City of Fremantle

Place Number



18 Fothergill St Fremantle

Location Details

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1898, Constructed from 1908

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Heritage List YES 08 Mar 2007

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Municipal Inventory Adopted 18 Sep 2000 Level 1A

Statement of Significance

House, 18 Fothergill Street is included in the precinct listing for Forthergill Street Precinct. The houses and streetscape of the historic precinct have a strong collective and visually cohesive aesthetic presence, reflecting a narrow range of late nineteenth and early twentieth century architectural styles and palette of materials that form a significant streetscape. The precinct is an almost complete example of an early twentieth century streetscape, the historic precinct is a good historical record of how Western Australians lived in the early years of the twentieth century, and the way in which the residences of the elite, the middle class and the working class existed side by side in that period. The historic precinct demonstrates changing demographics, the need for replacing deteriorating material, changing technology, and changes in lifestyle without the loss of the overall Federation period character. The precinct also reflects a pattern of development whereby pressures for higher density development led to the area’s decline, and the subsequent removal of this pressure saw significant conservation and development of the area. Residents of the historic precinct, Sir Henry Briggs, Edith Higham and her husband, J. J. Higham; and George Henderson and George Thorpe, who built five of the residences at the north side of the street, and Frederick Instone, who built 30 Solomon Street, are all significant Fremantle figures. The newer street fences, additions to houses, street trees, pavements and replacement materials generally are of little significance. The house at 27b and the adjacent vacant land at 27a have little significance. This statement of significance was taken from the Heritage Council of Western Australia’s Register Entry for the Fothergill Street Precinct (June 2004).

