The Bubonic Plague in Fremantle by Dr Michelle McKeough

This isn’t the first time Western Australia’s isolation has protected it from the worst of a pandemic. The Bubonic Plague killed millions over a 6 year period at the beginning of the last century but WA remained reasonably unscathed. Fremantle was the main point of infection though. Read more about it in Michelle McKeogh’s fascinating piece.

Bubonic Plague



Freo 2029 is a bold visionary plan designed to ‘unlock the potential of Fremantle as a vibrant and sustainable centre’.

Arising from a community consultation process it aims to link and reinvigorate the various precincts of the port city. But what are the implications for the city’s sometimes vulnerable heritage places? Is there recognition of and support for intangible heritage vital to an ongoing sense of place and sustaining connections to a time before European settlement?

In this presentation, Mayor Brad Pettitt will outline his vision for the City of Fremantle and the place of heritage within it.

Join us at the City of Fremantle Library on Tuesday 23 April at 6PM followed by a light supper.

This meeting is part of the National Trust’s Australian Heritage Festival.

Image LH000543 Courtesy Fremantle History Centre.


The next general meeting of the Fremantle History Society will be held on 26 March at 6pm at the Fremantle Library which is located in the grounds of Fremantle Oval, Just enter through the library entrance.

There will be a presentation by author, Linda Bettenay, please see below for more information.


Linda was born in Roleystone into a pioneering orcharding family who have farmed the land since 1901 and have lived in the area since 1895.

Linda’s stimulus to write her first novel has come from the discovery of an amazing, true story of an event in her husband’s family.
This story was kept secret from the family over the years and was only recently uncovered. Linda’s books are based in our state’s history – steeped in our pioneering past and cover the two world wars. In her talks Linda explains how he uses historical fact to weave historical fiction.

‘Secrets Mothers Keep’, ‘Wishes for Starlight’ and ‘The Apple Core Wars’ make up the ‘Secrets Series’. Linda’s books will be available for sale on the night for $25

Join us Tuesday 26 March at 6pm at the City of Fremantle Library to hear Linda talk about her journey. Meeting to be followed by
our regular convivial supper.

Hope to see you all there.

Fremantle Studies Day 2018


Freo Oval

This year’s theme focuses our thoughts on the ‘end of the Great War’.

We have chosen Fremantle Oval as a fitting place to hold the event as the very first returned soldiers were brought to the oval to be feted and cheered by a grateful and relieved Fremantle public.


Dr Leigh Straw : The Suffering Begins: Returned Soldiers, families and the aftermath of World War 1 in Western Australia

Allan Graham: The Fremantle hotel trade during World War One

Baden Pratt: Hell for Leather: North Fremantle Football club and the Great War

Dr Michelle McKeough: Repatriation: A Debt of Gratitude


WHERE: Fremantle Library, Fremantle Oval, 70 Parry Street, Fremantle

WHEN: Sunday 28th October, 2018

TIME: 1 – 5 pm


ADMISSION: $15 members, $20 non-members (join on the day for members’ prices)

Afternoon Tea included. RSVP’s essential: please email the Secretary, by 23 October.

Image courtesy, Fremantle History Centre – Image No. LH001494H


The Fremantle History Society (FHS) is offering a one-year scholarship valued at $2,000 for a research project relating to the history of Fremantle.

The purpose of the scholarship is to encourage new, high quality research which will contribute to the understanding of the history and heritage of Fremantle and encourages new audiences to this endeavour.

Applications close 28 September 2018

See the link below for information.

2018 FHS History Research Scholarship

Changing National History: Adding the Missing Colonial Women

The Melville History Society has much pleasure inviting your members to the 32nd Murdoch lecture to be held on Monday 17th September 2018 hosted by the City of Melville at the Melville Civic Centre 10 Almondbury Rd Booragoon.

Our guest speaker this year will be Dr Lenore Layman who will deliver her paper:

Changing National History: Adding the Missing Colonial Women

Dr Layman is an historian, now retired from Murdoch University. She has numerous publications. Please see the attached biography.

The proceedings begin at 6.30pm with light refreshments, the lecture commencing at 7.15pm and taking approximately 45 minutes, followed by question time

Should you have any family members and friends who would care to attend they would be most welcome.

Please RSVP for catering purposes.

RSVP:              7th September 2018
Barbara:          Tel. 9330 3604
Judy:                Tel. 9330 1331
Carol:               Email

Yours sincerely,
President, Melville History Society

The Australian Dictionary of Biography is an indispensable research tool for all of us working in the field of Australian history; it is both authoritative and readily accessible. But it has its flaws. One is the relative absence of women from its pages. Women comprised only two per cent of entries in the first six volumes of the Australian Dictionary of Biography covering the colonial period (1788-1890) and published in the decade 1966-76. Since then a few more colonial women have been added but they are still mostly missing from Australia’s pre-eminent biographical dictionary. Did women really play such an insignificant part in colonial history? Most of us now answer – definitely not. This talk explores the lives of some of Western Australia’s missing colonial women and what their stories add to our understanding of WA’s past. It also looks at how the making of Western Australian history has changed since the 1960s and asks – what sort of history are we all making today?


Dr Lenore Layman is an historian, now retired from Murdoch University. She has recently published 110° in the Waterbag:  A History of Life, Work and Leisure in Leonora, Gwalia and the Northern Goldfields; Powering Perth: A History of the East Perth Power Station the Electrification of Perth; Blood Nose Politics: A Centenary History of the WA National Party; and co-edited A Historian for All Seasons:  Essays for Geoffrey Bolton. She was the historian member of the team which produced the Australian Asbestos Network website on the health disaster of asbestos use in Australia. Lenore is busy with community history projects and actively involved in the WA History Foundation, Royal WA Historical Society, Society for the Study of Labour History, and Professional Historians Association WA. Historical research, writing and editing, what better to constitute a perfect retirement!