While council deliver a mantra of sustainability the signs of a collapse in the Fremantle economy is glaringly evident in the CBD.

I took a walk around  the area and counted in excess of 40 properties which are empty, offered for lease, or moving. The total is probably closer to 60 as the Woolworth’s building houses a number of vacant outlets  as does the Coles Woolstore.  These pictures were taken within about 250m of the Town Hall

Very recently one new retail outlet, selling high quality home furnishings and decorations, has closed after six months. It was located in the Mall, opposite the Town Hall. The rent was $240,000,  higher than similar sized properties in downtown New York.

VILLA, closed after six months about a week ago. The rent was $240,000 a year but trade for this high quality retail outlet  didn’t materialise. This is in Fremantle Mall, opposite the Attwell Arcade development.

Shepherd’s News agency have to move from their prime spot. It holds the longest serving tenancy of Fremantle. The original Shepherd’s News Agency was established in this building in 1908 and the current business owners have been there for 26 years. They now have to move aside for developers.

Shepherd’s Newsagency have been located in the Manning building  since 1908. They are the oldest  business in Fremantle still operating from the same premises. Now they have to move to make way for development.

The Woolworths shopping centre, next to St Patrick’s, has been closed for a couple of years. It was gleefully broadcast that this would bring new life to the east end of the city. Opposite them the Hilton site, which used to contain a number of shops, is derelict and scheduled to become a temporary car park.

The Woolstores centre is hosting many empty premises. Even with a carpark in situ it was not able to survive

The centre  hosted about 20 retail and office business’s. They were not included in my count of about 40 empty premises.

The Hilton Hotel site, due to become a temporary car park. 

CODA, a mainstay of council’s PR sustainability spin, have closed shop and amalgamated with a Perth based company. CODA was a foundation stone of the Future Fremantle organisation, established to build a better Fremantle.


CODA’s vacant office


Coles Woolstores site is home to several vacant retail premises
A small selection of over 40 empty retail and office premises in the CBD is shown below.






And finally, in one vacant shop window the mayor delivers his mantra of a vibrant city.




  1. The only thing vibrant about our once beautiful Fremantle is when vehicles go over the many speed humps that seem to grow daily, it is now the hump centre of Australia, maybe tourists will come to look at the humps.
    We still visit but the markets and fishing boat harbor are the only area keeping the place alive, it is very sad to see the demise of a once vibrant City and i understand they are not doing well financially when rated against Local Government standards.


  2. I met Roger Garwood after last night’s debate. He showed me a photographs he just completed on the empty shops in Fremantle’s CBD. Whilst I don’t lay all the blame at the feet of the current council, I strongly believe that the city won’t get a different result by continuing or committing the same mistakes.

    At last night’s debate all candidates expressed the same desire to get more residents into the CBD. What we must decide is how?

    New developments need to be mixed use (residential and commercial, high and low income) and engage the street directly (no private spaces masquerading as public).

    A city-wide plan needs to be developed to facilitate better access using both private and public transport – blockages need to be removed.

    I have already discussed an extra $500,000 p.a. that can be raised in revenue – this can offset changes to parking fees and fines (which leave a bad taste in all mouths).

    I am amazed at the caliber of Fremantle residents (reflected in the talent of the election candidates) – I’m sure if it is untethered the city will succeed.”

    Julie Morgan
    Candidate for City Ward, Fremantle Elections


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