National Hotel (Fremantle)

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National Hotel
WTFr Nov 2011 gnangarra-39.jpg
General information
Type Hotel
Architectural style Federation Free Classical
Location Corner High and Market Streets
Address 98 High Street, Fremantle
Town or city Fremantle
Country Australia
Coordinates 32°03′16″S 115°44′46″E / 32.0544°S 115.7462°E / -32.0544; 115.7462Coordinates: 32°03′16″S 115°44′46″E / 32.0544°S 115.7462°E / -32.0544; 115.7462
Opened 1886
Renovated 1895, 1902, 1953, 1995, 2001–02, 2012–14
Owner Carnegies[1][2]
Technical details
Floor count 5 (including basement)
Renovating team
Architect Louis Pearce (1902)
Allen & Nichols (1953)
Michael Patroni (1995)

The National Hotel is on the corner of High and Market Streets Fremantle. Originally built as a shop in 1868, it was occupied by the National Bank in the early 1880s. When the bank relocated in 1886, the building became the National Hotel.

Original building[edit]

The site was originally occupied by a single storey shop in 1868[3] which was run in 1869 by Abraham Moise Josephson[4] (who was later a successful pearl merchant).[5] During the early 1880s the building was occupied by a branch of the National Bank of Australasia. In 1886 the branch relocated to a premises in High Street opposite Sandover's store. Later that year the building was converted into a hotel retaining the name as the National Hotel. The site and building was then owned by John J. Higham, a local merchant and businessman.[3] William Conroy became the first landlord of the National Hotel on 6 September 1886,[6] but ceased this occupation less than a year later when at 12.45am on 24 June 1887 he confronted Councillor John Snook in the Fremantle Town Hall.[7] Conroy shot Snook in the jaw. Snook subsequently died three months later. Conroy was tried and hanged for his murder.[8][9] In 1891 Higham sold the property to Mr. James E. Hagan.[10] In 1895 the building underwent a major reconstruction, with F. W. Welford taking over as proprietor.[11]

New (extant) building[edit]

The hotel was subsequently acquired by Michael and Daniel Mulcahy who came to Western Australia to prospect for gold and enjoyed great success, going on to become prominent hotel proprietors and pastoralists. In 1902 they enlisted the architect Louis Pearce to prepare plans to rebuild a more modern and commodious hotel, worthy of its position in the centre of Fremantle.

The original two storey hotel was to be replaced with a new hotel of five storeys including a basement. The hotel was to be constructed of stone and brick with stone forming the foundations and the lower portions of the walls with the brick above. The plans included a right-of-way from Market Street, and balconies totalling 450 ft in length and about 9 foot in width. The wall height was 45 foot, extending to 70 foot from the ground to the top of the dome, the flag pole being a further 21 foot high. Internally, there was to be a total of between 50 and 60 rooms with provisions of 13 foot ceilings on the ground floor to 12 foot ceilings on the other floors as well as spacious stairways and corridors. The basement contained a large kitchen, three cellars two wine store rooms, a scullery, storeroom and servants' dining room.[12][13]

The West Australian in 1902 stated that "The architect has, throughout, apparently, striven to produce something which will reflect the highest credit upon his profession, and when the building is completed, it should form a valuable addition to the architecture of Fremantle."[12] The National Hotel was anticipated to cost between 7,000 and 8,000 pounds.[12]

By 1907 M. Byrne had taken over as proprietor of the hotel.[11]

Michael Mulcahy died in July 1917[14] and his brother, Daniel, died in June 1925[15] with the hotel remaining in the family ownership. By 1948 ownership had changed to Mr. T. Dean who also owned the Central Hotel in Perth.[16]

In 1953 the building underwent further changes, and in 1975 the top floor was destroyed by fire. In 1995 the owners commenced extensive restoration work with the facade and 1st floor balconies, in 2007 while closed and nearing completion of redevelopment work the building was again set on fire resulting in substantial damage.[17][18] In 2009 the building was sold to Carnegies, an international hospitality chain. Since then the building has been the subject of restoration efforts; the first stage reopening occurred in December 2013 with the remainder including a roof top restaurant due towards the end of 2018.[needs update][1][19]


Date Owner Proprietor Notes
1868 N/A Shop
1869 Abraham Moise Josephson (–1908) "
National Bank " Bank
1886 John J. Higham William Conroy First hotel licence.
1887 "
1891 James E. Hagan
1895 Frederick William Welford
Michael and Daniel Mulcahy
1898 James Jackson[20]
1907 M. Byrne
1948 T. Dean
1981 Robert Stasinowsky[21] Robert's parents had earlier managed the Commercial Hotel, and then the Newmarket.[21]


  1. ^ a b Chris Thomson (2 August 2013). "National Hotel back from the dead". Perth news. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Rania Spooner (19 June 2012). "Chain buys historic Freo pub". Fairfax Media. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "National Hotel (00926)". State Heritage Register. Heritage Council of Western Australia. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "The Late A. M. Josephson's Will." The Sunday Times. Perth: National Library of Australia. 1 March 1908. p. 5 Section: SECOND SECTION. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "A. M. Josephson". Fremantle Times. 4 April 1919.  Quoted in the Fremantle Library local history collection, ref. 728.5 National Hotel (M).
  6. ^ "Fremantle Licensing Meeting". Daily News (Perth, Western Australia). National Library of Australia. 6 September 1886. p. 3. Retrieved 5 May 2014. William Conroy, publican's general license to sell liquors on the premises recently in the occupation of the National Bank. Mr. Lovegrove appeared for the applicant, and said it was proposed to take the premises the National Bank had vacated, provided the license was granted; if the Bench did not grant the license it would be considered a national grievance. The owners of the property proposed enlarging the building and .making it a bona fide modern hotel After some consideration the license was granted, on condition that dry-earth accommodation be provided and that the stabling be on the opposite side of the road. 
  7. ^ "Trial of Conroy". The Daily News. Perth, WA. 29 July 1887. p. 3. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  8. ^ "Execution of William Conroy". The Inquirer & Commercial News. Perth: National Library of Australia. 23 November 1887. p. 2. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "Another Shooting Tragedy at Fremantle". The Western Mail. Perth: National Library of Australia. 2 July 1887. p. 8. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "General News". The Inquirer & Commercial News. Perth: National Library of Australia. 20 March 1891. p. 3. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  11. ^ a b James, Jill (1984). Hotels in Fremantle from the Turn of the Century – 1930 (Report). p. appendix 1, p.4.  Quotes an advertisement in the Fremantle Register of 7 June 1895.
  12. ^ a b c "Fremantle Improvements". Perth Gazette. Perth: National Library of Australia. 6 March 1902. p. 9. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "Port Improvements". The Sunday Times. Perth: National Library of Australia. 18 January 1903. p. 8. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "The Late Mr. Michael Mulcahy". The Daily News. Perth: National Library of Australia. 26 July 1917. p. 5. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  15. ^ "The Week at the Port". The Mirror. Perth: National Library of Australia. 27 June 1925. p. 11. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  16. ^ "Licence Sought". The Daily News. Perth: National Library of Australia. 18 September 1948. p. 10 Edition: First. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  17. ^ "Fremantle heritage hotel gutted by fire". The Age. 12 March 2007. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  18. ^ "National Hotel can be saved". PerthNow. 12 March 2007. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  19. ^ Carmelo Amalfi (8 November 2013). "National to re-open". Fremantle Herald. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  20. ^ "News and Notes". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 8 July 1898. p. 4. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  21. ^ a b "National Hotel". Fremantle Gazette. 18 March 1986.