FREMANTLE PRISON will be entered into WA’s tourism hall of fame after winning a third consecutive gold medal for cultural tourism.
“We had a bit of success at the 2017 WA Tourism Awards on the weekend,” the prison’s sales and marketing manager Amberlee Hong humbly informed the Herald after the win.
“As the winner of this category we will represent WA at the Australian Tourism Awards to be held in Perth next February.
“We also picked up a silver medal in the major tourist attractions category.”
Prison guide Janine Della Bosca’s restricted to her cell this week after a major ankle reconstruction, but the winner of the award’s Golden Guide category says she’s never happier than leading a tour group through the world heritage-listed lock-up.
“I fell in love with this place nine years ago,” she told the Herald.
Back then she was a budding artist studying at Fremantle Tafe, which had an annexe at the prison.
“I used to go out into the yard at night and paint all the walls; everyone else was terrified, but I really loved it.”
Ms Della Bosca says leading a tour isn’t just telling a few interesting anecdotes and looking at artifacts; because of a prison’s unique function visitors are inevitably drawn into discussions about pretty weighty topics such as Aboriginal incarceration or capital punishment.
“Some of these are taboo subjects, so you can tell it’s the first time some people have opened up about them,” she says.
Ms Della Bosca says she was overwhelmed by her first prison tour as a visitor, and says she draws on that experience to ensure participants in her tours come away with the same sense of awe.
East Fremantle’s Tradewinds Hotel took out a silver medal at the tourism awards for deluxe accommodation, while Cockburn’s Adventure World picked up silver for tourism education and training.
by STEVE GRANT