THE heritage-listed cottages on Henderson Street were built for Fremantle prison warders in 1858 and housed two families—one upstairs and one on the ground floor.
“Which is why the layout is the same on both levels,” the owner of number 11 says.
Large families were common in the 19th century and mum, dad and any number of kids would have crammed into three small rooms in the cottage.
They shared the backyard privy and washhouse with the other family.
Nowadays the 165-year-old cottages are an iconic Fremantle landmark and part of a heritage precinct that includes the World Heritage-listed Fremantle Prison.
The cottage owner tells me that the under-stair cupboard was once used as a gun cabinet.
“When there was a riot the warders would grab a gun and run to the prison,” she says.
The cottages were state housing for decades and in dire need of conservation when the Heritage Council took them over three years ago.
Sagging timber verandahs were replaced, water damaged and eroded walls restored, and plumbing and electrics upgraded.
But the internal fit-out was left to the new owners. Facing Henderson St Mall and backing onto Fremantle Markets, this two-storey cottage has two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Stepping through the huge old front door into the living room, or climbing the narrow, Baltic pine stairs to the second level is like stepping back into Fremantle’s history. There’s a bird’s eye view of the action on the mall on weekends, and you’ll be everyone’s friend when the Street Arts Festival is on.
The old privy has long gone and the fenced rear garden is a blank canvas awaiting your touch.
This cottage is a rare opportunity to become part of Fremantle’s rich history—right in the heart of the CBD.
by JENNY D’ANGER
11 Henderson Street, Fremantle
0425 252 901