Museum takeover

• Plans discovered for Fremantle Then & Now show CY O’Connor may have lived at the port. Museum takeover.

THE Fremantle Society is taking over the WA Maritime Museum.

It’s not a heritage coup, but the society has been so impressed with the museum’s exhibition Fremantle Then & Now: Historical Panoramas that they’ve decided to give it a big sendoff.

The society has booked out the museum on Friday February 17 from 6pm to host an exhibition talk by president John Dowson, light refreshments and exclusive museum access.

Mr Dowson’s contribution to the exhibition helped uncover the plans of CY O’Connor’s offices on the wharf.

“The award-winning exhibition is quite a rare one featuring Fremantle, and the Fremantle Society supports putting Fremantle under the lens with the impressive enlargements of our historic town,” Mr Dowson said.

He says finding the plans of O’Connor’s office revealed that the famed engineer may have spent time living on-site as it contains a bedroom, kitchen and caretaker’s room.

The offices were built C1897 and were moved in 1904, two years after O’Connor’s suicide at the beach which now bears his name.

“He’s there for six or seven years and we like to think he got his inspiration there,” Mr Dowson said.

“He’s looking out to see and for the ships coming in, it was the first house in Australia they would see.”

Mr Dowson said he’s not sure whether O’Connor, who also had a house in Quarry Street, would have spent just a couple of days kipping there or if it stretched into weeks.

He says finding the plans was a bit of a coup, as he’s not been able to find evidence that they’ve previously been published.

The society’s talk and refreshments is free, but tickets are limited: Book by emailing

The exhibition itself finishes on February 19.

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