Fremantle Society Photographic Survey

This page is part of the Fremantle Society Photographic Survey.

This survey was undertaken in the late 1970s and early '80s by the Fremantle Society, and aimed to collect a comprehensive collection of photos of Fremantle buildings in order to assess and promote the built heritage of the city.

All photos are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

In 1978 the Fremantle Society conducted a comprehensive photographic survey of the buildings of Fremantle, Western Australia. This page documents the survey and links to further details of the 3,616 photos, all of which have been scanned and uploaded here to FreoWiki.


Photo groups

Most of the photos are grouped by street, but some are by area or storage method. Individual places (streets and buildings etc.) also will have their own pages (soon!) so that e.g. a front photo and side photo are not split up between different streets' pages.

Original Survey

One of the recording sheets used for field data entry.

The survey began in 1978 under the coordination of Ralph Hoare, with the aim to "create an indexed photographic record of all the residential and other buildings that currently exist in Fremantle, west of the proposed Easten Bypass and excluding the Central Business District, which is already substantially recorded." (from the participant information sheet).


The photographers were given sheets such as the one shown at right, and followed the following instructions:

Stand directly in front of the house on the footpath opposite, that you are going to photograph. If a tree or parked car is obscuring the photograph move to one side until an acceptable photo will result — use your discretion.

The next house to photograph will be the house on the right of the house you just photographed as you face them. Repeat this proceedure until you reach a corner. Continue around the corner by taking another photograph of the corner house. Then continue to photograph the next house on the right, etc.

Repeat these proceedures until you have moved completely around the cell you are photographing. Now move on to the next cell and repeat the whole proceedure until you have photographed hte whole section.

NOTE: You are photographing the cell in an anti-clockwise direction. Photograph all houses old or new, good or bad condition, pretty or ugly.


1. Red dot with black slash
Buildings of outstanding or unusual character and architectural significance. These were to be recommended to the National Trust for immediate classification, and recommended for inclusion on a Council Register.
2. Red dot
Buildings which should be preserved because of their contribution to the unique character of Fremantle. These were to be recommended for inclusion on a Council Register.
3. Brown dot
Buildings which should be included on a Council Register of buildings to be preserved because of their potential to be evaluated to 'red dot' classification.
4. Black dot
Buildings that offer little or no contribution to the unique character of Fremantle.
5. Yellow dot
Buildings which do not, strictly speaking, fall into category 1, 2, or 3 but which contribute positively to the built environment. These are mainly houses of the Federation period, early 20th Century buildings whose form and materials fit well with the earlier architecture. Some interesting modern buildings are included in this category.
6. Green dot next to one of the above
These are buildings which were already classified or recorded by the National Trust. Many of these buildings lost their recorded status when the Trust changed to a single classification. Many buildings which were classified when the survey was done are not identified in this way.


The survey area was divided into 21 Sections, each of which was subdivided into about half a dozen Cells.


In 2012 the Fremantle Society started digitising the collection of prints of photos from the survey, and uploading and cataloguing them on Wikimedia Commons. In 2017 the photos were removed from Commons (for legal reasons) and added to ArchivesWiki, and then in 2022 moved again to FreoWiki. These photos are available on the street-list pages listed at the top of this page; many have not yet got their metadata added fully (you can help with this!) and so do not yet appear on the section-lists nor on the maps.


The {{FSPS photo}} template is added to the description field of every photo.

The photos were originally stored in 9 small green cardboard photograph boxes, the prints edgeways and with nothing separating them. They were ordered by street name and then roughly by street number (i.e. generally zigzagging down roads), with card dividers separating the streets. The street name and number; classification triple of section, cell, and roll number; and year were written on the back of each photo. Not all photos have all these fields; some have none at at all.

Some photos have extra information written on them. This is either added to the filenames, or if there's lots (or it's illegible) the verso is scanned separately. In most cases, the filename can be assumed to contain the entire available information and nothing extra.

The current digitisation process is as follows:

  1. The photos are removed from these boxes, from front to back.
  2. Scanned to PNG at 1200 dpi.
  3. The files are given MediaWiki-safe file names based on the metadata from the back of the photos. The filenames are of the form FSPS [Street Name] [accession number], [Description, generally house number], [codes], [year].png (note that accession order is not quite the same as street-number order, but is pretty close).
  4. Then, the photos are inserted into clear polypropylene (Albox brand) sleeves, four to a page.
  5. These sleeves are then stored in 3-ring polypropylene binders with slip cases (~60 sleeves per binder, or 240 photos), and stored at the Fremantle Local History Collection at the Fremantle Library (in two boxes, folder 1–8 in the first and 9–15 in the second).

The following templates are used on this wiki to describe the various parts of the collection:

  • {{FSPS photo}} — each photo of the archive (mostly used on File namespace pages, but some photos have multiple images and so get their own mainspace page)
  • {{FSPS folder}} — each archive folder
  • {{FSPS street}} — every street (as defined by the survey; doesn't necessarily match exactly to streets)
  • {{FSPS section}} — the original survey sections
  • {{FSPS banner}} — used on every other template to provide easier navigation
  • {{FSPS classification key}} — explanation of the original coloured sticker classification system

See also