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Victoria Quay's Historic C Shed Restored

Fremantle Ports has invested $6 million in extensive refurbishments at C Shed at Victoria Quay, intending to return the historic wharf building to community use.
  • Community
  • Industrial
  • Inner Harbour
  • Works
  • Published 21 Aug 2023

The culmination of many years of planning, work and financial investment has meant that Fremantle Ports' oldest wharf building, C Shed, has been lovingly restored and will soon be made available for future use.

The refurbishment of the historic C Shed at Victoria Quay is part of Fremantle Ports' broad vision to upgrade and enhance facilities at the stunning heritage waterside precinct.

The vision is to upgrade the facility in keeping with its maritime history and develop and introduce new and exciting uses for the building.

The project commenced in April 2023 and is expected to be completed later this year, at a projected cost of $6 million, making it the most substantial heritage refurbishment at Victoria Quay.


C shed before refurbishmentC Shed with new roof

Pictures of C Shed before refurbishment (left) and after (right)

To view a video that explains the process undertaken by Fremantle Ports so far, click on the video below or on this link to view.

thumbnail C Shed video

Fremantle Ports has developed the vision for this project in partnership with the City of Fremantle, the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, local businesses and residents as part of the development of the Future of Fremantle vision that seeks to revitalise and re-imagine the future for Victoria Quay.

The work has been completed with the help and support of many people including skilled and experienced experts from Fremantle Ports in the fields of engineering, safety, maintenance, planning and heritage, and the restoration works have been done in collaboration with local businesses including Advanteering Civil Engineering, a local Perth engineering company.

Advanteering Civil Engineering has shared a video they created that includes a time-lapse video of the work they did to restore the historic building.  Click on the image below, or on this link to view.

Advanteering Civil Engineering video of C Shed Works


The focus of the restoration work is on working sensitively to restore the building and make it safe and attractive for future use. Where possible, original features of the building have been restored and repaired and re-used, including the jarrah timber structural supports.

Once the building is fully refurbished, Fremantle Ports will partner with the successful proponent to ensure that the fit-out and future use is in keeping with the majesty and potential of the building, ensuring that its future use is in alignment with the Future of Fremantle vision for the area.

In 2022, Fremantle Ports decided to undertake refurbishment works to prevent further deterioration and bring this iconic shed back to life. Refurbishment plans for C Shed have evolved with great sensitivity and being respectful to the site's past, reflecting its more than 100-year history, located in a precinct that is entirely heritage listed and significant.

The jarrah-framed shed was used throughout the 20th century to unload cargo from ships, but also witnessed the arrival and departure of passengers, migrants and even Queen Elizabeth II, in the period before the passenger terminal opened in 1960.

T Models at transit shed

C Shed in active use for storing cargo at Victoria Quay

Merino sheep from the eastern states arrive for showing at the Perth Royal Show - 18 Sept 1955 - Westralia

These merino sheep were unloaded via C Shed on their way to being displayed at the Perth Royal Show in 1955

Advanteering was engaged by Fremantle Ports to complete the following components of the works, which together formed the backbone of the project to restore the old structure back into a sound and functional building:

  • repairing the post footings;
  • repairing timber truss framing;
  • undertaking shed realignment and straightening;
  • installing a new sheet pile wall;
  • replace the roofing;
  • wharf repairs; and
  • reinstating the west end wall.

To date, the works have included structural refurbishment, but even this work has been complex and costly, due to site issues - the land that C Shed rests on is land reclaimed from the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River). When work began, the structure was on a significant lean, with footings out of plumb by 300mm in some places, meaning the entire roofline was not straight or sound. Fremantle Ports sought and deployed expertise in many disciplines to develop a building and construction plan to bring the building into compliance and according to our own safety standards, including through the use of the latest restoration methods and technologies.

The restoration, and considerations for the shed's future use, have been planned and designed in keeping with the Burra Charter -  a framework for heritage management in which multiple heritage and other values can be understood and explicitly addressed. The charter’s success stems from its flexibility in accommodating evolving notions of heritage, changing economic and political circumstances, and vastly different types of places. To find out more about the Burra Charter, click here.

Safe and Sustainable
The works were done according to the port's strict standards of workplace health and safety and with a keen eye on sustainability, ensuring that there was no impact on local air, water or sea/bird life, with noise kept to a minimum. Where possible, local Western Australian materials were used including native timbers.

The overall approach has been taken within Fremantle Ports' corporate values (collaboration, accountability, respect, empathy), and positioned within our newly-adopted Reconciliation Action Plan, cognisant of the building's location in a strategically significant site on Victoria Quay, and its proximity to the river. Given the site's value (historically, and in terms of its intrinsic economic and commercial value as a riverside property close to metropolitan Fremantle), our vision has been to return the site to its former glory and open it up to future uses that optimise its potential.

Once the refurbishment is complete, a process will be conducted to examine future uses of the site to draw visitors to Victoria Quay and to bring new and exciting options to the precinct.

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