December 20, 2009

Fremantle : Freo's Best Tourist Attraction - South Fremantle Abandoned Power Station Part 2


Built 1946, abandoned 1985. 34 years of life for a power station seems kind of short. Call this part two, as most of this building has been featured before on 6000times. A trip back down to Fremantle really was worth it just to view the North West section of the structure, which I hadn't previously seen. Yes, Fremantle. Home of John Butler, Luc Longley, and about 24 thousand freaks. Far out man. I haven't seen that many freaks per-capita since my trip up to Two-Rocks, visiting abandoned-Atlantis.

Chatting yesterday with a particularly logical aquaintance of mine, I came to a decision. "From now on, every photo I ever take for the rest of my life will be in black and white". Analytically, he asked "why?", with an intense, Vulcanic raise of his eyebrows. Already doubting my considered decision, I would need to convey my reasoning in the most accurate and succinct way possible. "Because it looks better", I offered. "Yes, you are correct", my nerdy associate replied. Black and white photos, look better. Black and white film, even more so. Impeccable logic. Without pecc, the very best photos of all are black and white, film, and taken with a Leica.

I had planned to write an amusing rant about colour vs black and white, contemplated against the irony of a short-lived coal-fired 1940's Fremantle power station, and its relevance in a post-eco world. However, there are two reasons I won't. First, I've already had 6000times twittered, in a particularly feeble way, as "checked out 6000times, seems like a load of pretentious wank to me". Well, I'm not going to make apologies for those who don't realise the importance of, for example,  Iwan Iwanoff's use of concrete block surface/facade articulation, in a raised, 3D relief/tectonic, a volumetric articulation/spatial definition AND ALSO as a screening effect. I mean, come on, I don't think many of the master architects even in Wright's era (well, Wrights pre-Columbian era) have done that! Not to mention Iwanoff's letter box articulation is a clever abstract interpretation of meso-american bass relief figureheads. Some people just don't get it. Secondly, I have just had a call, my mates are at the pub, and its sunny outside.

So, in summary, yada yada, got lost in the tunnels at the power station, a murder site, once again, my girlfriend wouldn't come inside the festering, dank, dark, tunnels, blah blah, plenty of graffiti, and when I called out "I'M FUCKING SERIOUS THIS TIME, I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA HOW TO GET THE FUCK BACK TO THE OUTSIDE FROM IN HERE", I heard something about, "I'll visit you on your birthday, hurry up, its 37 degrees out here you've been in there for hours".

Enjoy, South Fremantle Power Station in glorious colour. Now, beer.

(PS, here is the link to PART ONE )




47 comments:

Rich said...

Fucking beautiful. Couldn't imagine that in b&w.

Anonymous said...

hey man you take an amazing photograph. any chance we can buy a photo off you so that we can blow it up and put it the house?

N. said...

Yes, anon, send me an email (address is at the top of the page). Cheers.

Anonymous said...

I would have liked to hear your colour vs b&w rant. I actually think b&w overused and colour underexplored. Love these photos, and your ones of the Perth mint, especially the stairwell shots in both. Being visited on your bday...funny. K.

N. said...

Hi K! I could write an essay in response to your comments about colour vs B&W. Really interesting. I both agree and disagree, at the same time. In any case, I particularly like the comment about colour being under-explored. You obviously have a keen sense of colour, and I appreciate your compliments.

Kamu said...

Hi there, I love the pictures, really nicely done.

"got lost in the tunnels at the power station, a murder site, once again"

What do you mean by murder site?

N. said...

Hi Kamu - I have read it was either a murder site, or that at least one dead body was found there. Anybody who has any more info, please let us know!

Anonymous said...

The colours now seem bolder, sharper. It has purpose and delight shivering through its blighted surfaces.

I used to visit this place in my youth. Thank you for taking me back!

Anonymous said...

i think its more been suicides and accidents rather than murders..
when it was first abandoned, there were still staircases inside, people would climb up to the 5th floor and jump off. others would simply be squatting and were unfortunate to make a mistake with footing / the building falling appart.

Anonymous said...

Hey everyone!! done some research on the net and found out some info about the tunnels myth!!

According to this website:
http://perthurbex.livejournal.com/2234.html

THE BIG REVEAL!!

Unfortunately, since that expedition we had found out that the THREE subterranean levels that still had all the heavy machinery still in place had been completely filled with sand and rubble (A deliberate act) by Western Power to both prevent unauthorised entry and to reduce the risk of collapse.

So as stated in the comments above, there
are 3 levels below the power station, and machinery is down there, probably used to deliver coal to the tippler, that's my theory as to why the tunnels exist to deliver coal to the yard outside.

My guess is that the underground tunnels had machinery down there that wasn't removed and could possibly be re-activated!! so Western Power rushed and blocked the tunnels with sand, rubble,and steel!

The authorities blocked the tunnel from the top entrance with sand and rubble, that entrance lies somewhere on the main floor in the hall! it's all covered with sand so it would be hard to find out exactly how the authorities blocked the tunnels.

