1889 - First female occupancy of Fremantle Prison's Female Division

The north-west corner of Fremantle Prison was walled off and addition buildings constructed; this became the Female Division (Women's Prison). Women from Perth Prison were transferred here. 

 

1909 - Second story added 

The gold rush caused Western Australia's population to increase, as did prisoner numbers. A second story was added to the eastern cell range and an addition made to the kitchen of the Female division.

 

1909 - Execution of Martha Rendell

Fremantle Prison's most well known female prisoner was Martha Rendell, who spent 20 days in the Women's Prison in 1909 while she awaited execution for the murder of her stepchild. Martha Rendell was the only woman at Fremantle Prison to be executed.
Read her full story on our website.

 

1931 - Escape of Estelle Williams

18 year old Estelle Williams escaped from Fremantle Prison. Estelle climbed on the roof of a building in the Female Division and over the perimeter wall where she jumped 10 feet to the ground.
Read her full story on our website.

1950 - Escape of Mary Indich

24 year old Mary Indich escaped from Fremantle Prison in 1950 to seek medical treatment for a condition that she believed the prison was ignoring and refusing to treat.
Read her full story on our website.
 

1969-1970 - Prisoners transferred to Bandyup

The Women's Prison and the female prisoners and staff were transferred to the newly constructed Bandyup Prison. The Women's Prison had its perimeter walls raised and was absorbed by Fremantle Prison as the Prisoner Assessment Education. It had a library, school room, offices and a small kitchen, and art classes for prisoners were also held in this section. 

1985 - The Attempted Escape of Peg Leg Pete

The prisoner known as Peg Leg Pete entered Fremantle Prison in 1958 for violent crimes. He attempted to escape from the Assessment Centre in the former Women's Prison using diversionary tactics.
Read his full story on our website.

 

1990 - Significance of Fremantle Prison Investigated

Research was conducted by The Fremantle Prison Conservation and Future Use Project from 1988 - 1990 into the history and significance of Fremantle Prison. The recommendation was to conserve the prison as a significant heritage site, which the State Government accepted.

 

1991 - Fremantle Prison Closes

Prisoners and staff of Fremantle Prison were transferred to the new maximum security prison 20km south of Perth, and Fremantle Prison closed.

1992 - Fremantle Prison becomes a tourist attraction

The prison began its development into one of the state's majority historic heritage sites, and a tourist operator was granted permission to offer tours of the prison to the paying public.

 

2010 - World Heritage Listed

Fremantle Prison was inscribed on to UNESCO's World Heritage List, along with ten other Australian Convict Sites. Fremantle Prison is presently the only World Heritage listed building in WA. 

 

2013 - The Women's Prison gets a new purpose

The Department of Finance agreed to lease the former Women's Prison to YHA in 2013 for use as short stay tourist accommodation.

 

2015 - Fremantle Prison YHA officially opens