Fremantle Harbours Master Plan

We are working on a master plan to revitalise and better connect the Fremantle Fishing Boat, Challenger and Success Harbours to the Fremantle city centre

Fremantle Boat Harbour Master Plan artist impression

The Fremantle Harbours Master Plan will guide the development of the Fremantle Fishing Boat, Challenger and Success Harbours for the next 40 years.

The masterplan aims to reconnect the city centre, port and harbours to create a livelier, more accessible waterfront. The aspirational master plan identifies opportunities for improved infrastructure, ways to enhance access and public spaces, and new development sites, while maintaining an authentic working boat harbour. 

The plan proposes:

  • converting Mews Road into a promenade with a shared use plaza for festivals and events;

  • improving connections through well-defined gateway entries with the extension of Norfolk Street, an upgrade of Wardan Lane to full movement and by strengthening the existing central Esplanade Reserve pedestrian entry;

  • enhanced public spaces including new, safer play areas for children;

  • more bicycle parking, end of trip facilities and better public transport integration;

  • maintaining an authentic working boat harbour focussing on the fishing industry, maritime services and associated commercial enterprises by retaining but relocating a large commercial boat lifting facility, providing for the berthing and provisioning of the growing superyacht sector and by promoting value-added fishing and commercial maritime activities; and

  • creating new development sites opposite Bathers Beach House and where the boat lifter currently operates.

The Department of Transport (DoT) developed the master plan in collaboration with the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage and the City of Fremantle, under the oversight of the Fremantle Harbours Activation Master Plan Steering Group.  

Project background

DoT and the City of Fremantle recognised there was a need for a plan to guide harbour development and reconnect the harbours, port and city centre.

In 2019, DoT began work with the City of Fremantle; the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH); other government agencies; and stakeholder groups to create a renewed vision for the harbours.

In 2020, DoT formed the Fremantle Harbours Activation Master Plan Steering Group. The Steering Group, which included members from the City and DPLH, considered the key issues associated with the development of the harbours and prepared a draft master plan. 

The draft master plan was informed by stakeholder engagement. 

Project status

In July 2022, the draft master plan was released to the public for feedback. 

The public comment period has closed and the project team is now considering all feedback received.

Media statement: Future of Fremantle harbours unveiled in draft master plan

Delivering the master plan

DoT is preparing an implementation strategy for the master plan, which:

  • sets out how they will work with key stakeholders to achieve the vision of the master plan, and
  • identifies several priority planning projects - all of which have commenced.

The implementation strategy will be informed by an access plan, harbour design guidelines and investment logic mapping for boat lifting operations.

Fremantle Harbours Access Plan

Access, walkability, and car parking were key themes of stakeholder feedback on the Fremantle Harbours Masterplan.

The Fremantle Harbours Access Plan will aim to develop the best possible transport planning solutions for the harbours. It will identify how DoT can enhance access and walkability to and within the harbours and manage car access and parking to support the masterplan’s vision.

Harbour Design Guidelines

Design guidelines, referencing the new State Planning Policy 7.0 (Design of the Built Environment), will be used to the inform the design and built form of the harbours.

In future, the design guidelines will operate as a decision-making tool for development applications determined by the Western Australian Planning Commission.

Investment Logic Mapping for Boat Lifting Operations

As part of the master plan implementation, boat lifting operations will be relocated within the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour.

The relocation will provide the opportunity to ensure the boat lifting operations meet the requirements of current and future users.

DoT is undertaking an Investment Logic Mapping (ILM) process to inform the relocation of the boat lifting operations.

An ILM is a process that clearly and systematically establishes and outlines the rationale behind an investment decision and the desired benefits to be achieved.

The ILM will result in a visual representation of the key factors that are considered when evaluating an investment opportunity and will help ensure that all relevant information is considered in the decision-making process.

Community consultation

DoT conducted technical investigations and extensive consultation with harbour tenants, users, and the City of Fremantle to inform and refine the draft master plan. 

In July 2022, DoT released the draft master plan to the public for feedback on the My Say Transport website and held a drop in information session. 

My Say Transport: Draft Fremantle Harbours Master Plan survey


What area does the draft master plan cover?

The draft master plan includes the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour and Challenger and Success Harbours. It also considers the adjacent Esplanade Park, Bathers Beach, the rail line and Fremantle Port, as well as nearby residential and commercial development.

What is proposed to make the waterfront more accessible?

The master plan identifies opportunities to make the waterfront more accessible by:

  • Introducing two-way access at Wardan Lane so Mews Road can be used for events and activities without impacting access to the working boat harbour. 
  • Extending Norfolk Street directly into Mews Road at the southern end, opening a view corridor straight to the water and significantly improving wayfinding.
  • Closing the Arundel Street entrance, reducing traffic along The Esplanade and limiting conflict points for cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Creating more facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and alternative transport modes
  • An opportunity to re-route the CAT bus right into the waterfront.

What is proposed to make the waterfront livelier?

By changing the road access points, Mews Road between Norfolk Street and Wardan Lane can be closed and used for events and activities. This space will be pedestrian-focused, reflecting cosmopolitan waterfront precincts around the world. 

New plazas and park lands will be developed both along the water and tucked in behind buildings for those days when the ‘Fremantle Doctor’ is a little bit chilling. 

The draft master plan envisages new land parcels that will be developed over the next 40 years that will bring people and life back to the water. New development will allow for accommodation in a mixed-use setting to bring people into the area night and day.

How does the plan better link the city centre and port to the harbours?

The draft master plan identifies opportunities to link Bathers Beach to the port, and Norfolk Street and The Esplanade to the city centre by improving public spaces and pedestrian walkways, enhancing safety and creating better visibility and views to the water.

Who will be responsible for implementing and funding the projects and changes proposed in the master plan?

DoT manages the Fremantle Fishing Boat, Challenger and Success Harbours and will lead the implementation of the final master plan. The City of Fremantle will also play an important role in implementation, particularly in areas outside DoT’s management. 

The final master plan will be used to guide the preparation of business cases to inform future capital works projects. 

Some projects and upgrades specified in the master plan may be funded by different parties, depending on land ownership and management details.

Contact us

To find out more or sign up for project updates, email the project team at 

Page last updated: Wed May 24 2023 11:06:49 AM