Fremantle Prison Cafe

Western Australia

Architectural, interior, and expert heritage advice.

A former workshop was conserved and adapted to create a new courtyard café to complete the range of visitors’ services at Fremantle Prison.

The area selected for the Cafe was originally constructed as the rear yard to one of the Terrace Houses. It had been enclosed for many years and used as the Public Works Department store up until the time of the prison closure.

After service as an interpretation centre in the years immediately following the prison’s closure, the site, was selected because of its location at the front of the prison and its relation to the guided prison tours.

The adapted space provides the kitchen and main dining areas. An external dining area was created to the south to provides a critical mass for café operations and interaction with the adjacent courtyard area. The work involved archaeological investigations, conservation of existing fabric and the insertion of elements in a contemporary design idiom.

Fremantle Prison was built to accommodate Imperial Convicts between 1853 and 1855. It became the State’s maximum security prison in 1888 until its closure in 1991.

Since its closure it has been a tourist site and was granted World Heritage status in 2010.