Physical Description

18 Fothergill Street is one of three identical houses built by Henderson and Thorpe in the Federation Bungalow style. The others are at 20 and 22 Fothergill Street. Each house is a single storey tuck pointed brick and ashlar limestone front and random rubble side wall construction house, with a steeply pitched roof and separately pitched verandah roof. Each presents a gable roof over the principal front room to the street and has a return front and side verandah, with the main entry set at the end of the side verandah. The rear sections of the original houses are constructed in random rubble limestone with brick arches and quoins and hipped corrugated iron roofs and tall rendered chimneys. Over the course of time, each house has been subject to change in a variety of minor ways, leaving the overall relationship between the three houses abundantly clear. There is a low brick and pipe railing fence along the front boundary to number 18. The house is built on the western boundary and 20 Fothergill Street is built on the eastern boundary leaving space for a driveway between this property and the house. There is a narrow front garden separating the house from the boundary. The side of the house is taken up by a concrete driveway. There is a single cypress street tree. A set of steps leads up to a wooden floor side verandah. The front of the house is asymmetrically arranged with the front room and its broken pedimented gable being the dominant element, replete with semicircular gable vent and sunburst pattern gable timbers. The verandah, which extends along the front of the building and down the east side to the main entry, is separately pitched off a wall plate and is supported at its perimeter on rendered masonry piers, with tuck pointed brick tops. The house roof is hipped and gabled with a corrugated iron roof and a tall roughcast rendered chimney on the eastern side of the house. The boundary wall to the west has a blind niche. The front wall retains its ashlar limestone walls, tuck pointed brick quoins and arches, with stucco sills. The side walls are random rubble brickwork. The windows to the original section of the front section of the house are all single pane double hung sashes in a group of three with single windows to other rooms. The front door is panelled and glazed with sidelights and a hopper light over the door and all the glazed panels are filled with stained glass leadlights. The verandah has rendered brick balustrade with a stepped motif that is indicative of Inter War design and construction. A framed construction addition has been attached to the rear of the house. The appearance of the house has been altered by the loss of the original balustrade, the construction of a brick fence, loss of some timber detail, the installation of a driveway, and painting of some stonework, and the construction of an addition. Fothergill Street Precinct comprises 11 residences and one vacant lot in Fothergill Street, Fremantle, between Solomon Street and Swanbourne Street, the majority of which were constructed in the decade 1898-1908, of limestone and brick with iron roofs, though some of them now have zincalume or tiled roofs. Fothergill Street rises at a steady gradient from Hampton Road as it reaches its steepest gradients in the Solomon to Swanbourne Street section, falling away across the historic precinct from north to south also. The most striking overall initial impression of this section of the street is its visual harmony and the fact that all but two houses are, in the main, constructed of materials and in the style of the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, the Federation period. One of the exceptions is 28 Solomon Street, which on the surface appears much later, but elements of the fabric including the location in close proximity to boundaries and cast iron wall vents betray the age of the underlying fabric. The other residence that differs from the main aesthetic themes is near the top of Fothergill Street at 27b and this is an eclectic style building of the late 1960s and later, which contrasts sharply with the other residences in the street in terms of its relation to its boundaries, height, massing and architectural language. 27a is yet to be developed and remains a vacant lot. Fothergill Street has a roughly east west orientation, with all but the two houses on Solomon Street having their fronts facing Fothergill Street. The street itself is a wide bituminised road, wide enough for a carriageway in each direction and kerbside parking on both sides of the road. There are tanalith (Chrome copper arsenic or CCA) treated power poles on the northern side of the street and footpaths on both sides. The northern footpath is concrete and the southern side is mainly bitumen paved. There is no consistent street tree planting and there appear to be two types of elm at intervals, together with callistemons as verge plantings, together with other assorted tree types. In front of many of the houses there are additional plantings such as Vinca, Pelargoniums, Alyssum and the like, that add to the richness of the streetscape. Fences of a variety of types, retaining walls, or the buildings themselves delineate all front and side boundaries. The eastern end of the street terminates on a section of Stevens Reserve on Swanbourne Street that is not highly developed or cultivated, while the western end crosses Hampton Road and runs alongside the Fremantle Prison and terminates at Fremantle Oval, and reveals fine views of the city of Fremantle. The street is a residential subdivision, with all lots laid out along the contours, with a north-south orientation along the long axis of the rectangular lots. All houses remain in use as residences. The residential development in the street comprises 10 late nineteenth and early twentieth century houses and one late twentieth century house. The 10 late nineteenth and early twentieth century houses are made up of five individual houses, a pair of houses that were once identical (22 and 24 Fothergill Street), and a set of three houses that were once identical (18,20 and 22 Fothergill Street), and all of these sets are located on the north side of the street. The buildings are predominantly limestone construction with brick quoins, and most have corrugated metal roofs with narrow eaves overhangs and tall masonry construction chimneys. All have been modified to varying degrees. All houses with the exception of 27b and 29 Fothergill Street are set close to the street and, with the exception of 27b, have full width front fences delineating property lines. With the exception of 28 Solomon Street and 27b Fothergill Street, the pattern of development, style of buildings, pattern of elements, and construction material are remarkably uniform and give rise to a pleasing aesthetic impression.


