|'Urban ghosts' site|
|South Fremantle Power Station|
|Power station interiors|
Fremantle, in Cockburn Sound, rose as an industrial centre after a lime kiln was established there in 1831. A railway, abattoir, and skin drying sheds followed and the area grew to handle much of Perth’s heavy industry.
The art deco style South Fremantle Power Station is heritage listed. The coal-fired electric power generating station first fired up in January 1951. It was the second and largest purpose-built power station in Western Australia, employing over 250 workers, but the decline of coal-fired power and the increased demand for residential housing led to its closure in September 1985, and its machinery was stripped away leaving the building shell.
Its four imposing chimneys were demolished and the building has since been gutted by vandals. However, it has some notable architectural features. Tunnels that run below the station but authorities have sealed and blocked them up. The interior is a curious mixture of vast open spaces and seemingly out of place decorative fixtures, dominated by the sweeping grand main staircase and enormous tall windows, while the omnipresent graffiti that has left no surface untouched adds a counter-intuitively pleasing splash of colour to the scene.
Following the privatisation of electricity generation in Western Australia, Verve Energy became the owners of the building. The site is apparently being considered for an Arts/Cultural Centre with the focus on a redevelopment of the site, but no action has yet taken place.