This Five Dollar Solid Gold coin focusing on Fremantle Prison is part of the Colonial Heritage series. The coin forms
part of a set of six which also includes Port Arthur Historic site, Cascades Female Factory, Hyde Park Barracks, Coal Mines
Historic Site and Old Government House. The
In 1829, the Swan River colony was founded in Perth with the landing of the first settlers at Garden Island, and later at Fremantle. The first public building in Western Australia was the Round House. It was completed in 1831 and served as a detention centre, court house, and place of execution. It also had the dubious distinction of having the first European legally executed in the colony. Fremantle Prison was built between 1852-1859 by British Royal Engineers using convict labour (Fremantle City Library, 2013) . The first prisoners occupied the main cell block in 1855 and in 1867 was named Fremantle Prison as it had been known as 'The Establishment' prior to that. After almost 10,000 convicts had been shipped in, transportation ceased in 1868. Initially, only imperial convicts were confined at Fremantle Prison, but by 1886 less than 60 convicts remained inside a prison built to hold 1000 men. But when Perth gaol closed, it became a busy place once again. Additional facilities were built using convict labour but during World War II, the Australian Government decided to hold a large number of Italian Australians, identified as 'enemy aliens', at Fremantle Prison. In 1964 Eric Edgar Cooke was hanged at Fremantle Prison for murder. In Western Australia, he was the last man to face capital punishment as it was officially abolished by an act of State Parliament in 1984. By 1991 all the inmates and staff of Fremantle Prison were transferred to the new metropolitan maximum security prison at Casuarina, just south of Perth, and Fremantle Prison was closed. In August 2010 Fremantle Prison was listed as a World Heritage site along with ten other Australian Convict Sites. Fremantle Prison is presently the only World Heritage listed building in Perth.
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