Fremantle Prison will throw open its gates on the afternoon of Monday 8 November and give visitors a rare chance to explore this World Heritage site and the history of site conservation activities free of charge.

Fremantle Prison: 30 Years Unlocked commemorates the historic venue’s achievements since closing as an operating prison.

The public are invited to attend a traditional smoking ceremony at 1.00pm and will able to explore the ground floor of the Main Cell Block, engage with specialist conservation and museum staff, and experience evocative retellings of prisoner and officer experiences from 1.30pm onwards.

Theatrical performances will take place every 15 minutes from 1.30pm.

EVENT TIMELINE

 1.00pm:

  • Traditional Smoking Ceremony

1.30pm - 6.00pm:

  • Free public access to Main Cell Block

Exhibition

30 Years: Unlocked
Fremantle Prison After Closure

Considered unfit for modern needs, the process of decommissioning the convict-built Fremantle Prison began in June 1991, and the Prison was formally closed on 8 November 1991. The exhibition 30 Years: Unlocked recognises and celebrates the work of the many individuals, organisations and groups that together have worked towards the conservation and interpretation of the Fremantle Prison site for the past 30 years. 

Since its official closure as a site of incarceration, Fremantle Prison’s exceptional historic and cultural significance has been formally recognised by its inclusion in several heritage registers, including the National Heritage List – Australian Government (2005) and World Heritage List (Australian Convict Sites Serial Listing) - UNESCO (2010). Fremantle Prison has also become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Western Australia, attracting up to 200,000 visitors a year. Local, interstate and international visitors, young and old, visit the Prison on one of the five available tours.

30 Years: Unlocked, prepared by current Prison staff including archaeologists, architects, curators and heritage managers, showcases all aspects of the work required to ensure that Fremantle Prison retains its significance and remains open for future generations.  Supported by many objects and images, some never seen before, the exhibition takes the visitor through 30 years of conservation works, community engagement programs, archaeological excavations and collecting practices.