City of Fremantle

Place Number



130 Stirling Hwy North Fremantle

Location Details

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1929

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
(no listings)

Statement of Significance

The Former Ford Motor Company Factory, is a rendered brick large volume factory with single storey office area attached constructed in 1929. The place has aesthetic value for its contribution to the streetscape and strong landmark qualities. The place is a fine example of the Inter War Stripped Classical style of architecture. The place has historic and social significance as a long standing place of employment in the North Fremantle area. It was one of a number of standard factories developed throughout Australia and elsewhere in the 1920s as car ownership became more popular and affordable and was one of the very few if not the only car manufacturers in Western Australia.

Physical Description

Large volume factory with single storey office area attached. The former Ford Factory building is constructed of rendered masonry with large expanses of small pane windows. The factory frontage is dominant on the Stirling Highway frontage. It has a large pyramidal shaped parapet wall. It presents a classical balance of horizontal banding and vertical brick pilasters former by the recessed vertical glazed panels. In contrast to the dominant factory frontage, the offices provide a horizontal counterbalance. The single storey office frontage is as for the factory frontage, symmetrical and classically proportioned. The entrance is centrally located and recessed with a flat suspended canopy over it. A mosaic tile rectangular detail located in the parapet responds to the geometric shaped detail in the gable parapet of the factory front. Although now painted over the building is red brick with stone and stucco horizontal banding. It is an example of the Inter war Stripped Classical style of architecture. An external Heritage Assessment was prepared in March 2010 by Heritage and Conservation Professionals for a DA submission to Council (DA0725/09) for partial demolition of a rear portion of the building.


The portion of Stirling Highway to the north of Queen Victoria Street was originally part of Perth Road. The area developed with mixed residential, commercial and industrial uses from the 1860s following the construction of the North Fremantle Traffic Bridge and the upgrading of Perth Road by convicts. The portion of Stirling Highway that runs between the Swan River and the junction with Queen Victoria Street was formerly called Bruce Street. It was named after Colonel Bruce, head of the Pensioner Guards. In the early days of North Fremantle’s development, the favoured residential area for settlement was slightly west of the North Fremantle oval and named ‘Brucetown’. Settlement of North Fremantle began in earnest in the late 1890s and Bruce Street was characterised by a mix of building types. On the southern side of the street between Queen Victoria Street (formerly Perth Road) and Tydeman Road (formerly Pensioner Road and then John Street), the buildings were predominantly residential. Industrial use was more common on the northern side. Stirling Bridge was constructed across the Swan River at the end of Bruce Street in 1974. As Bruce Street was now the major arterial link between the bridge and Stirling Highway, the street was widened and renamed as an extension of Stirling Highway. In recent years, new high-density residential development of the areas adjacent to the river on either side of Stirling Highway has seen a significant change in the mix of buildings in the southern section of Stirling Highway. In 2004, the street continues to have a mix of residential, retail and industrial land use. In 1929, the Ford Motor Company had a factory built in North Fremantle. The factory was built to a standard Ford design, but did include the involvement of local architects, Oldham Boas and Ednie Brown. The building’s modernist design influences place it at the forefront of factory design in Western Australia at the time. Ford in Australia was part of Ford (Canada) as tariffs were not raised against imports from other Commonwealth countries. At the time, Australia was a good market for cars, with the third highest per capita ownership behind the United States and Canada. The Fremantle site was chosen because of its proximity to Fremantle Harbour, the railway line and roads. Chassis were sent by sea from Geelong in Victoria (Ford’s largest factory in Australia) and the bodies were shipped from Canada. Later, cars were shipped ready made from Melbourne and, as cars now only required a clean and spray of paint where they had been damaged, staff numbers were reduced. According to workers, the Fremantle factory followed the Ford Motor Company principles of working to the clock and the glass front of the office allowed management to keep an eye on the workers. The factory operated until 1987 when it was sold to Alan and John McGillvary of the Mac’s food centres. They initially planned to turn the factory into shops and housing, with part of the building used as a museum. However, their plans changed and in 1988, Brewtech (Matilda Bay Brewery) submitted an application to the City of Fremantle to use the existing ex-warehouse (Ford Motors) as a brewery warehouse, office and visitors’ centre. The works involved the relocation of sales, marketing and warehousing to the site, involving the construction of cool rooms and refurbishment of the existing offices, construction of brewery plant (including new site access and refurbishment of the existing building) and construction of a visitors’ centre. Previously located in Nedlands, in 1988 Matilda Bay Brewing’s speciality beer market was one of the fastest growing in Australia. In 1996, the site was short listed in the Fremantle Awards New Development Category. The place has been identified by the Heritage Council of Western Australia as being worthy of consideration for entry in the State Register of Heritage Places (March 2004). 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) - RED -significant for contributing to the unique character of Fremantle. An external Heritage Assessment was prepared in March 2010 by Heritage and Conservation Professionals for a DA submission to Council (DA0725/09) for partial demolition of a rear portion of the building.


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).


Name Type Year From Year To
Oldham Boas and Ednie Brown Architect - -

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific

Architectural Styles

Inter-War Stripped Classical

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron
Wall BRICK Rendered Brick
Wall GLASS Glass

Historic Themes

General Specific
OCCUPATIONS Manufacturing & processing

Creation Date

20 Jul 2011

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

22 Mar 2019


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.