Rumoured Plans for The South Fremantle Power Station
With its imposing walls, derelict halls and surrounding overgrowth, you could mistake the South Fremantle Power Station as the expensive backdrop to a dystopian movie.
Since its decommission in 1985, the iconic building has spent over 30 years crumbling on the border between North Coogee and South Fremantle: the last relic of Coogee’s transformation from industrial hive to luxury coastal living.
Musings of what to do with the heritage listed site have divided opinion for years. But one thing’s for sure: everyone has something to say.
Cockburn mayor, Logan Howlett, recently claimed ‘the possibilities are endless’; a sentiment which has been echoed over the years with the variety of rumours and speculation about potential redevelopment.
As we all love a bit of speculation, let’s expand on some of these rumours!
A budding arts centre
With its graffiti-laden walls and spacious interiors, the South Fremantle Power Station would lend itself well as a creative institution.
The building is no stranger to the arts and over the years has played host to a number of music videos and indie movies. It’s also one of the most photographed buildings in Western Australia, clearly a very inspiring place for many!
Back in 2014, the building and surrounding area was flagged for residential development by property developer Landcorp.
Landcorp’s ambitious plans were to fully reconstruct and restore the South Fremantle Power Station. The site would then house 900 homes along with galleries, restaurants, bars and retail space.
The proposal has an essence of grandeur that fits a building of such iconic standing.
London’s Battersea Power Station would provide good inspiration for a project like this. Also a listed building, the former coal-fired power station and its surrounding area is being transformed into a brand new neighbourhood right on the Thames River. Complete with new homes, bars, restaurants, offices and shops, the project promises a hive of activity in South London and further investment for the future.
You can really see this model working for both Coogee and Fremantle, whilst embracing the site’s heritage.
A live music venue
Having seen its fair share of illegal raves over the years, there’s no denying that the power station would be the perfect venue for live music events.
For inspiration, let’s again take look at a similar project in the UK. Launched in February 2017, London’s Printworks nightclub has already made a name for itself as a groundbreaking venue for live and electronic music. A converted print factory south of the Thames, the warehouse is a unique experience for its exposed metal, overhanging balconies and long, narrow dancefloor.
Whilst this is an ambitious plan for Coogee – and might not fly with the neighbours – the building’s network of metal beams and cathedral-like hallways would add a wow factor to any gig. Every DJ in the world would want to play in a setting like that!
I’m a big fan of this one. Large areas of land surrounding the power station create the perfect open air space and could hold a huge crowd. Imagine sipping a glass of bubbles in your deckchair, and watching your favourite movie projected against such an impressive structure. You couldn’t ask for a more epic backdrop for a film screening!
If anyone’s a fan of Secret Cinema, they know how effective a large venue can be when it comes to creating immersive experiences. The events thrown by this production company are next level, and if the power station was to be renovated as an events space, this would certainly be an interesting venue for a company like Secret Cinema.
The future’s unknown…for now
A reimagining of the power station would be a huge pull for both Coogee and Fremantle. While it’s refreshing to see such a variety of creative ideas for the landmark, it seems that – for now – most are just rumours, and nothing concrete has been proposed for a long time.
One huge obstacle is the cleanup and restoration required to make the building safe and fit for purpose once more. Being a heritage listed property limits the scope of restructure and adaptation for potential projects, which is possibly the reason why previous proposals have fallen flat.
The potential for the site is limitless and remains an exciting prospect, but it’ll take a monumental effort for any proposal to really gain traction.
I’ll be sure to let you know if any plans become concrete!
Read up on the Secrets of Coogee, Perth’s Fastest Growing Seaside Community
Have your say
What would you like to see happen to the South Fremantle Power Station? Any of the above? Or something completely different?
Please feel free to share your comments below.