Fremantle Arts Centre Conservation Management Plan

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Photo by Rebecca Mansell

We’re preparing a conservation management plan for the Fremantle Arts Centre buildings, to help guide the future conservation and care of this important place.


Designed by Richard Roach Jewell, the centre was constructed by convict labour as the colony’s Lunatic Asylum in 1861. Additions to the building designed by George Temple Poole were constructed in the 1880s and 1890s. The Fremantle Arts Centre (FAC) buildings have considerable cultural heritage significance and is included in the State Register of Heritage Places (RHP) as Museum and Arts Centre, Fremantle (Heritage Place no 00875).

The site has a fascinating history, and today is a well-known landmark, housing one of the leading arts organisations in Australia.


What is in the conservation management plan?

The City of Fremantle has engaged specialists to prepare a conservation management plan (CMP) for the Fremantle Arts Centre buildings. A CMP helps to understand the place and its heritage values and provides policies to enable its significance to be retained in its future use, interpretation and development. The CMP:

  • Contains a set of recommendations, which focus on the conservation and enhancement of the place and form part of a range of consideration.
  • Also considers maintenance requirements that recognise the need to replace material from time to time.
  • Considers reversing some past ill-advised maintenance measures and some re-thinking in respect to the landscape.
  • Deals with the conservation of the significant building elements, perimeter walls, setting and archaeology, and some future development if and when required.
  • Suggests additional values that might be included in a revised statement of significance (as it was an early registration), which will assist with how the place is regarded and conserved.



Images courtesy of Fremantle City Library History Centre

How can I contribute my thoughts?

Earlier in the year we called on you to help build on the rich stories and existing research already shared about the Fremantle Arts Centre.

We've now prepared a draft conservation management plan and invite your feedback:

  • You can access the CMP online here or in the document library (large file) and share your feedback below.
  • You can also browse a hard copy at the Fremantle Arts Centre reception (10.00am to 5.00pm) and complete a submission.


All submissions are due by Sunday 11 October 2020.


We’re preparing a conservation management plan for the Fremantle Arts Centre buildings, to help guide the future conservation and care of this important place.


Designed by Richard Roach Jewell, the centre was constructed by convict labour as the colony’s Lunatic Asylum in 1861. Additions to the building designed by George Temple Poole were constructed in the 1880s and 1890s. The Fremantle Arts Centre (FAC) buildings have considerable cultural heritage significance and is included in the State Register of Heritage Places (RHP) as Museum and Arts Centre, Fremantle (Heritage Place no 00875).

The site has a fascinating history, and today is a well-known landmark, housing one of the leading arts organisations in Australia.


What is in the conservation management plan?

The City of Fremantle has engaged specialists to prepare a conservation management plan (CMP) for the Fremantle Arts Centre buildings. A CMP helps to understand the place and its heritage values and provides policies to enable its significance to be retained in its future use, interpretation and development. The CMP:

  • Contains a set of recommendations, which focus on the conservation and enhancement of the place and form part of a range of consideration.
  • Also considers maintenance requirements that recognise the need to replace material from time to time.
  • Considers reversing some past ill-advised maintenance measures and some re-thinking in respect to the landscape.
  • Deals with the conservation of the significant building elements, perimeter walls, setting and archaeology, and some future development if and when required.
  • Suggests additional values that might be included in a revised statement of significance (as it was an early registration), which will assist with how the place is regarded and conserved.



Images courtesy of Fremantle City Library History Centre

How can I contribute my thoughts?

Earlier in the year we called on you to help build on the rich stories and existing research already shared about the Fremantle Arts Centre.

We've now prepared a draft conservation management plan and invite your feedback:

  • You can access the CMP online here or in the document library (large file) and share your feedback below.
  • You can also browse a hard copy at the Fremantle Arts Centre reception (10.00am to 5.00pm) and complete a submission.


All submissions are due by Sunday 11 October 2020.


Stories, connection and curiosity

Today Fremantle Arts Centre is one of the leading arts organisations in Australia, however the gothic building (built in the 1860s) also has a long and fascinating history.


You can share your stories, connection or something you are curious to know more about the building and surrounds. Your screen name and comment will be visible below.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

I love the Fremantle Arts Centre and visit it frequently for art, music, books, the cafe & community. It's a vital contributor to the arts in WA & should be preserved as is. It's an excellent facility well managed, exciting to attend. I intend to continue to support FAC by buying books from the book shop.

Sandii Rogers 6 months ago