Everything old is new again in WA’s vibrant capital

Perth has a long and successful tradition of restoring and repurposing beautiful historic buildings and spaces, and giving them a new lease of life. Tourism WA shares some of the most impressively restored spaces across the city that are open to the public, just in time for your next visit to this charm-infused metropolis.

Warders Hotel, Fremantle

(Tourism WA)

Fremantle’s iconic heritage-listed Warders Cottages, located next to the Fremantle Markets, have undergone a stunning restoration and reopened as the Warders Hotel. Occupying the old limestone cottages, the historic rooms of the boutique hotel – which opened in November 2020 – have been brought back to the original timbers and stonework and finished off with luxury features and furniture. Guests have direct access to a corner bar, Gimlet, for breakfast, snacks and evening drinks, or they can adventure into Emily Taylor, an Asian-inspired kitchen and bar located in the courtyard. 

His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth

Built in 1904 and the home and principal performance space of the West Australian Ballet and the West Australian Opera, His Majesty’s Theatre recently celebrated the successful completion of a $15 million balcony restoration project, which reinstated the property’s external wrap-around balconies, now open to the public for the first time in 70 years. This momentous project has successfully and thoughtfully returned the 118-year-old building to its original façade. This year, you can catch a variety of Perth Festival shows and performances at His Majesty’s Theatre. Head to their website to check out what’s on. If you lack time for a performance or show, be sure to pop in at The Crew & King Café and Restaurant onsite for a local produce-driven meal.

WA Museum Boola Bardip, Perth

(Tourism WA)

With its mix of heritage and contemporary architecture, the new $400-million WA Museum Boola Bardip has revitalised the creative heart of Perth. In the central courtyard of the new museum stands the Old Perth Gaol, home to WA’s unique cultural, scientific and historical collections. Built in 1855 to house convicts, much of the old layout remains intact – including the state’s very first grapevine. Nowadays visitors are able to flow through the museum buildings day and night to experience the precinct’s liveliness.

Gage Road Brewing at the A Shed, Fremantle

(Tourism WA)

The historic A Shed Building at Fremantle’s Victoria Quay was built in the late 1890s to provide secure space for storage of goods between unloading from a ship and loading to rail or road transport. It is now home to leading Perth craft brewer Gage Roads Brewing. There’s a microbrewery, a children’s play area, and 100 metres of al fresco dining overlooking the strip of ocean between Fremantle and Rottnest Island, from which Gage Roads took its name. The brewery is part of Victoria Quay’s revitalisation project at Fremantle’s historic port.

Liberty Theatre, Perth

This iconic building now known as the Liberty Theatre was constructed as office premises in 1890, in the heart of the goldrush era that changed the face and fortunes of Western Australia. In 1954, the Liberty Theatre became Perth’s first intimate art house cinema for screening foreign-language and art house films. The theatre continued screening a variety of film genres until the early 1990s.

State Buildings, Perth

(Tourism WA)

Perth’s elegant State Buildings, dating back to 1875, are the ‘Point Zero’, the centre point of Perth from which all distances to Perth are measured. The buildings have been used as a Police Court and cell block, Treasury and GPO across its impressive 140-year history. Since 2015, the reimagined buildings have become home to a selection of refined eateries, specialty retail outlets and to COMO The Treasury, often recognised as one of Australia’s best hotels. Discover a vibrant hub of life and activity here, with venues that can take you from a relaxed breakfast to opulent four-course degustation dinner.

Fremantle Court House

(Tourism WA)

The Fremantle Courthouse has been given a new lease of life, reopening as the Old Courthouse in late 2021. Originally built in 1899 and operating as a courthouse and police station up until 2001, the 122-year-old building has been transformed into a sleek bar and casual eatery. The historic court rooms now serve up local brews, an impressive collection of wines, and honest pub-style food, with the building’s history and charming character highlighted throughout. A few quirky features remain from the property’s past, including original prisoner engravings etched across the bathroom stall doors, and the original magistrate’s desk and witness dock.

Boulder Town Hall, Kalgoorlie

(Tourism WA)

The Goldfields War Museum in Kalgoorlie, devastated by a 5.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010, was reopened in 2019 in the Boulder Town Hall. It was built in 1908 in the style of the prosperous goldrush days with pressed tin ceilings and filigree wrought iron balustrades. In its heyday, Boulder Town Hall hosted celebrities such as Dame Nellie Melba, Eileen Joyce, Joan Sutherland and even AC/DC. At the Goldfields War Museum guests discover the residents’ involvement during the Boer War and World Wars I and II.

Do you enjoy visiting historic buildings? Are any of these on your list? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Top unusual things to do in Western Australia

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