House, 18 Fothergill Street is included in the precinct listing for Fothergill Street Precinct. The precinct comprises Nos. 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 27b, vacant lot, 28, and 29 Fothergill Street, and nos. 28 and 30 Solomon Street, Fremantle, (i.e. Fothergill Street between the east side of Solomon Street and Swanbourne Street). The majority of these 11 residences were constructed in the decade 1898-1908, of limestone and brick with iron roofs. The street was formerly called John Street. During the 1880s and 1890s, many of the Fremantle merchant class, having acquired the necessary degree of wealth, moved from homes located in the heart of Fremantle, close to their business premises, to the 'more exclusive area… using to advantage the high ground above the township on the east side of High Street.', where they built substantial family homes, generally on large lots, which displayed their wealth and their status. In contrast to the simple dwellings of the majority of the populace of Fremantle, 'the homes of many merchants were of two storeys or more, with basements, towers, and wide shady verandahs.' In the wake of the Western Australian Gold Boom, the population increased dramatically, and there were increased sub-divisions in the areas to the south, north, and east of the town of Fremantle. In the late 1890s and early 1900s, there was residential development in these areas, including John Street, present day Fothergill Street. Around the turn of the nineteenth century, two of the largest houses in the historic precinct were built were on vacant land at the top of John Street, at the corners of Swanbourne Street. In 1899, Henry Briggs was recorded as the owner of Lots 25, 30, 31, and 32 of Fremantle Town Lot 798, and in the following year, a residence in the Federation Queen Anne style was built for him at the place (the present 28 Fothergill Street). It was constructed of brick with an iron roof, on a limestone foundation, and with limestone walls to the basement. The Hon. Henry Briggs, JP, MLC, President of the Legislative Council, (b. Kettering, Northamptonshire), later Sir Henry Briggs, was educated in England, and reached the position of Head Master of the Mottram Grammar School before being nominated by the Board of Governors to come to Western Australia in 1882, to establish Fremantle Grammar School, where he remained until 1897 He maintained a lifelong interest in education, and served as a member of an early Commission into technical education, served as a Trustee of the Public Library, Museum, and Art Gallery from 1903, and he was also a member of the Royal Commission on the establishment of a University in Western Australia. In 1895, Henry Briggs was appointed a Justice of the Peace; and in 1896, he was elected to the Legislative Council. He was President of the Fremantle Branch of the Western Australian Federation League; and in 1897-98, he was one of the Western Australian representatives at the Sydney and Melbourne Sessions at the Australian Convention, which framed the Constitution. From June 1900 to June 1906, he was Chairman of the Committees; and in 1906, he succeeded Sir George Shenton as President of the Council. On completion of 28 Fothergill Street, Henry Briggs took up residence at the place in 1901, where he continued to reside until 1920. Following the introduction of street numbers, the place was numbered 60 John Street from c. 1904. A Sewerage plan (1908) shows the place with a verandah at the front, extending to the front boundary, and a verandah at the western side, at the northwest corner of the house. In the rear yard, there are two water tanks located at the north of the house; an earth closet located by the eastern boundary; and two galvanised iron outbuildings adjacent to the rear boundary at the north-east and north-west corners of the yard. At the east side, the residence is built to the boundary of the lot and Swanbourne Street. In February 1920, the place was transferred from Sir Henry Briggs to Edmond Power Dowley, who took up residence at the place. The place continued to be occupied by the Dowley family, and was transferred to his daughter, Agnes Mary Elizabeth Dowley. In 1939, she was granted approval to have a garage constructed of jarrah timber with asbestos lining and with a corrugated iron roof erected at an estimated cost of £20, and it was duly built by A. Vernede. She continued to own the place after her marriage to Arthur Trevorah (c. 1941), until it was sold in the mid 1960s. After a brief ownership by M. Del Popolo, during which it was rented to a tenant, the place was transferred to Mary Irene Miragliotta who occupied it from the mid 1960s, and through the early to mid 1970s. In the 1960s and 1970s, various health orders for the place were issued by the Fremantle City Council. In 1962, the order included works to repair and make sound the verandah, repair and replacement of the roof to render it waterproof, and demolition of a shed adjacent to the rear door of the dwelling; and in 1977, the order included repairs to the fretted brickwork and eroded limestone in the walls, repairs to the roof and the corroded guttering