Round House

----The Round House (coord|32|3|22|S|115|44|29|E|type:landmark_region:AU) is the oldest building still standing in Western Australia. [ [ Heritage Council of Western Australia :: Round House and Arthur Head Reserve ] ] It is located at Arthur Head in Fremantle, and recent heritage assessments and appraisals of the precinct of the Round House incorporate Arthur Head [ [ Heritage Council of Western Australia :: Round House and Arthur Head Reserve - Comprehensive Report ] ]

It was built in 1830, and designed by Henry Willey Reveley it was the first permanent building in the Swan River Colony.

Intended as a prison, it had eight cells and a jailer's residence, all of which opened onto a central courtyard. The design was based on the Panopticon, a type of prison designed by philosopher Jeremy Bentham. [ [ The Round House Gaol: Western Australia's first lunatic asylum.] ]

It was used for colonial and indigenous prisoners until 1886, when control of the Convict Establishment prison (now Fremantle Prison) was transferred to the colony. After that, the smaller Round House was used as a police lockup until 1900, when it became the living quarters for the chief constable and his family. [ Conole, Peter. and Graeme Sisson (2005) "Policing in the Round House". including details of Constable Thomas Powers who lived in the building in 1898. Newsbeat (, July/Aug. 2005, p. 16.]

The Fremantle City Council took over responsibility for the Round House in 1982, and it was opened to the public shortly afterwards. Currently it opens to the public seven days a week. Entry is by gold coin donation.


Further reading

* Davidson, Dianne.(2001) "The rescue of the round house". Newsletter (Fremantle History Society), Summer, 2001, p. 1-3,
* Scott, Peter.(1989) "Hiding history : The Round House". (Aboriginal imprisonment in the Round House). "Murdoch ethos", p. 37-50, ("essays in Australian history in honour of Foundation Professor Geoffrey Bolton"edited by Rae Frances and Bruce Scates. Murdoch, W.A.: Murdoch University.
* Webb, David and Warren, David (2005) "Fremantle : beyond the Round House" Fremantle, W.A. Longley Books.

External links

* Heritage Council Library bibliography of books, reports and studies 1984 to 2006

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