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City of Fremantle

Place Number

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49-59 High St Fremantle

Location Details

Other Name(s)


Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1899, Constructed from 1887

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
RHP - Does not warrant assessment Current 27 Oct 2017

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

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. The place is of social significance as evidenced by its classification by the National Trust. Awning and shop fronts are not significant.

Physical Description

Two storey rendered row of conjoined and corner shops, nos 51-57 are similar in design; a decorative parapet with balustrade, engaged pilasters aesthetically separating the shops and timber sash windows with stucco architraves. The ground floor has pressed metal lining under the veranda awning.
The first floor façade on No. 49 has a decorative parapet with engaged pilasters, a central and left side window, and no window exits on the right side.


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.

According to National Trust assessment documentation, the original town lot 106 (Nos. 51-57) was the site of the Stag's Head Inn from 1834.

Extensive research by City of Fremantle Local History staff in 2013 shows that No 49 was built in 1887, and Nos 51-59 was built by 1899.

No. 49 appears in the rate books as a new building in 1887 (originally No 69). It was for William Hooper, business, watchmaker, jeweller and optician. He had earlier established himself in the same line of business in Barrack Street in 1881.

Post Office Directories show several businesses operating between Henry and Pakenham Streets by 1893. Apart from Hooper, there was a boarding house run by John Waldron, S & R Edwards, drapers, and George Edwards, storekeeper.

By 1895, John Church & Co, merchants were operating in this location alongside S & R Edwards, Drapers, and when numbers were assigned to businesses in High Street (c 1900), this was listed as No 77.

By 1899 the other shops are listed in the post office directory, suggesting the large building, now 51-59 High Street, was built by 1899. Original occupants were:
71: Stephens, Mrs Anne R, restaurant
73: Rendell, William, bootmaker
75: Evans, Ephraim E, draper
77: Church & Co (John), merchants

Originally 51-59 High Street was not adjoined with No. 49. An early photograph (c1888, appearing in Dorothy Erickson's "Gold and silversmithing in Western Australia', p 54) shows that Hooper’s business was in a stand-alone, two storey building with verandahs and balcony, with wrought iron Federation Filigree details.

By 1916 all buildings between Henry and Pakenham Streets are adjoined, as shown in Sewerage map No 54, in the Fremantle Local History Collection.

The place is known as the Ajax Building because Ajax Furnishing Company operated their business from it between 1955 and 1981.

Currently (2013), various retail and commercial uses.


On the site of the fmr Stags Head Inn.



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
11686 AJAX Building 45 - 59 High Street, Fremantle : conservation management plan Electronic 2019

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


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

Architectural Styles

Federation Free Classical

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall BRICK Common Brick
Wall RENDER Smooth
Wall STONE Limestone

Historic Themes

General Specific
OCCUPATIONS Commercial & service industries
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Sport, recreation & entertainment
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Community services & utilities

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.