on the verandah. The second large residence to be built in the historic precinct (the present no. 29 Fothergill Street) was built on vacant land at Lot 1 of 796, at the south corner of John Street and Swanbourne Street, which had been owned by John Bateman, merchant, of Fremantle, before being transferred to his daughter, Edith Elizabeth Higham, wife of J. J. Higham, in 1901-02. In this year, a large two storey 'villa residence' was built for her. Constructed of limestone and brick, with an iron roof, in the Federation Filigree style, the place was in a commanding position, on a large block of land. The ground level of the residence is some depth below the street levels of both Fothergill and Swanbourne Streets, suggesting that the limestone may have been quarried on site, or alternatively that quarrying had taken place there at an earlier date. John Joseph (Jack) Higham (b. Fremantle, 1856, d. 1927), after his education in Perth and Sydney, returned to Fremantle and entered the family mercantile business, at that period styled M. Higham & Sons. Mary Higham and her husband, John, had commenced business in Fremantle as bakers and confectioners after their arrival there in 1853; and, after his death in 1856, it was continued and expanded by her into a highly successful mercantile business. In 1882, Jack Higham married Edith Bateman. As noted in Brown (1996), marriages within the second generation of the successful Fremantle merchant families were common, and 'often reinforced commercial bonds and created commercial family networks.' In 1886, the alliance between the Bateman and Higham families was further consolidated when Jack's brother, Henry, married Edith's sister, Maud. Jack Higham carried on the business as the surviving partner until 1890, when he opened his own business at Pakenham Street, servicing the newly discovered gold fields. Subsequently, he moved into business in house, land, and general estate agency and valuing business 'on a large scale.', in which he was later joined by his son, Frank Gayton Higham (b. Fremantle, 1886).29 J. J. Higham was active in public life, representing the business ward of the Municipality of Fremantle for seven years; from 1897, following the death of W. E. Marmion, he represented Fremantle in State Parliament; and he served also as Chairman of the Technical School Advisory Board, and Trustee of the Fremantle Cemetery Board.30 He became a Justice of the Peace in 1897. On completion of the 'villa residence' Edith and Jack Higham took up residence, with their family of four sons and a daughter.32 In 1905-06, the place was recorded as 57 John Street, and in addition to the villa residence, outhouses were recorded. In 1907-08, the Rate Book recorded also stables and a cottage at the place. A Sewerage plan (1908) shows the large lot with the main residence of stone construction fronting John Street, near the corner of Swanbourne Street. Steps lead down to the place from John Street, and the house has timber verandahs at the west side and the front (facing north), with a return to the east side; a timber section extends across the rear; and extending from the south-west end, there are a brick addition and closet, with a further timber addition to the rear again.36 The outbuildings comprise four timber buildings, located to the southeast and south of the main building, in proximity to the eastern and the southern boundaries of the lot, and include the stables. At this period, Bellevue Street was re-named Higham Street and later reverted to Bellevue Street, its present name. The Higham family continued to reside at the place through the first decades of the twentieth century. In the 1940s, the place was occupied into flats, one at each floor. The present 27 Fothergill Street was also built at the turn of the nineteenth century, for one of the Fremantle merchants and his family. It was constructed of limestone and brick with an iron roof. In the 1990s, the place was extensively renovated, including re-roofing, re-plumbing, and re-wiring. The original front four rooms and entry hall retain some of their original features. At the rear, is a section with a pressed metal ceiling which may have been part of the original construction; and this opens to a modern addition, which has been built on two levels, made possible by the slope of the land to the south, which includes an undercroft, laundry, and cellar. In 1901-02, at Lot 2 of 28/9 of Fremantle Town Lot 799, owned by George Henderson, contractor, and George Thorpe, a 'cottage building' was built, probably by Henderson given his profession. It was one of a trio of cottages of the same design. The present numbers are 18, 20, and 22 Fothergill Street. The cottages were constructed of limestone and brick with an iron roof, in the Federation Bungalow style. On completion, the cottage with the present no. 20 was sold to John Alexander Naylor (b. Fremantle, 1867, d. 1940), baker. It is most likely that he purchased the place as an investment property as Fremantle Rate Books record that the place was rented to tenants throughout his ownership from 1901-02 to the mid 1920s. Among the early tenants was Harry Everard, traveller. In 