Some history of Atwell Arcade

The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954) Monday 20 May 1895

Page 5 of 8.       


A most noticeable feature in the progress of Fremantle at the present time is the large number of new shops and residences which are in course of construction in the main street in order to meet the growing requirements of the town. The old corner block opposite the Town Hall, which many residents will remember as once having been the site of the old council chambers, is being rapidly demolished in order to make way for a row of two-story shops more in keeping with the times. The new buildings will have a frontage to High-street of 120ft., and comprise four shops with storerooms upon the ground floor. The first floor will be allotted to show and dwelling rooms. The shops are all of large size, being 28 x 35 in the clear, and the largest one at the corner will have as much as 38ft. frontage to the street.

Particular attention has been paid to the windows, some of which will be among the largest in the colony. Each window will consist of one sheet of glass, unbroken by any transom or mullion, thus affording special advantages to soft-goods men, whose goods may be dressed to the ceiling and still be clearly in view of the public. The large shop will have a frontage of 38ft., has three bays of glass, with tiled entrance between, and by this arrangement there will be nearly 50ft. of glass fronting High street.

The elevation has been designed in a conventional manner, similar to that so much in vogue in Melbourne during the great boom, and should therefore be of the most modern and approved style. The whole front is to be built of imported brick, tuck-pointed in black and finished with Doric columns, entablature and pediment worked in “Atsena” cement, the windows also being ornamented with pediments and ornamental dressings of the same material. The cornices will be boldly outlined and enriched with foliated medallions, the whole being surmounted with well proportioned balustrading and panelled pediments culminating in a larger pediment enriched with designs for the modeller to execute. In the panels with which the front will be adorned a new feature will be introduced All these panels are to be set with ornamental glazed tile, which should produce a happy relief in the well toned mouldings of cement. The cement work is all to be coloured in imitation of rich tinted sandstone, and in fact the whole front is designed to present to the eye a desirable combination both of shade and colour. The drawings and construction arc in the hands of Mr P. J. Wilson, A.R.V.T.A., architect, the contractor being Mr. W. Reynolds, of Fremantle. The work is being carried out for Mr. H. Atwell, and when completed will cost about (Pounds) 2,600.



The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954)
Saturday 1 July 1933 p 6


A contract has been let by Messrs. Oldham, Boas and Ednie-Brown, architects, to Areus Ltd., for the reconstruction of the High-street fronts of Atwell’s arcade, Fremantle. The work, which will cost about £2,000, comprises the modernising the whole of the frontage to High-street, and diverting the entrance to make a more direct line through to Cantonment-street, necessitating the reconstruction of approximately half of the present arcade. The shop fronts will be carried out in nickel finish, with tiled bases and piers and there will be additional and larger shops. The main walk of the arcade will be formed in terrazzo marble. An. effective electric lighting system has been evolved, and generally the work will be an advantage to this part of Fremantle.


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