Fremantle Prison Hospital Project

Throughout December 2020 and January 2021, the team here at TR completed excavations as part of the planned repairs to The Literature Centre, formerly known as Fremantle Prison Hospital.

This building was in need of upkeep due to the years of rising damp and other issues that can affect old buildings.

Fremantle Prison were allocated funds to repair the building and retrieve any archaeological artefacts, to discover more about the people who were imprisoned at and worked at the site since it’s foundation in the 19th Century.

Below the building

With the help of three archaeology students from the University of Notre Dame, our team of heritage consultants found over 200 artefacts beneath the old prison hospital. From foundation bricks to recent lolly wrappers, these artefacts give us an insight into the hundreds of people, past and present, who walked the halls of this building.

While most artefacts were associated with the building fabric, some of the standout finds include clay smoking pipes, sewing pins, buttons of all sorts and even a part of an old Australian Women’s Weekly newspaper.

These artefacts will find their new home within the walls of Fremantle Prison, which you can still visit daily from 9am to 5pm.

Outside the building

The exterior of the hospital also received a facelift to protect the building’s structural integrity, with the featured graffiti carefully photographed in case any old scratchings are impacted by the renovations.

We thoroughly enjoyed getting to work on this project, getting an interesting insight into the history of the old Fremantle Prison Hospital.

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