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Fremantle Long Jetty

by Dena Garratt, Honorary Associate, WA Museum

The Long Jetty in Bathers Bay Fremantle, was a focal point of maritime activities in Western Australia from the 1870s to the1920s.

The Long Jetty circa 1890
The Long Jetty circa 1890. (Photo:Battye Library)

Until the jetty was built, large vessels visiting Fremantle could only be loaded and unloaded by fleets of lighters (small sailing barges), a risky and time-consuming business.

Smaller, shallow draught vessels were able to moor at South Jetty, which had been built in 1853 and served as the Colony's main berthing facility for twenty years.


South Jetty and Ocean Jetty. (from a painting by J.P.Ashton, 'Fremantle Harbour and Jetty,Aug 15,1887')
South Jetty and Ocean Jetty. (from a painting by J.P.Ashton, 'Fremantle Harbour and Jetty,Aug 15,1887')

The new jetty was completed in 1873 and was originally named Ocean Jetty. It extended out to sea in a south-westerly direction for 228.6 m (750 ft). Both the South Jetty and the Long Jetty are shown in the following illustration.

South Jetty and the first section of Long Jetty prior to the construction of the Sea Baths
South Jetty and the first section of Long Jetty prior to the construction of the Sea Baths

When an addition was built on the original structure in 1887, Ocean Jetty became known as the Long Jetty, and was at its busiest during the gold-rush days of the early 1890s.

Long Jetty from a painting by J.Moyes.
Long Jetty from a painting by J.Moyes.

A final extension was built in 1896, making the total length of the jetty 1004 m (3,294 ft), but the aptly named 'Long' jetty was already becoming obsolete because of the opening of Fremantle Harbour in the following year.

By the turn of the century, the jetty had fallen into disuse but rather than have it demolished, the Fremantle City Council converted in into a promenade for recreation. In 1906 a hall was erected on the end of the jetty for dances and other entertainments. the Council also constructed a bathing area, known as the Municipal Sea Baths, between the Long Jetty and South Jetty. This facility proved very popular with local residents and the people of Perth (Figure 2). A special weekend train service ran from Perth for the thousands who flocked to the baths each summer.

Go to Fremantle Long Jetty page 2

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