1908, the sewerage maps show the dwellings in the historic precinct, and the stone cottage. Following the introduction of street numbers, the place was numbered 52 John Street, and then 52 Fothergill Street from 1922 to 1935-36, when it was re-numbered to the present number, 20 Fothergill Street. In 1925-26, 52 Fothergill Street was transferred to James Frederick Orton, who resided there throughout the period of his ownership of the place (1925-26 to 1935-36). Subsequently, the place continued to be owner occupied by successive owners for most of the twentieth century, other than for a short period in the early 1950s, when it was tenanted. Among the owners in the post World War Two period was Wilfred Ernest Green (1956-72), lumper. In 1963, Fremantle City Council gave approval for additions to 20 Fothergill Street, comprising an open verandah at a cost of £50, and replacement of part of the existing structure at the rear comprising dining room, kitchen, bathroom and laundry at a cost of £10,000. Comparison of the 1908 sewerage map and the 1984 Land Use Survey Plan indicates the extent to which the place has been extended. In 1901-02, Lots 2 and 3 of Fremantle Town Lot 798 (the present nos. 24 and 26 Fothergill Street), was vacant land, owned by George Henderson and George Thorpe, who were engaged in building the trio of cottages at the adjoining land on the west. In 1902-03, two 'dwelling houses' were built for them on the Lots; on completion, Henderson took up occupation of one of the houses (3 of 791), and the other was leased to tenants (2 of 791). The pair of villas was constructed of limestone and brick with iron roofs. In 1903-04, Henderson’s residence Lot 3 of 791 (the present 26 Fothergill Street) was transferred to Captain Percy Townley, Master Mariner, who took up residence at the place, which was recorded as cottage, 58 John Street, from c. 1904. He owned and occupied the residence until it was transferred to John Murray in 1916-17, who took up residence at the place. The place changed hands in the mid 1920s, early 1940s, and mid 1950s, and remained owner/occupied throughout the period 1917-60. In the latter period, the owners were Salvatore and Maria Travia who owned the place from 1956 to 1990, leasing it to tenants for part of the later period. During their ownership, in 1959, Fremantle City Council approved an application for a verandah at the place. In May 1992, when the place was advertised for sale at $275,000, it was reported that restoration work on the place was 'almost complete', the only remaining areas on which work was required being the verandah and the original tuck pointing, and the rear garden. In 1992, the present owners, Katherine Price and David Cyril Phillips bought the place. In 1899, Frederick Instone, plumber of Fremantle, purchased Fremantle Town Lot 797 1A (30 Solomon Street) from Clara Ulrich, who resided with her husband, Joseph, at a four room dwelling (1898) on the adjacent lot, which fronted Mary Street (the present Solomon Street). This is the present 30 Solomon Street. Circa 1902-03, Instone built a cottage on his lot, at the corner of John and Mary Streets, fronting the latter. It was built as an investment property, and let to various tenants throughout Instone's ownership, including Wallace Elias Solomon (b. Fremantle 1878, d. 1950), son of the prominent Fremantle merchant, Mayor of Fremantle and parliamentarian, Elias Solomon. Having resided there as a tenant from 1908-09 to 1913-14, he continued to reside there after the place was purchased by Anna Rosetta Solomon, from 1913-14 to 1920-21. In that year, the place was transferred to Theodore Back, who took up residence there with his family, in whose ownership and occupation the place continued until the mid 1980s. It has not been possible to date to establish the construction date of the present 28 Solomon Street. However, the place had been built by 1905-06, and is shown on the sewerage map of 1908, as 70 Mary Street. In 1922, John Street was re-named Fothergill Street, possibly to end confusion with John Street, North Fremantle. The new name honoured a former Mayor of Fremantle (1909-10), Mr. E. H. Fothergill. Mary Street was re-named in 1951-52. There appear to have been relatively few changes to the buildings in the historic precinct in the period 1925-60. In the post World War Two period, there was an influx of European immigrants, many of whom took up residence in areas in proximity to the urban centres of Fremantle and Perth, leading to a change in the demographic composition of the local populace. Some of the residences within the historic precinct were purchased and/or occupied by such families; however, the exteriors of most of the residences show little if any evidence of the change. On the south side of the street, the large lot sizes at nos. 27 and 29 Fothergill Street appear to have remained unchanged from the 1920s to the 1960s. In the 1960s, the area of the former lot was reduced, when a new residence was built at 27b. The exterior of the place is covered in limestone brick to blend with the neighbouring residences. 