The Roundhouse Fremantle

The Roundhouse

The Round House was the first permanent structure constructed by the Swan River Colony. It was constructed in late 1830, and completed in 1831, this is also the longest-running structure that is still standing within Western Australia.

It is situated in Arthur Head in Fremantle, and the most recent assessments of its heritage along with appraisals from the area within Arthur Head and the Round House incorporate Arthur Head.

It was developed and built by Henry Willey Reveley; construction began in 1830 it was finished on January 18th, 1831.Intended to be a prison, it contained eight cells as well as the jailer’s house and all of them had access to an open courtyard. The concept was based on the Panopticon as a prison created by the philosopher Jeremy Bentham.

The Round House was built by Richard Lewis in partnership with W Manning and J H Duffield for a price of PS1,840. Construction began in August 1830 , and was completed in January 1831 with a price of PS1603/10/0. This less expensive cost was resulted from the construction team having access to limestone locally. In 1833, a well had been dug in the central area. Reveley determined that the deepness of the well had to be 14 meters (45 feet). In 1837, the Fremantle Whaling Company in 1837 demanded that a tunnel be constructed through Arthur Head to High street. In accordance with the agreement, they built a breakwater to ensure the safety of shipping up to 150 tonnes. The company was responsible for the tunnel’s construction and the breakwater, with Reverley managing both.

The tunnel was 57 meters long and connected to the Bathers Beach Whaling Station to the High Street. The tunnel was built over five months, and was completed on January 18, 1838. This speedy progress was made due to the fact that prisoners from Round House were employed. Round House were used and the rock, while strong and load bearing was able to be mined using a pick-axe. The tunnel today is 45m long, and the cliffs were trimmed in the 1880s.


RoundHouse was a prison for indigenous and colonial prisoners. RoundHouse was used by indigenous and colonial prisoners until 1886, when the control for the Convict Establishment prison (now Fremantle Prison) was transferred to the colony. The Round House was used as an officer’s lockup until the year in 1900. It then changed into the home of the chief constable and his family.

From 1903 onwards, the idea of its removal was made In 1929, unsuccessful proposals were made to eliminate it. Round House.

In 1936, it was placed with the Fremantle Harbour Trust for preservation. There were a variety of ideas suggested, including the possibility of making it museum space, but these plans were put on hold through World War II.

In 1966 , the Port Authority opened the building to the public, for two hours every day. In the following years, the attraction was managed under the direction of the Western Australian Historical Society. The building was sold over to Fremantle City Council in 1982. City of Fremantle in 1982, and is open every day since the time it was transferred.

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