Anyway apart from the tunnels, there are other great aspects of the building, which includes how to get to the upper floors, on the roof!
that's what i will do on my next trip to the station.

Damien said...

I love that main staircase; it's of course absolutely unnecessary for an industrial building. A sign of a time when, even for purely functional buildings, aesthetic was still a consideration in the design. This is a great blog and I’m glad to see others are embracing rather than mocking the architecture of our city, especially examples from the 1960s which seem to get no love whatsoever.

Barney said...

Thanks for the great photos. I came across this power station by chance during a trip to Rockingham. Ran out of memory card, otherwise I would have taken more photos. I have taken 360° photos inside sections of the power station, which you can see on my website http://barneymeyer.com/south-fremantle-power-station/

I attributed the history of the power station back to your website.

My favourite photo from this series is "The Ball Bearing", the last image on the above page.

I'm interested to find like-minded people to explore abandoned places in Perth, how do I contact them?

Anonymous said...

I went inside today!! It was beyond amazing in real life. I couldn’t believe how massive it actually was!
On the way I drove past heritage listed apartments on the corner hampden rd and rockingham rd that looked like they hadn’t been occupied for quite some time. I wanted to venture inside but it was peak hour traffic and the place is kind of fenced off. I want to visit it when there aren’t so many cars on the road!! If you ever get into them I’d love to see pictures! =)

Anonymous said...

There is something about this building I really love. It has that "Chernobyl" look about it. I hope is is kept and renovated in some way and put to some use. It think it is quite unusual.

Adrian said...

I was there yesterday taking some pics. While I was there, a few "surveyor" types were taking measurements around the perimeter. I asked them if they knew what was likely to happen to the site and they seemed to think it was about to be "developed".

Here are some more pics if anyone is interested.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nudibranches/4666383880/sizes/l/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nudibranches/4665761649/sizes/l/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nudibranches/4665762079/sizes/l/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nudibranches/4666384450/sizes/l/

Kamu said...

I am aware this is a bit late, but seeing as you were interested, Nate.

I have been at the state library and have had a West Australian newspaper database search on this power station. There isn't any mentions of suicides OR murders. Not a thing. I am going to do another search incase it is called something else.. coogee/south beach powerstation/power station/powerhouse etc etc. It doesn't seem possible to get access to the police gazette due to the 60 year restriction on publication.

I'd say these murders are a myth.

N. said...

Thanks Kamu! Another urban legend bites the dust...

Anonymous said...

So my friends and I visited the power station today - could anyone tell us where the large staircase is? We couldn't find it anywhere....

Alex said...

Went there once with my friends. The large staircase, in my experience at least, can only be accessed once you've made it up to the second floor. In my case this involved scaling up the iron girders that hold the second floor up (scary shit, try to pick one without barbed wire or spiky metal). Then we had to climb out the second floor window onto a first floor roof (a little room that offshoots from the main building). Then we climbed up the wall through another window-esque hole that led to a dark low-roofed room (possibly ventilation shaft?), which leads to a small opening into the room with the large staircase. The staircase room then has doors which lead to more rooms, including one containing the steps down to the death-tunnels. Walking to the end of these, in complete darkness, with only the intermittent flash of a camera to show the way, is pretty intense.

Anonymous said...

So this place is still standing? OMG

Anonymous said...

OMFG I was there last night, at like 1am, scariest shit i've ever seen!!! with the wind it makes so many weird noises!

I was too pussy to go more than a few metres inside :D

ShaeNae said...

Hi. My name is Shanae I am a very keep photographer. Umm I was wondering where this actually is? Could you give me an actual address.

Anonymous said...

ShaeNae:

http://maps.google.com.au/maps?q=south+fremantle+power+station&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF8&hl=en&hq=&hnear=Old+Power+Station,+Perth+Western+Australia+6163&ll=-32.09261,115.759764&spn=0.004208,0.009645&z=17

I suggest that if you go, you take a torch, as some of the lower levels are quite dark(some totally dark) even in full sunlight outside.

Brendan said...

love these photos. im curious about the tunnels? i heard they are blocked off at a certain point now, how far do they still go and has anyone been in them before they were blocked off? how far did they go... what were they for?

Anonymous said...

is this place here?
http://maps.google.com.au/maps?q=South%20Fremantle%20Power%20Station&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wl

jessica bartlett said...

was there last week, my group and i took lots of pics...

Anonymous said...

I work for a security company who found that body, didn't appear Ro be a murder, but was suspicious, they suggested it was a homeless person and the body was found on new years eve on a payroll to the site

AlmostLoren said...

hi there, great photos.
just wondering if you got permission to enter the site or just snuck in?
If you did get permission how did you as i am hoping to use this location for a video clip early next year.
Thanks a bunch

Anonymous said...

