Explore a decaying, haunted monument to Perth's history
Casting an imposing shadow over C.Y. O'Connor beach is a decaying monument to our past and a stunning showcase of brutalist architecture. Closed in 1985, the South Fremantle Power Station now resembles a decrepit shell of its former glory, coated in a mosaic of urban art.
The abandoned South Fremantle Power Station in North Coogee was opened in 1951 after five years of construction to power a growing Perth and Fremantle metropolis. Employing over 250 people at its peak, the station was eventually closed after advances in technology (ironically at the now controversial Muja plant) deemed it uneconomical.
South & East walls of the abandoned Fremantle Power Station
To get the best out of a trip to the power station it's best to go weekdays or after dark on weekends as the place is well patrolled during the day on weekends. Technically you aren't allowed to go in, but if you want to be adventurous, half of the fence on the beach side has been pulled down for your convenience.
Once inside the building you're met with a cavernous chamber, completely empty besides rubble and empty bottles. The walls however are alive with colour. Every nook and cranny available to be painted, has been painted, then repainted, and so on. The internal structure is an incredible 360 degree mosaic of constantly evolving graffiti art. The lengths some people have gone to to get prime real estate is just unbelievable.
By day the sunlight bounces of the brightly coloured walls, but by night the graffiti adds to the abandoned stations harrowing reputation. This is a place many believe to be haunted.
The wind creates an eerie atmosphere as it whips through the thousands of empty window sills, torn remnants of cloth flapping in the breeze. Chains dangle slowly and rustic girders strain as the distant sound of crashing waves haunts the night air. The building is loud yet unnervingly devoid of sound and life.
Your mind starts to play tricks on you, you're sure you just heard footsteps, a voice, breathing. The inevitable rumours surrounding the abandoned - haunted - power station are humbling.
If you're to believe word-of-mouth, underground tunnels connect the power station to the Fremantle Prison, within which occult cults practice their sinister rituals. There is potentially some merit to this as pentagrams are scattered throughout the buildings empty rooms. Many, myself included, have found patches of blood on the floors and walls.
A lone gantry crane is the sole reminder of the power stations industrial past
Rumours of murder and suicide are abundant - the latter of which is easy to see as truth, suicides are rarely reported. According to various informal sources, four murders have taken places in the office area. The ghosts of those said to see their life end here are told to be trapped forever within the monoliths confines.
Adding to the daunting rumours are the equally distressing truths. This is a winter refuge of junkies and the homeless. Those sounds you keep telling yourself are in your head may likely be coming from a group of displaced citizens hiding from the realities of the world which has failed them.
Sun shines through the abandoned power station windows
Whilst the Fremantle Power station was operating it was not immune to tragedy either. Many workers did meet an untimely, gruesome demise inside its walls. From falling to electrical burns and mechanical mishaps, there are plenty of lives consumed by the power station to give rise to haunting stories.
Due to its heritage listing, great difficulties have arisen in what to do with the building. Demolition seems the obvious answer due to the enormous cost that would surely be encountered by redeveloping it, but its historical significance has so far prevented this.
Remnants of the abandoned powerstations cooling pond
With new urban developments now sprouting up around the powerhouse it is becoming increasingly urgent a plan is put to place. The once isolated powerhouse is now surrounded by new housing estates, and no prime coastal land to date has been able to escape the clutches of Perth's unquenchable thirst for development.
This is socially irresponsible, dangerous, and directly contravenes occupational health and safety directives. Tom, do you plan on paying the medical bills for the person who has rubble fall on them and can't ever walk again?? I'd suggest not. What about for those who take in asbestos and die of cancer in 10 years time. You paying their chemo costs?? Probably not hey. Think about what information you are putting out there. It is mind-numbully stupid to recommend people enter a heritage listed, abondoned building that is in a state of disrepair for something to do on a weekend.
I've been fascinated by this place since I was a kid. Visited it several times and spent dozens of hours just wandering the halls in quiet wonder. Never have done it at night though, and never have been too deep into the dark below. The clock is certainly ticking for this old building, so I do recommend any who are interested to visit the place while it is still worth doing so.
Great article! Thanks for documenting the place. i located the fence yesterday and was wondering if it was safe to go in (in case I get robbed of my camera or caught by police patrols). Would you reckon it's safe to visit?
in 2004, American Industrial metal band Fear Factory filmed their music video for the single Cyberwaste off their album Archetype at this location. Somewhere inside there's a huge Fear Factory logo (to Fs)
30th APRIL 2016
A Byford man died after he fell from the second floor of the dilapidated old South Fremantle Power Station.
It is believed the 24-year-old man was with a woman when he fell 15 metres through a hole in the floor just before 6pm on Saturday night.
I visited this on 05.03.16 and it was the most amazing place I have ever been too, perfect spot for photographers like me. There was some scary looking bits like dark rooms but it's definitely not a risk to go inside. Yeah you have to jump a few electric fences but it's well worth it and I'd recommend it to anyone as its a safe place and as for 2016 the roof is still on and isn't going to fall anytime soon. I spent a good 3 hours just wandering and admiring it. Please have a look for your self !!!
The powerhouse can be an enjoyable time of you understand the consequences that you might face. Some of the people you encounter in the building aren't always that nice and I've know people that have been robbed in their. Be careful where you stand, who you go with and be on the lookout for security. It is full of asbestos as well so hanging around for too long or touching anything isn't a great idea. Correct footwear is needed and make sure you can run if you need to. It can be dangerous so if you're not ready to face the consequences or you're not going to stick to the concrete parts of the floor then don't go because you will injur yourself or you will die.
Went here on Saturday night (21st March) it was very windy but getting in was tricky as there are so many holes in the fence but so much barb wire that was stopping us. But once inside it was just fully covered in graffiti and I even found my name (Kiara) sprayed on the floor!!! Didn't stay there long as it was pretty creepy and there was other people there
If you're looking for something to do on your boring Saturday night go check this place out.
I have been in the building but I would not tell anyone else to go in. That is a decision for each person to make themselves. Barney does great pano tours so take his advice if you would like to experience the building totally without risk.
The previous comment about this being "socially irresponsible" was actually written by me and accidently posted under a colleague's name. Please refrain from sending Kyale messages about this. If you have a comment to make direct it at me. For the record, I'm not adverse to enjoying life or thrill-seeking if that's your thing. It is not up to Tom to recommend people break the law in the name of a good time. People make their own choices about risk taking - it is not good practice to encourage people to do so, particularly when it is an illegal and dangerous action. I agree that OSH has gone mad in the modern world but Tom has crossed a line when he is advising people to break the law. As I suggested previously, Tom should take ownership of this action if somebody ends up injured or arrested as a result.
I think that this place it really good but I've never been inside before or seen it, so can you guys please help me with these following questions.
1) Are you aloud inside the building?
2) If you are aloud to enter the building do you have to have permission to enter?
3) who can help me get permission to enter the building without trespassing?
Your article was hilarious. I hope to get inside to shoot (some photos) and I hope the security has found something better to do with their time. This is an amazing building that should be celebrated, not ignored.
I've been in there on a few occasions. I wear a pendant or cross. You can get lost in a particular spot. I followed some girls they went through a window which lead to that entrance hall which is short and you can find the staircase and levels to the top floor. And so many rooms and an underground. That's the spot you don't want to be on you're own. I almost had to follow my nose. I could of been lost in that part. Otherwise.
It's good for the curious to enter at their own risk.