Whale of a time

BULLWHIPPED immigrants and wife-beating prisoners are some of the colourful topics to be discussed at the Round House on Australia Day.

Volunteer guide Les Green will talk about the infamous gaol and some of the more flamboyant and quirky early settlers who arrived in Fremantle in the 19th century.

The list of salty characters includes Moon Chow, who arrived in Fremantle in 1829, WA’s first Chinese immigrant. While life in WA got off to an inauspicious start — he was sentenced to 100 lashes for stealing a shotgun — Mr Moon went on to become a respected ship builder and carpenter.

“The story is that he was going to shoot someone who was holding money for him,” says Green.

• Les Green and mate at the Round House. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

• Les Green and mate at the Round House. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

“But it never got that far and he got 100 of the best for his troubles. It is believed Chow arrived in Fremantle after being rescued from a shipwreck.”

Mr Moon died in 1877 when struck by a horse and cart — an incident that is believed to have led to the introduction of a speed limit in Fremantle.

The talk will include spiels on Thomas and Elizabeth Dent, the history of whaling in the area and the construction of the Round House.

Mr Green plans to fly an historic whale flag at the Round House and is trying to persuade mayor Brad Pettitt to fire the cannon.

The talk is scheduled to start at noon.


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