27b Fothergill Street was re-designed by Ken Norrish, and has been described as 'homely stressed funk'. In the late twentieth century, at a number of the residences in the historic precinct 'extensive work' was carried out. The street had been in decline while under pressure for the development of high-density residential purposes. During the 1960s, while this matter was being decided, the housing stock fell into decline in anticipation of redevelopment. Following the failure of the move to achieve higher densities, these properties offered relatively cheap alternative accommodation for younger poorer and better educated people. The foundation of the Fremantle Society, the stimulus of interest in conservation, and the re-discovery of Fremantle lead to the revival and conservation of houses in Fothergill Street. The front facades of the majority of the residences within the historic precinct retain the features of their original construction. The streetscape has been described as conjuring up 'a striking image of how it must have looked at the turn of the nineteenth century’. The dates err somewhat, as a number of the residences in the historic precinct were constructed after the turn of the century; however, the streetscape has retained much of the aesthetic quality of the place in the pre-World War One period. It is representative of a historic precinct of residences built almost entirely in the Federation period, in the Federation Bungalow, Federation Filigree, and Federation Queen Anne styles. In 2005, all the residences in the historic precinct continue to be occupied as residences. The Heritage Council’s documentation contains Management Strategies for the precinct as follows: There should be no demolition of significant places within the historic precinct. All of the houses in the historic precinct are considered to be significant places. Fothergill Street Precinct should be protected by the conservation of the existing heritage buildings, street frontages, and gardens, together with careful management of the public domain. The character and intactness of the historic precinct should be conserved and strengthened, and new development should be controlled to retain the heritage significance of the historic precinct. The need for the evolution of the historic precinct should be recognized and change managed to conserve the visual harmony of the historic precinct. To achieve these aims the following management strategies should be implemented: • The Historic Precinct included in the State Register and under the City of Fremantle’s Town planning scheme should be delineated to coincide. • Development guidelines specific to the precinct that are based on the Statement of Significance should be prepared to guide new development, together with alterations and additions to heritage places within the precinct. • The guidelines should refer to the importance of retaining the heritage stock, the design of any new places and the need to respect the existing scale, proportions, and plan form of the existing buildings and streetscape guidelines. The guidelines should emphasise the need to evaluate change in an overall context for the precinct. • Guidelines should relate to the broad historic precinct management strategies, or an overall precinct management strategy for residential precincts. This information was taken from the Heritage Council of Western Australia’s assessment documentation for the Fothergill Street Precinct. The documentary evidence was compiled by Robin Chinnery, Historian. The physical evidence was compiled by Philip Griffiths, Architect. The above is gratefully acknowledged as their work.


INTEGRITY All houses in the historic precinct remain in use as residences, retaining their original use. The prospect for future conservation remains good and the degree of integrity high. AUTHENTICITY All residences in the historic precinct have been subject to internal and external change. Change has included additions to most residences, alterations to verandahs, boundary treatments, and roofing finishes. The substance of all but one of the houses remains substantially intact. The precinct as a whole retains a moderate to high degree of authenticity.


Most of the places are well maintained. All have been impacted upon bymaintenance and change to varying degrees and there is muchreplacement material along boundary fences, roofs, and verandahstructures. Some places have received some poor maintenance strategies.On the whole the maintenance has effected subtle changes but has notdetracted from the historic precinct to a significant degree. Fothergill StreetPrecinct is generally in fair to good condition.

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Original Use RESIDENTIAL Single storey residence
Present Use RESIDENTIAL Single storey residence

Architectural Styles

Federation Bungalow

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Roof METAL Zincalume
Wall STONE Limestone
Wall BRICK Common Brick

Historic Themes

General Specific
DEMOGRAPHIC SETTLEMENT & MOBILITY Land allocation & subdivision

Creation Date

19 Sep 2003

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

24 Feb 2020


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.