I went there with a mate the other night and had a look around. Even had a look in the basement and the blocked off tunnel...I can't see how that could lead to the prison given the distance and the direction. We saw some torches flashing around and thinking it best to get out of there in case it was security, we made a hopefully quiet and ninja-like retreat (if kicking an empty spray can in the pitch dark is ninja-like)...it was a good time and I'm wondering if there might be an alternative entrance to the other side of the tunnel (it was blocked with steel plate and lots of limestone rocks)

Anonymous said...

I was there two days ago, it was awesome. I was on my own so didn't venture to far in but got some great shots. I missed the office though so need to go back and do that. I have a photo of the same doorway as photo number 8 and it was funny to see the extra layers of graffiti that had been added since your shot.

Anonymous said...

Simply walking past the outer fence is trespassing. If the cops see you in there you wil be charged.

Anonymous said...

Hey my name is Kate and I'm wondering if you know of anyone who is selling these prints of the old power station? I'm in love with the 3rd one from the bottom, found a nice one on red bubble but too small for the wall I want to hang it on!
BTW those pics are amazing really capture the essence of that old building!

Anonymous said...

Has anyone got on the top roof??

Anonymous said...

will be venturing into the tunnels soon with a cordless angle grinder to take out that steel plate, hopefully i will be clearing up a few myths. :D

Anonymous said...

Also ill add with the murders and suicides, police aren't likely to release the details of exactly where suicides in the form of jumping have happened as to not enlighten other potential candidates of a 'good place' for it. I can only imagine the same would go for a murder in such a place.
Still, nothing compares to the beauty of it.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just saw your pics. I would like to go in but the area was fenced up with notice not to go in. Wonder can u direct me how to go in?

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-o-HEtZHJjc


fear factory film clip filmed in the power station, without permision. cops came and decided to allow it to continue. it was arranged to meet at a park close by without disclosure of the final place for the shoot, after leading people in small groups through the scrub we entered through a hole in the fence.

Anonymous said...

I was there last Sat 16/3/13 you cant get in any more they have built a second fence thats inside the old chain link one(the one with all the holes in it). This one is cemented into the ground, made out of sqaure bar an has spikes on top (almost pierced my nut sack trying to scale it) and there seems to be a permanent sercurity gaurd there. This is a shame since this was my first visit to the site after many years of procrastinating and hearing about what a wonderfull place it was from most of my friends who had been inside(I was 14 when they shut it down back in 1985). Looks like they'er gearing up for some major redevelopment
work. But I will persevere with my efforts to get in before this monumental piece of architecture is lost for ever to the corporate wankers who want to turn it into apartments for scumbags with way to much money. Mmmmm now where did I put my hacksaw and carjack.......

Anonymous said...

me and few of my mates will be heading there tomorrow, uh its real devastating to read what anonymous commented, but we're gonna give it a shot anyway, hopefully we can find our way around fences, i'll update you guys with whatever i end up with.

Anonymous said...

Seriously dont go there. Think about all the junkies over the years climbing over, touching and accidently cutting themselves in there. All it would take is for you to accidently cut yourself on the same thing they did and your stuffed. Its not safe, been in when i was younger. It is spooky best left at a distance. Better safer places on offer in perth where a hobo, vandal or druggy wont stab ya and the cops and security will leave alone.

Anonymous said...

shit i forgot to update, we managed to get in for like 10 minutes as we sneaked in while guard was arguing with other group of people who tried to jump the fence, only a few photographs taken and we only managed to explore around the first floor, hey it was pretty cool though, and okay, where should i go buddy? go kings park and place some lawn bowl?

Anonymous said...

Anon
group of friends and I managed to get In on Friday night 2/8/13 at 11:30 just missed the guard. Someone had cut the second fence but closed it up with a wire standing there for about 10 mins trying to undo the thing being the only girl you'd think the boys would pitch in to help ha nah. Once we were inside my god it was amazing went down to the tunnels up to the 3rd story. Its amazing there however we left our little exploration early as the boyfriend spotted a small fire going on the second level. Homeless or junkies? But definitely be going back loved it!!!!!

Mitch Homewood said...

hey guys, so this post is a little bit old now, is there still a permanent gaurd there or not? a mate went there a couple of weeks ago in broad daylight and reckons no gaurd, but if i get caught whats the fine? also will i need bolt cutters to get in?

Anonymous said...

I went a couple days ago and i saw no guard. Its easier to get in now so its not that much of a hassle. Just bring long pants just incase you scrape against something that could potentially cut you.

Udy Regan said...

For all the graffiti in there, it seems to all contribute to the beauty of the Fremantle Power Station. I could actually see the family coming up here to take pictures as well!

Anonymous said...

Was there today an was real easy to get in.... where abouts are these tunnels? an how did everyone get upto the second/third floor?

Anonymous said...

I went there about 2 weeks ago I tried going back in 2013 but there was a security guard but now in 2015 it's so easy to get in there's no security there's big holes in every fence that you don't even need to squeeze through you can just walk in but there is lots of people there now mainly photographers I haven't seen one homeless person in there either and you can also get into the tunnels now

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