Prison doesn’t sound like somewhere you’d want to spend your holiday, but Fremantle Prison is an extraordinary location popular with visitors to the city of Perth. Hop in your Hertz Perth Airport car hire and take yourself to Fremantle Prison for an interesting and often confronting journey.
Originally built as convict barracks in the 1800s, Fremantle Prison was used continually until 1991 when its doors officially closed. Now a heritage listed building, it is allegedly one of the largest colonial prisons still in existence today. The prison housed imperial convicts as well as colonial prisoners, prisoners of war and maximum-security inmates. Now it is a place of rich and brutal history including hangings, floggings, escapes and riots. There’s plenty to be learnt within the prison’s walls and that’s where tours of the prison will definitely come in handy.
Tours of the Fremantle Prison take you on a journey through the prison, revealing the secrets and stories of all the things that occurred throughout the life of the prison. Be taken back in time by a well versed tour guide and see the tiny cells the prisoners lived in. There are a range of great tours to choose from including the Doing Time Tour, the Great Escapes Tour, the Tunnels Tour, Torchlight Tour and the Fremantle Prison Art Tour.
The Doing Time Tour explores the life of prisoners from the prison’s origins in the 1800s until its closure in 1991 when it was operating as a maximum security prison. You’ll see the Main Cell Block as well as the yards and prisoner’s art on the walls. You’ll also see the chapel and the whipping post, gallows and solitary cells.
These tours run every 30 minutes every day and last 1 hour and 15 minutes. The cost is $19 per adult, $16 concession and $10 for a child. Or, you can purchase a family pass for $53.00.
If escape stories interest you, then take the Great Escapes Tour to learn about the daring attempts made by convicts and prisoners to escape the prison. You’ll hear about successful and unsuccessful attempts and learn all about certain escape artists including Moondyne Joe. Take a look inside his escape-proof cell.
The Great Escape Tour runs every hour between 11.45am and 4.45pm every day. The tour takes 1 hour and 15 minutes and costs $19 per adult, $16 for concession and $10.00 for a child. Alternatively, purchase the family pass for $53.00.
For something a little different and something quite exciting, join the Tunnels Tour for an adventure through the depths of the prison. Your guide will take you on a trek through the labyrinth of tunnels and then you’ll climb on board replica convict punts and be taken through the submerged passageways that can only be accessed by boat.
You’ll see artefacts from back in the days as well as original blast holes, bores and oil lamp recesses dating back to when prisoners worked hard in the prison.
This tour is physically demanding and involves climbing down a 20 metre ladder and moving through tight tunnels. If you are afraid of heights or are claustrophobic, this tour is definitely not for you.
Tickets cost $60 per adult and $40 per child and must be booked and paid in advance. The tours run every day and take 2 and half hours.
If you’re not afraid of the dark, visit the Fremantle Prison at night and go exploring by torchlight with the eery Torchlight Tour. You’ll hear stories of horrible events that took place in the prison and see the Main Cell Block, solitary confinement, whipping post, the gallows and the morgue. Be warned though: these tours are not for the faint hearted. There are a number of surprises along the way so if you have health issues or you are easily scared, you’d probably be best to sit this one out. The tour is also not recommended for children under ten.
Tours operate every Wednesday and Friday night starting from around 6.30 or 7pm. You need to book and pay for these tours in advance and you’ll be looking at $25 for adults, $21 for concession and $15 for children.
Just before the prison closed in 1991, prisoners were given permission to paint and draw on the walls of their cells and in the exercise yards. The result is a range of artwork including Aboriginal art, European Landscapes, Tattoos and Graffiti art. The Fremantle Prison Art Tour shows you these different artworks as well as art created and hidden by convicts many decades ago.
These tours operate in small groups so be sure to book in advance. They the first Sunday of the month only and cost $25 per adult, $21 for concession and $15 for children.
Entry to the Gatehouse (which includes the Visitor Centre, Prison Gallery, Gift Shop and Convict Gallery) is free.
Getting to Fremantle Prison is easy in your Hertz Perth Airport rental car. You’ll find plenty of parking is available nearby to park your hire car while you enjoy the prison. Click here for more information.