Brief Timeline of South Fremantle Power Station
* References will be uploaded shortly
** Comprehensive timeline coming soon
13 February – The building is riddled with asbestos and it will cost millions to clean it up, as well as the contaminated soil around it. The relocation of the still-operating switchyard will cost at least $100 million (Freo’s View).
08 June – The power station is described as being in a very poor and deteriorating condition. “The steelwork structure is severely corroded and the concrete is failing in numerous areas.” All window glazing has been destroyed through vandalism. “Steel window frames and glazing bars are corroded, warped and in some cases removed from their openings, which have created areas of weakness allowing concrete to crumble away from reveals and exposure of reinforcement bars.”
The smoke stacks and precipitators, conveyors and coal crushing plan have been removed a long time ago. “New openings have been formed in the external walls for removal of plant and equipment and floor pits to the Turbine Room have been infilled.” Apart from the overhead crane, all plant and equipment have since been removed, as well as some separate buildings (inHerit).
14 June – The South Fremantle Power Station is among nine sites to be added to the State Register of Heritage Places.
23 June – The Western Australian Government announces South Fremantle Power Station is up for sale and calls for all expressions of interest (Media Statements, Synergy).
25 June – A dozen offers have been submitted within the first 24 hours of the South Fremantle Power Station being open for expressions of interest. “The heritage listing will likely lower its valuation” (The West Australian).
September - Subject to board approval, Synergy expects to announce the successful buyer of the power station.
June – With the collaboration of several Perth street artists, the words “IT’S FOR US” is painted on the coal stack floor, the concrete area between the power station and Robb Road. The artwork runs for the entire length of the building and due to its size, can be seen from the air (Perth Now).
July 26 – A Facebook event is created called, “Storm the Fremantle Powerstation, They Can’t Stop Us All,” based on the spoof event ‘Storm Area 51’ to take place on September 20 with thousands of Facebookers joining in on the conspiracy (Fremantle Herald).
February 9 – The City of Cockburn wants the power station made safe and open to the public.
Aside from a brief scene in and around the Swan View Tunnel, the movie Derelict is filmed at the power station. Directed by brothers Christian (who also wrote the screenplay) and James Broadhurst, the full movie is available to watch on YouTube.
Jay Mason - "The most prominent thing I ever saw was the dirty great mound of shoes in the tunnel in 2017. At least 100 odd shoes! It was very weird. We climbed up the top levels, trudged around the tunnels, walked in there day and night and hid from guards in so many places but that fucking mound of shoes is my most prominent memory."
April 30 – A Byford man dies after he falls 15 metres from the second floor at the power station. Just before 6pm on Saturday night, it’s reported he fell through a hole in the floor. Emergency services workers provide the man with medical assistance but he dies a short time later.
May 2 – A woman who witnessed the death of the 24 year old man had warned him that what he was doing was dangerous. With a woman he was with, they were climbing up the side of the building using smashed window ledges as footings. “The pair had climbed about 30 metres and were likely trying to get to an upper level inaccessible from the inside, as internal staircases had been removed” (WAToday).
May 4 – Questions are raised about who is responsible for securing the run down power station.
May 8 – The family of Todd Rowlinson, who died at the power station last week, call for the site to be made safe or have it pulled down to prevent further tragedies.
May 13 – Security for the power station comes under scrutiny.
January – Brothers Alex and Lewis film a video riding their dirt bikes in the power station, pulling sweet moves including a backflip (FilmThings Media).
March 31 – The Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) resolve to transfer the power station land from urban deferred zone to urban zone.
April 12 – Photographer Nina Otranto does an amazing photoshoot with a number of (Nina Otranto Photography).
April 22 – The overhaul of the Cockburn Coast is expected to cost $4.9 billion with the first residential lots released for sale today. The size of the project, intending to house 12,000 people as well as a new primary school, entertainment precinct and businesses in the 106 hectare area means it could take 15-20 years to fully realise the redevelopment.
September 18 – A potential buyer for the power station is in talks with its owner, Synergy, which is confirmed by real estate principal William Porteous (Fremantle Herald).
A teenager at the power station witnesses a man climbing the windows externally on the west side to get to the roof. His female partner, who is described as a big lady, is then witnessed climbing up after him. She holds a six pack of bourbon and cola in each armpit as she does!
A 10 year old boy is chased through the building by a man wielding an axe. Security guards were onsite at the time but no other information was given.
January 1 – Synergy merges with Verve Energy but keep the Synergy name.
July 1 – An auditor is appointed to recommend the appropriate classification of the power station site.
August 11 - Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk, reveals the State Government’s masterplan for the former power station. It will have 900 dwellings around the power station, the marina proposal has been dropped and four floors of apartments will be built on top of the power station.
August 14 – It’s estimated to take five to eight years to put the masterplan into action. The lower floors of the power station will provide space for public events, shops and offices with a piazza to the north of the site. The foreshore will be landscaped with boardwalks, a café, ponds, swimming pools and a playground (The West Australian).
September 12 – The extensive graffiti at the power station is said to be almost as famous as the derelict structure itself.
December 16 – Minister for Lands Terry Redman, releases an update on the Cockburn coast redevelopment.
August 3 – A new fence is being built around the power station with solid metal bars and spikes on top. “No more skipping through a hole. It will still be climbable just more dangerous” (Save South Fremantle Power Station).
September – Alex Dawson photographs a nude shoot on the main staircase.
The dead car is now back outside.
July 20 – Verve Energy and Landcorp start working on redevelopment plans for the power station.
An online forum discusses entry to the upper floors as still possible through a window to the office area, left of the entry into the main area (as you look at the building from the outside).
