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City of Fremantle

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


9-23 High St Fremantle

Location Details

Other Name(s)

Oustons Building

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1903

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.

Classified by the National Trust Classified 28 Oct 1974

Heritage Council
Register of the National Estate Permanent 21 Mar 1978

Heritage Council

Statement of Significance

The place is of historic significance as an example of a commercial building in the Old Port City of Fremantle dating from the gold boom period in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The place is significant because, when viewed from the street, it is a substantially intact example of a commercial building which contributes to the very significant Old Port City of Fremantle. Social significance for associations with the Roma Restaurant established in the 1940s and representative of the role of the Italian community in the commercial development of Fremantle. The place is of social significance as evidenced by its classification by the National Trust.

Physical Description

Two storey rendered building, separated on the façade by pilasters with ashlar effect, separating the building into eight sections. There is zero setback from the pavement. A roof parapet exits above the moulded cornice over nos. 9,11,13,15, 17 &19 (missing over 21) with low pier balustrading and two pediments. The centre pediment has the 'Owston's Buildings' name and 1903 imprinted in the stucco. The arched windows on the first floor have stucco architraves; the ground floor shop fronts have largely been altered. Pressed metal underside of the verandah is appropriate to the era, but possibly not original.

A Heritage Assessment was prepared in Aug 2009 by Philip Griffiths Architects for a DA submission to Council (DA0369/09) for retrospective approval of installation of an air conditioning unit.


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.
Captain William Owston established the firm of Pearse and Owston, shipowners and importers of Eastern produce. The firm owned a number of vessels, including some coastal ships. Lots 31 & 32 were owned jointly in 1876 by William Owston, W. S. Pearse and George Pearse. The 1880 records show Pearse and Owston also owning portions of lot 19. At Owston's death in 1903 the property passed to William Mason Owston, his grandson (1881-1946).
The complex was constructed on the site of the old Sandover building and was complete in 1903. Designed by F. W. Burwell and built by R. Rennie, there were eight shops on the ground floor and six flats above them, originally with a spacious two storey verandah on two sides.
From the 1940s to c2005, 9-13 was Roma Restaurant (established c1940 in Fremantle by Frank and Nella Abrugiato and family). This was run by the same family until its closure and in its time became a much-loved Fremantle ‘institution.’
In 2002, 15 was Life Editions Bookbinders; 17 was Marine Surveyors, Magazines & Journals, Tax Accountants & Graphic Design; 19 not in use; 21-23 was Notre Dame University.
In 2009, No 19 is Blink Cafe.


May be remains of Sandover Building.




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.

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


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

Architectural Styles

Federation Academic Classical
Federation Free Classical

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall BRICK Common Brick
Wall RENDER Smooth
Wall BRICK Pointed Brick
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron
Wall STONE Limestone
Wall STONE Other Stone

Historic Themes

General Specific
PEOPLE Famous & infamous people
OCCUPATIONS Commercial & service industries

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

21 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.