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St Anne's RC Church & Presbytery


Fremantle ARCHIVED 201216

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


Cnr Stirling Hwy & Alfred Rd North Fremantle

Location Details

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1910, Constructed from 1977

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Heritage List YES 08 Mar 2007 City of Fremantle

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Catholic Church Inventory Adopted 01 Jul 1998

Heritage Council
Municipal Inventory Adopted 18 Sep 2000 Level 2

Level 2

The City of Fremantle has identified this place as being of considerable cultural heritage significance in its own right within the context of Fremantle and its conservation is a priority.

City of Fremantle

Statement of Significance

St Anne’s Croatian Roman Catholic Church and Croatian Community Centre, is is a complex of three buildings dating from 1910; 1977; and 1986. The place has aesthetic value for its contribution to the streetscape and the surrounding area and its landmark qualities. St Anne’s Croatian Catholic Church and Community Centre has historic and social value as the meeting place and cultural centre of Fremantle’s Croatian community, many of whom arrived in Western Australian following World War Two. The Croatian Club purchased the church in 1972 so that Croatian services could be held and subsequently added other cultural/community facilities to the site – the Croatian Community Centre (1977) and the Croatian Youth Association building (1986). The church was built for the North Fremantle Catholic community in 1909/10 and was designed by prominent local architects, Cavanagh, Cavanagh and Parry. The adjacent rectory (built 1910) was converted for use as a convent school in the 1930s.

Physical Description

St Anne’s Croatian Roman Catholic Church and Croatian Community Centre is a complex of three buildings. It comprises a brick and iron church building, a two storey rendered masonry and iron community building and a single storey face brick and tile community building. The church is an example of the Federation Gothic style of architecture with its steeply pitched roof and distinctive brick masonry with rendered banding. The two storey community building is rendered brick and iron in a simple Georgian design. The church and two storey building are located on Stirling Highway. The single storey community building is located behind the Church on Thompson Road. A bitumised basketball and parking area is located between. The single storey building is a later addition with face brick walls and a tiled mansard roof.


The portion of Stirling Highway to the north of Queen Victoria Street was originally part of Perth Road. The area developed with mixed residential, commercial and industrial uses from the 1860s following the construction of the North Fremantle Traffic Bridge and the upgrading of Perth Road by convicts. The portion of Stirling Highway that runs between the Swan River and the junction with Queen Victoria Street was formerly called Bruce Street. It was named after Colonel Bruce, head of the Pensioner Guards. In the early days of North Fremantle’s development, the favoured residential area for settlement was slightly west of the North Fremantle oval and named ‘Brucetown’.

Settlement of North Fremantle began in earnest in the late 1890s and Bruce Street was characterised by a mix of building types. On the southern side of the street between Queen Victoria Street (formerly Perth Road) and Tydeman Road (formerly Pensioner Road and then John Street), the buildings were predominantly residential. Industrial use was more common on the northern side.

Stirling Bridge was constructed across the Swan River at the end of Bruce Street in 1974. As Bruce Street was now the major arterial link between the bridge and Stirling Highway, the street was widened and renamed as an extension of Stirling Highway.

In recent years, new high-density residential development of the areas adjacent to the river on either side of Stirling Highway has seen a significant change in the mix of buildings in the southern section of Stirling Highway. In 2004, the street continues to have a mix of residential, retail and industrial land use.

St Anne’s Croatian Roman Catholic Church was built for the Catholic Church in 1909/10. Designed by prominent local architects Cavanagh, Cavanagh and Parry, the foundation stone was laid on 11 December 1909 by Bishop Matthew Gibney. The builders were the Groth Brothers from Subiaco, the pews were made by Whittaker Brothers in Subiaco and the altar was designed by a Mr Wiggins of East Fremantle. The church was officially opened on Sunday, 8 May 1910 by Bishop Gibney.

Prior to the construction of the church, North Fremantle’s Catholic congregation had met in a large convent on the corner of John Street and Stirling Highway, which was built for the Sisters of St Joseph of the Apparition, who were based in Fremantle. By 1909, 900 Catholics living in North Fremantle regularly attended mass in the convent school and Father Charles Cox, Superior at Fremantle, decided that the North Fremantle Catholics should have their own church.

The two storey presbytery adjoining the church was also commenced in 1909. It was later used as a convent school (it first appears in the post office directories as a convent school in 1936).

A 1939 diagram shows a brick church with a large area of paved drive to the east (parking at the rear of the church), with access off Alfred Road. The adjoining former rectory to the north is noted on the diagram as the convent school. The remainder of the site to the east was undeveloped.

There were Croatian people in Fremantle from the late 1800s, and many of the displaced persons who came to Western Australia following World War II identified as being Croatian. Many worked in Fremantle’s fishing and boat building industries.

Fremantle’s Croatian Club was formed in 1952, with its headquarters at 18 Nairn Street, where three of the founding 12 members lived. The aim of the Club was to spread the Croatian name, culture and song. By the early 1970s, the Club was in need of a church building, and purchased the former St Anne’s from the Catholic Church in 1972. The church building was in poor condition and needed substantial work by this time.

The following year, the Club purchased the block adjacent to the church and commenced construction of the Croatian Community Hall. Archbishop Goody opened the hall on 6 August 1977. The hall was to be a meeting place where Croatian culture and history would be supported. The Croatian Youth Association completed its own building on the site in 1986.

This place was included in the "North Fremantle Heritage Study", prepared by Craig Burton, for the City of Fremantle, June 1994.


High degree of integrity (original intent clear, current use compatible, high long term sustainability).
High degree of authenticity.
(These statements based on street survey only).


Condition assessed as good (assessed from streetscape survey only).

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Original Use RELIGIOUS Monastery or Convent
Present Use RELIGIOUS Housing or Quarters

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Other OTHER Other Material
Wall BRICK Common Brick
Roof TILE Ceramic Tile

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Sport, recreation & entertainment

Creation Date

22 Dec 1998

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

01 Jan 2017


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