Fremantle Prison will benefit from a cash injection of $1.6 million as part of the McGowan Government’s WA Recovery Plan investment in community and cultural infrastructure.
Heritage Minister David Templeman said the $1.6 million was another contribution by the State Government towards the $9.6 million of essential conservation works identified in the recent master plan that will support the future success of Fremantle Prison.
Last year, $3.5 million was provided for urgent works including repairs to the Main Cell Block which were recently completed by local Aboriginal contractor Thuroona Services.
This year, the slope of the Main Parade Ground will be levelled off to prevent future damage to the cell block caused by insufficient drainage, and provide a more suitable space for hosting large events and enhancing the tourism potential of Fremantle Prison.
Funding will also cover urgent repairs to the prison hospital which was constructed in 1857 and is currently leased to The Literature Centre.
Mr Templeman said revenue from ticket sales for the various tours and visitor experiences contribute to the financial viability of Fremantle Prison, however COVID-19 restrictions have hampered the ability to operate these attractions, including the popular tunnels tour.
Fremantle Prison celebrates its ten-year anniversary as one of the eleven member sites of the UNESCO World Heritage Australian Convict Sites.
As stated by Heritage Minister David Templeman:
“Fremantle Prison is WA’s only built world heritage site, and only world heritage place in Perth. Both Federal and State Governments need to work collaboratively on our responsibility to the Australian people to invest in preserving this important piece of our heritage.
“Conservation works to the Parade Ground in particular, will unlock the potential of Fremantle Prison to attract and host larger events in this space in the future and we expect those works to commence within six months.
“I am pleased to invest in the protection and conservation of this iconic place of architectural and social history and hope that the Commonwealth can find funding sources to support our contribution and the creation of immediate and future jobs here in Western Australia as our nation recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
As stated by Federal Member for Fremantle Josh Wilson MP:
“Fremantle Prison is one of Australia’s most affecting and complex heritage sites and the 10-year anniversary of its World Heritage listing should prompt the Federal Government to follow WA’s lead and support further fundamental restoration work.
“In October 2019 I wrote to Minister Ley to suggest the Morrison Government should match the States’ efforts to fund vital conservation and restoration works required for all these places of internationally significant heritage and dark history.
“Considering the circumstances we now find ourselves in I believe it’s a perfect time for the Federal Government to work with State and Territory Governments on plans for job creation and shared funding that will ensure the sustainability and conservation of all these sites, including Fremantle Prison.”
As stated by Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk:
“Fremantle Prison is a significant contributor to the local economy, drawing an average of 200,000 visitors per year.
“The works that will be carried out thanks to the WA Recovery Plan funding, will create even more opportunities for dynamic events that will bring people into the Prison and the Fremantle CBD.
“Recent announcements about the sale of the Technical College in the heart of Fremantle, and the revitalisation of the A Shed by Gage Roads Brewing company, paint an exciting picture for the future of our port city and I want to ensure that the Fremantle Prison is part of that future.”