Australia Part 3- Fremantle Prison’s “Doing Time Tour”, and a trip to Mandurah

On Wednesday, we went to the Fremantle Prison in Western Australia.

The prison was used to contain many different types of prisoners, and the building itself was built by convicts sent over from England, as Fremantle was a convict camp. The prison was built between 1851 and 1859 and it was made from limestone.

Great “Doing time” tour at Fremantle prison

“Doing Time” Tour at Fremantle prison

We were shown the different kinds of cells, the various punishment methods and had a tour. It was quite interesting to see the past of Fremantle and the prison itself was a very historical site to visit. We saw many rooms, including the solitary confinement room and the hanging room. Some of the prison areas had scorch marks from the 1988 riot, where the prisoners wanted a deliberate reason to be moved to a better prison. They were in hot and uncomfortable conditions and wanted media attention. They succeeded in the riot, but most of the ringleaders were put on trial.

Kings Park in Perth

Kings Park War Memorial in Perth
Kings Park War Memorial in Perth

Thursday was a trip to Kings Park and Botanic Garden in Perth, the largest inner city park in the world. We walked many miles and saw many interesting landmarks such as giant statues of prehistoric Australian life. There was a war memorial and a massive Queen Victoria statue. The park gave spectacular views of the city skyline and there was a huge walkway which went up on the treetops. Many of the trees were hundreds of years old.

It’s great that a city can have such a huge natural area to explore. Some of the trees were boab trees, which are hugely iconic to Australia. One of the strangest things on the trip was a giant DNA structure called DNA Tower. The top had a scenic view of the city suburbs and the ocean. It was made from stones from towns all over Western Australia.

DNA Tower Kings Park Perth

Western Australian Maritime Museum

The next big trip was a visit to the Maritime Museum of Western Australia.The museum was interesting for someone with no interest in maritime history.

LUSTRE: Pearl display Maritime Museum Fremantle poem of Saltwater

When we were there, there was a separate exhibition called Lustre about human stories of pearling, and how the quest for pearls attracted many different cultures. The history of pearls and pearl diving in the region was particularly great as it showed the evolution of finding pearls and why people were, and still are, fascinated by them. It explained that the amount of pearls in Western Australia was a major factor in people arriving there, as they wanted to find the rich resources there. The museum also had items from the wars, including a submarine.

Western Australian Maritime Museu
Western Australian Maritime Museu

A surprise exhibit there was a preserved megamouth shark, which was washed up on the shore in the 90s. It was in the Maritime Museum because they were refurbishing the main museum in Perth. When we went to the museum in Perth, the front entrance was being refurbished.

A “mistake” – a trip to Mandurah

On Saturday the biggest mistake of the holiday was made. A quick disclaimer – like with Brighton, I’m sure the people of Mandurah are very happy with their town. Everything I am about to say is to do with the place, not the people.

The second to last day was supposed to be a calm day to explore the areas around Fremantle.

We travelled to Mandurah and Perth from Fremantle railway station.
We travelled to Mandurah and Perth from Fremantle railway station.

We got lost in Mandurah

Mandurah is the second-largest city in Western Australia. According to research Mandurah had beaches, wildlife and lots of good shopping. When we arrived, we were quite hungry but luckily there was a shopping centre. Unfortunately, the centre is quite small. Then we learn the shopping centre is not in the centre of town, so we need to head to the town centre for all the good stuff or find the beaches. However there was no sign to help tourists.

The structure of Mandurah is bizarre to say the least. There were no signs anywhere and the road was very long, not to mention those annoying ravens which we encountered at Rottnest Island. We couldn’t find the way to the beach, parks, or shops. Buses were not frequent at the weekend either. We kept on walking down the road with no signs and no landscape to speak of. It’s just wide, barren road. Walk, walk, walk, walk and then we realised that the town centre was the other way. Reverse. Then we decided enough was enough and headed back, only to be lost again and had to ask for directions.

What’s next

How annoying. Thankfully the day after was a lot calmer as we went to the beach and packed ready to go to Singapore, which I will do in a separate post as opposed to doing them together as I said I would.


5 thoughts on “Australia Part 3- Fremantle Prison’s “Doing Time Tour”, and a trip to Mandurah

  1. Another great piece of writing. I have learned a lot from your trip and had not realised before just how much there was to do in Freemantle, I had just thought of it as a suburb of Perth. I also did not know that it was originally a convict colony – presumably they were shipped in from Victoria and New South Wales when those places became respectable.

    Kings Park sounds fantastic, particularly the statues of prehistoric life. Have they got round to erecting one of a competent Australian cricketer yet?

  2. I would love to visit the convict prison. What a fascinating piece of history! Ben, you have done a really good job of convincing me that Freemantle is a place worth visiting. Perhaps you should send your blog to the local tourist board – your posts have been nicely written and very informative. I’m glad you have enjoyed your trip (except the Mandurah day), and hope you have a good time back in Singapore.

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