Fremantle Prison has now split their tours up into 5 different ones. We decided on the Fremantle Prison True Crime Tour.

This is the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Perth so it’s worth visiting whether you are on holiday or a local, like me.

It is the largest convict built structure in Western Australia and the most intact convict building in the Southern Hemisphere.

Where is Fremantle Prison?

Fremantle is a suburb in Perth, Western Australia. It is 16 km direct from Perth but 21 km by road.

outside of prison cell blocks with small windows and exercise yard

How to get to Fremantle Prison

Apart from driving, the easiest way to get to Fremantle from Perth is by train. The journey takes around 30 minutes and will cost approximately $5 one way. Timetables can be found on Transperth’s site.

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Fremantle Prison History

Originally known as The Convict Establishment, its name changed to Fremantle Prison in 1867.

It was built by convict labour between 1852 and 1859 with limestone quarried on site. Between 1850 and 1868, when convict transportation ceased, nearly 10,000 convicts had come here.

Fremantle Prison remained in use until 1991 and was a dark place of hangings, floggings, riots, and escapes.

By 1886, there were fewer than 60 convicts held here so Perth Gaol closed and this became the main prison. Men, women and juveniles were all imprisoned here.

A Royal Commission in 1983 recommended the prison’s closure, mainly due to a series of prisoner riots and diabolical prison conditions.

Fremantle Prison was decommissioned on 8 November 1991.

Women were already being held at Bandyup but male prisoners were sent to Casuarina Prison. This replaced Fremantle Prison as Western Australia’s main maximum-security prison.

guard house in a prison

Fremantle Prison True Crime Tour Price

The cost of this tour is $22 per adult, $19 for concessions, $12 per child, and $62 for a family pass.

The Family Pass is valid for two adults and up to three children (aged 4 – 15 years).

The Fremantle Prison True Crime Tour is not recommended for children under 10 due to details relating to sex crimes.

Bookings are recommended in peak times to ensure the time slot you want is available.

Gift Vouchers are available to purchase directly with Fremantle Prison.

There is no entrance fee to enter the Gatehouse area. This includes access to the gift shop, Convict Cafe, Gallery, Convict Depot, and Museum.

main cell block as seen on fremantle prison true crimes tour

Fremantle Prison True Crime Tour Times

This tour runs for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

They run daily every hour from 11.45 am to 4.45 pm.

Online or phone ticket purchases are collected from the gift shop.

Ensure you arrive with plenty of time to collect them or you will miss part of the tour.

Fremantle Prison True Crime Tour Review

Fremantle Prison True Crime Tour Review

We parked easily in the car park outside the prison (you have to pay for parking). There wasn’t a queue and we walked straight through to the Gift Shop, where our tickets were waiting for us.

Due to Covd-19, it’s mandatory to use the hand sanitiser provided before entering. The Tour Guide also requests you to maintain social distance and to refrain from touching anything as much as possible.

Our tour started through the main prison gates where our guide, Deb, gave us a low down on the tour and what to expect.

We walked around the perimeter of the main cell block where Deb told us real-life stories about some of the most notorious prisoners.

It was very interesting hearing about these criminals, seeing where incidents took place, and hearing how some managed to escape.

I’m not going to go into detail about the stories we were told as it will spoil your tour. However, we learned about Martha Rendell (who was the only woman to be executed here), the Postcard BanditEric Edgar Cooke (the serial killer who was the last man to be hung here), Sydney Sutton (the last person to be flogged), David & Catherine Birnie (also known as the Moorhouse murderers), and Stephen Burnett and Peter Boyd (The Rubbish Truck Heist).

We got to see the exercise yard from above, the maximum-security cells, and block during the tour. The photo to the left is of the gate used in the Rubbish Truck heist with the gun tower above.

Once the tour finishes, you are free to explore the Gatehouse area and read more about this historic convict prison. The gallery has some amazing art painted by inmates, make sure to have a look.

It was a fascinating tour and one I would recommend if you are in Fremantle or Perth.

Fremantle Prison True Crime Tour Review

Accommodation in Fremantle

I haven’t actually stayed in Fremantle as we live so close. However, a couple of places that have been recommended to me are:

Mid Range

The National Hotel

Hougoumont Hotel

Quest Fremantle

Backpackers

Pirate Backpackers

Fremantle Prison YHA

If you’ve read other posts, you will know that I book a lot of accommodation through Booking.com as they are normally the cheapest with a fantastic reputation.

Tours in Fremantle

We use mainly Viator and Get Your Guide for all our tour bookings as they are competitively priced and often offer free cancellation.

Other Things To Do in Perth and Western Australia

For more things to do in Western Australia, check out this Western Australia Travel Guide.

If you found our Fremantle Prison True Crime Tour guide helpful, please consider booking through one of our links. It won’t cost you anything, but will help towards the cost of running this site. Thank you 🙂

Fremantle Prison True Crime Tour Review

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14 Comments

  1. I’ve only ever visited Alcatraz in San Francisco, but I don’t think it’s a UNESCO site. Fremantle looks like an interesting tour, it’s not everyday you get to visit a prison!

  2. Vanessa Shields says:

    What a fun tour! Who would think visiting a prison would be so fascinating. It kind of reminds me of Alcatraz in San Francisco. I love hearing the stories of the notorious criminals. I’d love to know more about the Postcard Bandit. Did he really steal a lot of postcards? 😄

    1. It was rumoured that he sent police photos of him in various locations around Australia.

  3. Looks really interesting. Hope to visit one day 🙂

  4. What an interesting history of a prison! I’d like to hear more about the postcard bandit!

    I’ve visited a few prisons and they always have somber but interesting stories. Thanks for sharing about this one, Wendy

    1. Intrigued to take this tour and hear the stories…we toured Alcatraz and found it disturbing and fascinating at the same time.

  5. There’s something about prisons that make them great tourist attractions isn’t there. The places you would never want to go, becomes the opposite. The stories are always great. I’m intrigued about the rubbish truck heist. I heard they only got away with a load of junk.

  6. Wow, that’s something a bit different! I’ve been to Alcatraz and enjoyed that, so I’m sure I’d love this. Is the building used for anything else nowadays?

    1. The main part of the prison is used for tours. However, there are over twenty buildings and some of them are used by tenants including tourism, education, community, and commercial ventures.

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