As we are coming to the last days in Fremantle, we decided to do some Tourist visits and settled on the Fremantle Prison. The cost is $21 per adult for one of their 3 tours that last an hour and a quarter. You can do a tour of the tunnels beneath the Prison but that is more expensive. I would have liked to do the ‘True Crimes’ tour that shares a bit about the people that were imprisoned there, but we decided to try our luck and see what the next tour was when we arrived. It was the ‘Behind Bars’ tour, which delves into the history of the Prison as a Maximum Security Prison from 1887 to 1991. You get to walk through the Prison and Excercise Yards and get a bit of an understanding of the daily life for the Prisoners. Very, very interesting. I love this kind of thing. It is challenging and shocking as well and really makes you value your life and your freedom, that is for sure.
It was bad conditions for people living there in 1887, but trying to grasp that it was still running like this in 1991 is truly shocking. It really was basic and primitive.
They had built a new cell block in 1907 – so although it is called ‘New Division’, it really did not feel new. It was very strange to learn that they rent cells out in the New Cell Block as offices! It had such an awful atmosphere in there and was cold and hard, I just can’t imagine paying to work out of one of the tiny cold cement cells. I kind of get it if they did it all up, but it still felt like a prison from 1907.
The Women’s excercise area was really small, they had a short walking area only and they only let one woman out at a time. So different to the communal areas for men that had sport equipment, basketball, tennis and even TV available. Not sure why it was so different for the women. Not saying that the men’s recreational areas were particularly nice, but still way better. Many of the women were arrested just for being drunk or using offensive language (kind of glad I didn’t live in those times or I might have been one of the Women we learnt about on the Tour)! The Women’s Division closed at Fremantle in 1970 and Female Prisoners were moved to a new facility at Bandyup. I just can’t believe that Women were living in those cells and had no recreational yard, and no communal area right up until 1970. Crazy and sad.
I liked seeing some of the artwork that the Prisoners did on the walls of some of the cells as well as in the Exercise Yards.
Another shocking fact, was they tried to introduce chemical port-a-loos into the cells in the 70s but this only lasted a couple of days, as the inmates worked out that the chemicals were alcohol based and started drinking the chemical out of the toilets!!!!!!!!!!! Ewwwwwwwwwww. So they went back to using the buckets.
Afterwards I sat and watched a movie made in 1991 of the daily lives of the Prisoners. It was really fascinating to see the Prison runnning and the places we had just walked through in use. But so bizarre. Walking through the Prison it felt like it was from the olden days, I just couldn’t believe it still housed people in 1991, but the facilities felt like they belonged in the early 1900s!!
Really sad to see how people lived and I am very thankful not to have had to experience it personally. Certainly makes you appreciate your life and your freedom. But a very interesting tour none-the-less. If you go, it is definitely worth sitting in the ‘Visitor Area’ and watching the video they have running after you finish your tour. It really puts into perspective seeing all those areas in use by the Prisoners in 1991.
In the evening we went for a drive to a pizza place at a place called ‘Little C’s’ in Sorrento, at the Sorrento Quay Hillarys Boat Harbour. On the way there we stopped to look at a beautiful new Beach Pool that has been built in Scarborough and it is beautiful. Also really reasonably priced.
We got to Little C’s, and the Pizzas were great and you can sit outside overlooking the water. They had a huge selection and some really different options. As Raegan’s family are Gluten intolerant, we ate Gluten Free Pizzas and the base was really yummy. One of the unusual choices we tried was a Teryaki Chicken, Dill Pickle, Sesame and Japanese Mayo – so yummy. But they had a huge choice, great Vegetarian selection, including a halloumi pizza, you could also get Vegan cheese, so they cater for everyone. They also do some really yummy and unusual dessert pizzas too.