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City of Fremantle

Place Number

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20 John St North Fremantle

Location Details

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1897

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

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

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Municipal Inventory Adopted 18 Sep 2000 Level 1B

Level 1B

The City of Fremantle has identified this place as being of exceptional cultural heritage significance in its own right within the context of Fremantle and its conservation is required. It is recommended that this place be considered for entry in the Heritage Council of Western Australia's Register of Heritage Places.

Parent Place or Precinct

22385 North Fremantle Precinct

Statement of Significance

Former Gresham Hotel, is a stone and iron two storey hotel building dating from the 1890s. The place has aesthetic value for its contribution to the streetscape and strong landmark qualities. The place is a fine example of the Federation Free Classical style of architecture. It has historic value as one of first hotels in North Fremantle to be built off the Perth-Fremantle Road, highlighting the residential development of the area by this time. Used as Army Officers' Quarters during World War Two. The place has social significance as a popular meeting venue for the local North Fremantle community.

Physical Description

Former Gresham Hotel, is a two storey limestone, brick and iron building with an asymmetrical facade designed with some elements of the Federation Free Classical style of architecture. Walls are limestone with brick quoins and reveals. Roof is hipped and gabled corrugated iron with no eaves. The verandah is under the same corrugated iron roof, supported by square timber posts with a simple timber balustrade. Front elevation has a projecting wing constructed on the front boundary line and has a rendered arched arcade on the first floor. There is a medium height limestone and iron fence to the front boundary in front of the verandah. The building has been restored to very close to its original appearance, with the exception of the second floor covered roof area. The original rendered corbelled chimneys are intact.
This place contains a limestone feature - limestone walls and fence.


John Street was the main road surveyed through the parcel of land granted to Lt. Con. John Bruce in 1857. The land remained undivided and undeveloped until after John Bruce’s death, when his widow arranged for it to be auctioned as residential lots. A land sale was held in October 1890 to dispose of the estate of John Bruce. A large attendance resulted in all 88 lots being sold, for sums ranging from £21 to £102, at an average price of £33/16/0, well above the anticipated price. Towards the end of 1891, the new owners approached the Fremantle Council requesting that scrub be cleared so that they could access their blocks, and it is likely that this is when John Street, which had been marked on survey diagrams from at least 1833, was actually created. The area at this time was known as ‘Brucetown’. Pensioner Road, which ran from Stirling Highway (then Bruce Street) to the ocean and beach along the route of current Tydeman Road between Stirling Highway and the railway, and continuing beyond this point at the same angle, was renamed John Street in the late 1890s, being the continuation of the current John Street. This name remained until towards the end of the twentieth century, when roads were realigned to accommodate the expansion of Fremantle Port, and the current alignment of Tydeman Road was constructed.

The present John Street, from Stirling Highway to the Swan River, developed as a predominantly residential area, with the exception of the Gresham Hotel (to 1934) and the North Fremantle Oval (later Gilbert Fraser Reserve). At the western end of the street a number of prominent homes were built, while the eastern end was characterised by workers cottages. Long residential blocks on the south side of the street, east of the oval, had a number of cottages built along their rear boundary, facing the water. These were reported to have flooded frequently. The street overall fell into disrepair in the decades following World War Two, with many of the larger residences used as boarding houses and the cottages rented out. Many German and Polish migrants took up residence in this period. From the 1980s, gentrification of the area began, with older places either being restored or demolished to construct higher density housing. In the 1990s, most of the older houses at the eastern end of the street were demolished to allow for new waterside developments, most notably Pier 21.

Gresham Hotel was constructed c.1897 and initially listed as Bruce Town Hotel. From 1899, the listing changed to Gresham Hotel, under which it traded until it was delicensed in 1934. James Burrows purchased Lot 41, on which the hotel is located, in 1892 when the area was initially subdivided. Applications in 1894 and 1897 for a liquor license were denied, the second time explicitly because there was insufficient population in the area and the Fremantle Police presence could not be extended to the area. A second application in 1897, by Lizzie Trump, was successful, and it appears that the hotel was constructed immediately, as the place is evident on an 1897 plan of the area. James Burrows was resident at the hotel until 1898. A 1906 article noted the place’s association with football players and spectators at the oval across the road. It also carried a photograph, showing the place as a stone building with brick quoining, with verandahs in place as in 2004, including the arched portico section, and an open-air rectangular pavilion structure forming a small third floor above the portico sections of the front of the building. Rate books records the place as having a 17-room brick hotel and also a four-room stone house.

In 1907, the title for the place was transferred to Florence Emily Carr, and, after her death in 1945, to her husband George Bailey Carr. The Carrs are listed as residents of the hotel until at least 1949. Oral histories record the Carrs as managing the hotel until it cease to function as such. During World War Two, from 1940 to 1945, the hotel was used as Army Officers Quarters. Following the war, it became a boarding house, and was used as such until the 1980s. During most of this period (1948 to 1975) it was owned by Mary Dakas,(later Mary Stephens following her 1965 marriage). When she first owned the place, in 1948, she was listed as a widow resident at 22 John Street.

A 1979 photograph shows the place without its two-storey front verandahs. The 1988 restoration of the place included rebuilding verandahs to match the style of those shown in the 1906 picture of the place.

In 1988, developer Roger Pateman redeveloped the place, together with adjacent Lot 42, site of 14-20 John Street, to create a residential village with old-style character. This redevelopment included restoring the hotel as a luxury residence.

This place was included in the 'North Fremantle Heritage Study' (1994) as a place contributing to the development and heritage of North Fremantle. It was also included in the list of heritage places in the City of Fremantle identified by the Fremantle Society (1979/80) - PURPLE -of architectural and historic significance in its own right.


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


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

Other Keywords

The Fremantle MHI management category for this place was amended and adopted by the decision of Council on 28/09/2011.

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Present Use RESIDENTIAL Two storey residence
Original Use COMMERCIAL Hotel, Tavern or Inn

Architectural Styles

Federation Free Classical

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron
Wall BRICK Common Brick
Wall STONE Limestone

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Cultural activities
DEMOGRAPHIC SETTLEMENT & MOBILITY Land allocation & subdivision

Creation Date

20 Jul 2011

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

22 Mar 2019


This data is provided by the City of Fremantle. While every care is taken to ensure the accuracy of this data, the City of Fremantle makes no representations or warranties about its accuracy, reliability, completeness or suitability for any particular purpose and disclaims all responsibility and all liability (including without limitation, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages (including indirect or consequential damage) and costs which you might incur as a result of the data being inaccurate or incomplete in any way and for any reason. Under no circumstances should this data be used to carry out any work without first contacting the City of Fremantle for the appropriate confirmation and approval.