Online forum comments are made regarding the upper levels. A lot of the walkways and bridges tend to be a little iffy, some creak/crack as you walk on them, others such as the ladders to the upper outer balconies have a lot of rust on them and could break at any time.
A police officer severely injures a finger whilst chasing some young people inside the power station (unsubstantiated).
May 4 – Cockburn police arrest five adults and three juveniles at the power station, seizing 96 spray paint cans.
January – Two young brothers go for an early morning explore after a night of heavy drinking. In what appears to be the small room above the battery and switch rooms on the beach side of the power station, the younger brother is crawling through the ceiling when plaster falls and hits his brother below, covering him with a heap of pigeon poo. The older brother soon becomes very sick with serious stomach problems for approximately nine months.
June 27 – A photo taken from the ground floor looking up, shows a large horizontal crack across the concrete ceiling (Perth Urbex).
June 28 – “A lot of the greenery on the western side was overgrowth from an English cottage style garden planted to pretty the facility up in its day” (Perth Urbex).
June - Authorities deliberately collapse the only entrance tunnel and barricade it. Two inches of steel plate and at least 40 tonnes of sand and rock. Other people state that three subterranean levels that still had heavy machinery left behind, have also now been completely filled with sand and rubble by Western Power to prevent unauthorised entry and to reduce the risk of collapse.
Occult cults are said to practice their sinister rituals in the tunnels. Pentagrams are scattered throughout the buildings empty rooms.
October 28 – Redevelopment or any plan to move forward on the power station is stalled due to stifled negotiations between its owner, Verve Energy, the Heritage Council and other stakeholders with no sign of resolution.
10 years after a dead car was left behind at the power station, it is still there. It used to sit outside the building where people used to throw rocks and bricks at it, then someone moved it inside. Some people report it as being a vintage Datsun 120Y, while another said it was a Holden Torano.
November 21 – A Conservation Order is made for the power station.
December 21 – The Conservation Order protects the power station from demolition, damage or alterations in the short term (The West Australian).
Western Power Corporation disband and forms Synergy, Horizon Power and Western Power.
June 7 - Planning Minister Alannah McTiernan releases a vision for the Cockburn Coas, which includes a five-storey beachfront apartment block, 180 housing lots, 200 units, a commercial centre and a marina with public boat pens. The area encompassing the power station site has no firm plans but suggestions include a hotel, shopping centre, casino, offices or units (The West Australian).
April 20 - American Industrial metal band Fear Factory film the music video for their single Cyberwaste (from their Archetype album). They manage to get a crowd, equipment, a film crew and tape a music video inside the power station. Police turn up but they don’t take action other than to supervise, particularly as there are too many people. Somewhere inside is a huge Fear Factory logo.
18 June – Western Power ask the City of Cockburn for assistance to change the power station’s zoning from Parks and Recreation to Urban zoning. The City of Cockburn considers requesting the Western Australian Planning Commission to initiate an amendment.
In one of the rooms on the second level there is unmistakable blood on one of the walls, including signs in the stains of a struggle. A police officer confirmed to the person who witnessed this that there was no clean-up of the crime scene, before the lower tunnels and admin block was "sealed".
Demolition of the South Fremantle Power Station is being considered, with the City of Cockburn council supporting this decision, “subject to the land being made freely available for public access, as part of the foreshore to Owen Anchorage” (City of Cockburn).
Justice is filmed in Fremantle as a local movie and includes extensive scenes shot at the power station as a location (Australian Cinema). “An alcoholic is overcoming his addiction while trying to prove his innocence for a crime he didn't commit; the murder of a police officer.” Directed by Ron Elliott, written by Robert Roget and starring Marcus Graham, Kerry Armstrong and Simon Westaway (IMDB).
Three murders take place at the South Fremantle Power Station (unsubstantiated).
04 April - Under the Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1984, Monadelphous Bains Harding Joint Venture are granted an exemption to use flat synthetic fibre webbing slings to remove asbestos from the South Fremantle Power Station.
The power station is almost entirely guttered by demolition contractors, who remove asbestos and hydrocarbons from the building and grounds. All removable equipment and plant are stripped from the roof and interior. The Workshops and Stores, Amenities Building, Canteen, Ash Pump Chamber and associated structures and services are completely removed from the site. This process is intended to prepare the building for sale and demolition. The only significant piece of equipment left in the building is the 70 ton ‘Perry’ gantry crane (Western Prospects).
A murder takes place at the South Fremantle Power Station (unsubstantiated).
November – A study on “organic pollutants in marine sediments and the common mussel” is conducted, analysing sediments at 175 sites and in mussel tissue from 35 sites. Traces of PCB are found in sediments from two sites in the Cockburn Sound (Environment Australia).
Major deconstruction of the plant begins with the removal of four chimney stacks, rooftop dust precipitators and the coal conveyor system (Western Prospects).
Day of the Panther starts filming with a lot of the action scenes taking place in the power station. Its sequel Strike of the Panther is also shot at the same time and both direct-to-video films are directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith (Scott Murray). Both films are privately financed and filming takes place at a number of other Perth and Fremantle locations, including the “Mount Hospital, Chinatown in Roe Street and the Chinese restaurant on Mill Point Road near the freeway” (The Worst of Perth).
August 9 – Tests of fish from the immediate vicinity of the power station show they are contaminated with up to 140 times the recommended level of the potentially lethal chemical PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls), (Canberra Times).
The State Energy Commission of WA takes samples from the South Fremantle Power Station groyne for PCB levels, following the discovery of PCB capacitors in the groyne structure. “Upon dismantling the groyne it was discovered that all of the capacitors were above the water level, the capacitors were removed and the groyne rebuilt” (Environment Australia).