South Fremantle Urban Art
Updated: Jan 1
Following on from exploring the urban art in Fremantle we found plenty of pinned posts for art further south in South Fremantle so headed off to explore.
We parked at the South Beach Foreshore opposite the South Beach Cafe, which has very unusual roof architecture and excellent coffee! There is a large pirate themed playground, full basketball court and picnic facilities to the south of the cafe. We were immediately exposed to the urban art as the toilet facilities adjoining the cafe are covered in it.
From the cafe we headed north following the large grassy area past a bench seat called the Azulejo Assembled Memoirs, public art supported by the Portugese community. South Beach Foreshore was a popular holiday destination from the 1900's and the now grassy areas held a fairground and a concert hall called the Hydrodome. Open air vaudeville and film screenings were held on the beach front. Looking at the wide green areas you can picture what a hive of activity there would have been here. Now this area hosts the South Beach Sunset Markets, generally held on Saturday evenings over summer (pre covid 19).
The beach is tucked away with a narrow access. In the past South Beach was home to swimming baths and was also popular for sailing. South Beach is not a patrolled beach and signs warn of slippery rocks and snakes. Mid winter after squally weather the previous days the beach was covered in seaweed but the gulls were having fun! Continuing along the path we detoured along the small groyne, looking north to the South Fremantle Dog Beach. The foreshore seems to be a popular exercise location for dogs and their humans. Lots of people own dogs around here as everywhere we went people were out walking with their dogs.
We crossed the railway tracks opposite Sealanes and headed up Marine Terrace to take in the magnificent beach themed art that covers the East West Design Building. It took the artist, Graeme Richards, over 7 months to complete the art on both sides of the building. You feel like you could almost reach in and touch the boat and other elements of these paintings! We wandered inside for a look before heading back to Marine Terrace not realising that we could have cut through East West Designs to South Terrace.
We made a small detour via Sheedy Street, backtracking to take in the art on the South Terrace side of East West Designs. The art on this side reflects the stories behind the homewares and furniture, sourced from many different, exotic countries. You could stand here for hours taking in the detail of all the different scenarios. Urban art may not be of particular interest to kids, especially younger ones, but I'm pretty sure most school age kids would be quite delighted by this art!
If you want to check out the history of Mills and Wares Park, which honours the Mills and Wares biscuit and cake factory, detour east along Wardie Street, cross through the park and turn west on Jenkin Street to head back to South Terrace.
If looking at East West Designs is all you do with the kids it is worthwhile but make sure you head back down South Terrace, stopping at Run Amuk, a quirky shop selling an amazing variety of hot dogs. If you stop to try a hot dog sit outside and the interesting table top road maps will keep the kids amused while they are waiting for their food! Even if you don't stop to eat look inside at the wall almost entirely covered in matchbox cars! Keep heading south on South Terrace past the beautiful South Beach Hotel and you will see the Blue Baby painted on the wall at the back of a vacant block. On the corner of South Terrace and Douro Road you will find South Beach Cycles, where you can hire bikes including kids bikes, child carriers and trailers. South Beach Cycles has some interesting art on it's walls and further along Douro Road you will come across the Summer Wall. However I digress as this was all at the end of our longer walk!
From East West Designs we actually walked north along South Terrace past Ootong and Lincoln then across South Street to the Corner Store at Price Street, enjoying the art on the way. We noticed some beautiful heritage buildings and came across what I consider to be a contender for the ugliest building in Perth!
We continued up to Wray Avenue (mostly to close the loop from our Fremantle Urban Art Walk) where you can see more urban art. South Terrace and Wray Street have numerous cafes if you want to stop for a coffee. If you have kids in tow grab a take away and take it to the South Terrace Adventure Playground up Brennan Street, which features some larger than life bird murals. Head to Attfield Street for the large mural on the corner.
We walked south along Attfield Street to South Street where we headed over to Hampton Road (not my favourite walking path as the road is so busy, noisy and smelly) but we didn't want to miss the artwork at Tippys Pizza. We were rewarded with pretty St Pauls Anglican Church, which was worth a few photos. Further down we looked at Footwork, artwork by Holly Story, set in the wall at the Department of Education buildings. Sadly some of the tiles were missing. Crossing over we found the art work on Tippys Pizza which was a bit underwhelming and not really worth going all the extra way for.
We followed Lefroy Road west turning south down Chester Street. On the way we came across the Fairies Meeting Place, vintage cars and even older fences, quirky walls, natural swings and verge trees inhabited by soft toys. We discovered Parmelia Park which has artwork features around a basketball court and a small playground.
At Douro Road we came across the Summer Wall Mural by James Dodd, before wandering on to explore the art on South Beach Cycles and beyond that to Run Amuk, as detailed earlier.
South Fremantle has a very European feel to it: people out walking dogs, foreign accents, bakeries, cafes and eclectic shops, vespas zipping up the street... even without all the awesome urban art and heritage buildings it is well worth a visit.
The full walk was about 7 km as a return loop to South Beach Cafe, taking just under 2 hours with the opportunity to stop for a coffee halfway. Alternatively if you only completed the very bottom circuit taking in East West Designs and Douro Road, about 1 km as a loop, this would take about 15 - 30 minutes. Should you wish to hire bikes or extend your walk you can head south along the coast to C.Y.O'Connor Beach.