Princess Theatre (fmr)


City of Fremantle

Place Number



29-33 Market St Fremantle

Location Details

Cnr Leake St Associated with 953 - BIDDLES BLDG, PRINCESS BLDG

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1912

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Heritage List YES 08 Mar 2007

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Register of the National Estate Permanent 21 Mar 1978
Classified by the National Trust Classified 01 May 1974
Municipal Inventory Adopted 18 Sep 2000 Level 1B

Statement of Significance

This place is of historic and social significance as a former theatre and subsequently cinema which provided entertainment for the people of Fremantle until its closure in 1957. The place is a fine example of a Federation Free Classical style building, with elaborate stucco decoration above the ground floor level, that makes a significant contribution to the streetscape.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 highly decorative, rendered and truncated corner building with a zero setback from the pavement. The building has a bracketed and balustrade parapet, with decorative engaged low pilasters. The ground floor has a bull nosed veranda extending into Leake Street, number 29 & 31 has a verandah awning (probably not original). The first floor features; engaged balustrade below the stucco architraves, and pilasters surrounding the arched sash windows, which have six paned transom lights. Engaged Corinthian pilasters divide the pairs of windows and there is decorative stucco over the arches to the cornice.


A two storey hotel, the Racehorse Hotel, was managed by Paterson and Cornish c1850s. It was reported as the principal building in Leake Street (No 2) in 1869. Whilst the rates records do not appear to make any reference to the Racehorse Hotel, a number of oral histories and newspaper references locate it on part of the Princess Theatre site. An arcade from the hotel lead to the theatre. Reference is made to the owners Cornish and Paterson in 1856-59, who were reported to be the managers of the hotel. Rates records indicate residences on lot 125 & 126 from 1880. The Princess Theatre was built in 1912. Whilst the building facade creates the impression of being a separate building, it is an extension of the Princess Chambers adjacent. An arcade originally gave access to the Princess Theatre behind (brick warehouse building at 2 Leake Street). The former Princess Theatre was designed by John McNeece & Co and built by Mr C. Moore. It was erected for Captain F. Biddles at a cost of £7, 000. In 1915 Capt Biddles made the basement of the Princess Theatre available to provide amenities for army and naval personnel. This was the early beginnings of the RSA, later to become known as the RSL. A more permanent structure was built the following year nearby. The building was extensively rebuilt in 1941. In 1969, after 57 years, the Princess Theatre screened its last film. The building was then converted to commercial use. The auditorium built on Lots 24, 125 & 126 became a panel beater's shop. Currently (2002), various retail outlets.




Name Type Year From Year To
John McNeece and Son Architect - -

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
11459 Picture Palaces of the Golden West Book 2016

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Original Use SOCIAL\RECREATIONAL Theatre or Cinema
Present Use COMMERCIAL Shopping Complex
Other Use COMMERCIAL Office or Administration Bldg

Architectural Styles

Federation Free Classical

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall RENDER Smooth
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron
Wall BRICK Common Brick

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Sport, recreation & entertainment

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

21 Mar 2019


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