FREMANTLE’S historic West End has been added to the state heritage register.
The listing covers almost 200,000sqm and 250 buildings — many built on the back of WA’s gold rush — making it the biggest single place to be added to the register.
Any major changes to buildings in the zone will now have to be referred to the WA Heritage Council, but the state government has delegated authority to Fremantle council to rule on small changes in a bid to cut red tape.
Mayor Brad Pettitt says the city had been trying for decades to get the West End added to the register and was delighted it had finally come to fruition.
“This is a really significant day for Fremantle — it’s not only the biggest listing in WA, but in Australia,” he says.
Kakulas Sister, located in the historic Princess Chambers on Market Street, is one of the many businesses in the heritage zone.
“I’m delighted with the listing and hope to see more boutique traders and interesting business sprout up in Fremantle,” says co-owner Michael Finn.
“The city’s toyed with chain stores and homogenous businesses, but Fremantle’s uniqueness breeds a unique trader and we want to capitalise on that.
“We started the same time as the Dockers and we’re rusted on Freo!”
The heritage listing is bounded by Market Street to the east, Collie Street and Marine Terrace to the south, Little High Street to the west and includes both sides of Phillimore Street to the north.
The Fremantle Society wanted a larger zone, but Dr Pettit said it wouldn’t get approval and the council wanted to focus on the city’s gold rush story.
State heritage minister Albert Jacob says a number of West End buildings are already individually registered, but the inclusion of the whole precinct was a recognition of the important story it told.
“The recognition of the precinct for its state value will enhance the area’s appeal as a tourism destination, where visitors can immerse themselves in the sights and experiences of this important historical area.
“However, being on the state register does not mean that places cannot be altered.
“It simply means that development needs to be sensitive to the heritage values of the precinct,” Mr Jacob said.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK