Markets, Prisons and Miscellany
We could have left this day, but it's a Friday and it's the beginning of a new passage – Fremantle to Cape Town. You know how we are about leaving on a Friday. No worries … we had plenty to do. It was market day in Fremantle.
According to their website, this market was built in 1897 and has been operating ever since. It has undergone a few changes since then, but it maintains its allure as a marketplace and meeting place. We caught an early bus to get the best choice of produce. What a great selection and at good prices, too.
The place was alive with vendors, hawking their wares. Beyond the freshies, we saw everything from boomerangs, to emu oil, to native American Indian headdresses (???). People milled around and tasted and bought. It was an eclectic mix, for sure.
We replenished our energy along Henderson Street aka Cappucciono Strip with a flat white and a fresh croissant, then headed up the street to check out the Scots Church and the Norfolk Hotel … both integral parts of this historic Fremantle precinct. The Norfolk Hotel looked particularly inviting, but what caught our attention even more was the portrait of Dame Dorothy Margaret Tangney painted on the side of the building. Tangney was an Australian politician and the first female in the Australian senate among other things. Her portrait is part of Fremantle's public art collection.
Next we headed up the hill to Fremantle Prison. No one there to visit … it's a tourist attraction nowadays … and the most intact convict establishment in Australia. According to their website, Fremantle Prison was built by convicts as their own barracks between 1852 and 1859 using limestone quarried on site. It remained in continual use until 1991.
For 136 years, this prison was a place of hangings, floggings, dramatic convict escapes and prisoner riots. Inmates included imperial convicts, colonial prisoners, enemy aliens, prisoners of war and maximum-security detainees. The last flogging occurred in 1962 and the last hanging in 1964. Australia abolished the death penalty in 1984. Fremantle Prison is now a World Heritage Site.
A myriad of tours are available including night tours and a tunnel tour under the prison. Unfortunately, all the interesting tours were booked full when we arrived, so we wandered around the Gatehouse area, saw what we could see and then escaped to freedom in search of public art. We found plenty on Fremantle's streets and squares including a xylophone on the High Street Mall. David couldn't resist playing me a tune.
And then there's the miscellany that we discovered on our walk about town. A tower of colorful, almond-flavored macarons … a Perth Monopoly game … free didgeridoo lessons … a wonderful kangaroo head hat to try on. Fremantle is a place you could explore for many more days and still not discover all it has to offer. Three days was just a taste.