge and to Jennifer Dudley and Jenny Patterson for organising the visit.
Amazing day on Garden Island with Dr Shane Burke guiding the group around the Captain James Stirling’s first settlement in 1829. Thanks to the Stirling Naval Base for allowing access to the island and to Able Seaman Ian Strike for sharing his knowledge of the island and base. Thanks also to Dr Shane Burke for giving us his time and in depth knowledge and to Jennifer Dudley and Jenny Patterson for organising the visit.

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