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City of Fremantle

Place Number

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32 High St Fremantle

Location Details

26-36 High st

Other Name(s)

Adelec Buildings

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1906

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

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

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.

Register of the National Estate Permanent 21 Mar 1978

Heritage Council
Classified by the National Trust Classified 28 Oct 1974

Heritage Council

Statement of Significance

Fothergill's Building, 32 High Street a two storey rendered and iron commercial building constructed in 1906 in the Federation Free Classical style of Architecture, is of heritage significance for the following reasons;

the place is of historic significance as a fine example of a commercial building in the West End of Fremantle dating from the gold boom period in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and;

for its associations with the prominent Fothergill family and the architect F. W. Burwell;

the place is of aesthetic significance because, when viewed from the street, it is a substantially intact example of a commercial building which contributes to the very significant West End Conservation Area in Fremantle; and,

the place is of social significance as evidenced by its classification by the National Trust and it contributes to the community’s sense of place.

Physical Description

Fothergill's Building, 32 High Street is a two storey corner building designed in the Federation Free Classical style of architecture. The walls are rendered and have ashlar effect engaged pilasters with decorative capitols. There is a corrugated iron hipped roof behind the parapet. There is a boxed awning along the High Street and Henry Streets facades which is not original.

The ground floor as a truncation across the corner and has ashlar effect pilasters separating each shop. Generally, the shop fronts have been altered, however the shop at 28 appears partially original.

The first floor has decorative engaged pilasters aside pairs of arched stucco with keystone above the semi circular fanlight with a pair timber casement windows below. The name ‘Adelec Buildings’ appears in the parapet.

A Heritage Assessment was prepared in July 2010 by the City of Fremantle for a DA submission to Council for replacing the existing awning with a verandah and for the building to be known again as the ‘Fothergill Building’. The name was changed accordingly from Adelec Buildings back to Fothergill's Building in the MHI database in 2010.


High Street was named by Surveyor General Roe - as was customary in English towns, the main street of the town was named High Street. Eastward from William Street the roadway was completed by convict labour after the Town Hall was built in 1887. High Street around the Town Hall closed to traffic in 1966. The High Street Mall was trialled in November 1973 and made a permanent pedestrian mall in 1975.
The property was originally owned by Capt. Edward Henry Fothergill, merchant and mariner. The trustees of his estate undertook the construction of the building known as the Fothergill Building (later, until 2010, known as Adelec Buildings). As the architect F W Burwell invited tenders for new premises to be erected and subsequently the building was commenced in 1906 and was built by J. McGrackin.
The building covered an area of 90 feet by 65 feet and was constructed with a bluestone base and brick walls. The High Street frontage consisted of large shops and the entrance to the offices was through a tiled entrance hall.
Mr. F. W. Burwell, architect, was first listed in 1896 in the partnership of Ross & Burwell in Perth and Fremantle, after having previously practiced in Melbourne. In 1900, he was listed in his own practice in Mouat Street, and the following year he was listed in partnership as Burwell & McNeece, also in Fremantle. Burwell was still in practice in Fremantle in 1912 and was responsible for a wide variety of buildings including; shops and offices, private residences and churches.
Two archival photos show a portion of the original verandah and a decorative pediment which are no longer extant.
A Heritage Assessment was prepared in July 2010 by the City of Fremantle for a DA submission to Council for replacing the existing awning with a verandah and for the building to be known again as the ‘Fothergill Building’. The name was changed accordingly from Adelec Buildings back to Fothergill's Building in the MHI database in 2010.


Medium degree of integrity (original intent partially clear, current use compatible, high long term sustainability).
Medium to 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).


Name Type Year From Year To
Frederick William Burwell Architect - -

Other Keywords

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

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
5238 Building inspection and report : Marich Buildings (corner of High and Henry Streets, Fremantle) / Julie Packer & Carolyn Wadley. Report 1992
5237 Report on the physical and documentary evidence on the existing building on Fremantle Town Lot 600 P, Certificate of Title volume 301, folio 58, The Marich buildings, 38-50 High Street, Fremantle. Heritage Study {Other} 1995
5250 Property report index : 44/46, 48, 50 High Street, Fremantle / Ron Farris Real Estate. Report 1996

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Present Use COMMERCIAL Office or Administration Bldg
Other Use COMMERCIAL Shopping Complex
Original Use COMMERCIAL Shopping Complex
Original Use COMMERCIAL Shop\Retail Store {single}

Architectural Styles

Federation Free Classical

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall BRICK Rendered Brick
Wall STONE Limestone
Wall RENDER Other Render

Historic Themes

General Specific
OCCUPATIONS Commercial & service industries

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

31 Dec 2016


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.