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Fremantle Then & Now: Historical Panoramas

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by Shannon Meyerkort (subscribe)
Writer. Storyteller. Find out more at shannonmeyerkort.com/
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Explore 150 years of history
As a history lover, there is nothing I love more than pouring over vintage maps and photographs. When I write, I print out old images to inspire me and stick them on the wall over my computer. My bookshelves are full of historical texts and resources.

So it's safe to say I will be visiting the WA Maritime Museum to see its new exhibition: Fremantle Then & Now: Historical Panoramas. This new interactive and immersive show explores the changing face of Fremantle from the 1800s to the present day, with a series of sweeping historical panoramic photographs projected onto a large curved screen.

Fremantle historic
Fremantle: Then and Now, image from WA Maritime Museum


Taken at seven vantage points across the port city and across more than 150 years, the exhibition also uses immersive digital projection technologies developed by the Curtin University Hub for Immersive Visualisation and eResearch (HIVE). The 20 panoramic images have been digitally layered through a collaboration between HIVE and the State Library of Western Australia.

Curtin University's HIVE Manager, Associate Professor Andrew Woods said photographic panoramas provide a wonderful way to experience a city. "We are fortunate that photographers over the years have captured these amazing views of Fremantle revealing details of the familiar and the unusual. By applying modern visualisation technologies to these photographic historical treasures, we are allowing visitors to travel back in time and see Fremantle in a way they may have never seen before," A/Prof. Woods said.

The exhibition also explores Fremantle's or Walyalup's deep history over millennia, and the dramatic changes that followed the arrival of Europeans. Local photographers and photographic studios are also featured.

Western Australian Museum Chief Executive Officer, Alec Coles said Fremantle Then & Now is a chance for visitors to reflect on the city's past, present, and future. "The exhibition highlights the waves of change Fremantle/Walyalup has experienced whilst maintaining its recent strong sense of identity as a cosmopolitan and vibrant, port city," Mr Coles said. "As you 'virtually' enter the streets and alleyways in the panoramas, you will encounter fascinating stories of the people who have lived and worked in this place."

A program of associated events celebrating the changes and legacy of Fremantle has been developed and includes self-guided tours, walking tours for schools, photography and craft workshops, school holiday activities, lectures, and more.

The exhibition is on display from Friday 23 September 2022 to Sunday 19 February 2023 from 9.30am to 5pm.

Entry to the new exhibition is included with paid entry to the WA Maritime Museum. Fremantle Then & Now is held in partnership with Curtin HIVE, the City of Fremantle, and the State Library of Western Australia.

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Why? Fascinating look into Fremantle's history
When: Open daily 9.30am to 5pm
Where: WA Maritime Museum
Cost: $15 adults, children 15 and under FREE
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