City of FremantlePopulation forecast
Skip to content

City of Fremantle

Drivers of population change

The City of Fremantle is located in Perth's western suburbs, about 20km from the CBD. It is a diverse area, encompassing residential, industrial, maritime (including major port facilities), commercial, entertainment and tourism land uses. The City encompasses a total land area of about 19 square kilometres, including significant river foreshore and coastline.

Development history

European settlement dates from 1829 when the port was established for the Swan River Colony, with the township established soon after. The main industries were shipping, fishing and farming. Gradual growth took place during the mid 1800s. More rapid growth took place during the 1890s and early 1900s, spurred by the opening of the railway line from Perth in 1881, the opening of the Inner Harbour in 1897, and the gold rush. The City had a population of under 19,000 in the 1911, growing to about 22,000 in 1933, then to about 31,000 in 1954. Significant development occurred from the 1950s into the early 1970s, particularly in the southern and eastern suburbs. The population declined during the late 1970s and early 1980s, but has increased again in the last twenty years due to additional dwelling stock in the form of apartments in former industrial areas. In 1991 the population was just under 24,000, but increased gradually to 28,650 by 2011.

Migration patterns

Traditionally, the City has attracted young adults seeking rental accommodation in close proximity to education, employment and lifestyle opportunities, who then tend to move elsewhere when they reach the family forming life stage. The City primarily attracts new residents from other parts of metropolitan Perth, particularly councils in near proximity such as Mosman Park and Cottesloe, but also from some of the outer northern councils such as Joondalup. A significant number of new residents also come from overseas. The City loses population to parts of the outer south (Kwinana and Rockingham) and even the south west of the State (Mandurah and Busselton).

Historical migration flows, City of Fremantle, 2016-2011
Historical migration flows, City of Fremantle, 2016-2011
'Overseas' refers to arrivals only.

Population and household forecasts, 2016 to 2036, prepared by .id the population experts, December 2017.

Note: The migration flows depicted above are historical and do not represent future or forecast migration flows or subsequent council boundary changes. The arrows represent migration flows to the area as a whole and do not indicate an origin or destination for any specific localities within the area. Overseas flow shows overseas arrivals only, based on answers to the census question “where did the person usually live 5-years ago.

Housing role and function

Despite its small size, the City encompasses a diversity of housing market roles, but overall is dominated by the in-migration of young adults, who then tend to move elsewhere when they reach the family forming stage of the life cycle. This profile is most evident in Fremantle, North Fremantle and South Fremantle. Areas such as Beaconsfield, Hilton - O'Connor and White Gum Valley also attract young adults, but they also show evidence of suburban regeneration. This is shown by the out migration of older people, particularly those of retiree age, and their replacement by younger households such as families. The small area of Samson is almost unique within the City, mainly because there is little population change through migration due to limited development opportunities. However, there is modest out migration of young adults, who are generally leaving their family homes.

Housing supply

As an established part of Perth's metropolitan area, new development opportunities in the City are primarily limited to strategic sites and incremental infill in existing residential areas. While the industrial and maritime function of the City is still important and unlikely to change in the near future, some former industrial areas are ripe for redevelopment as residential areas. This is particularly true in Fremantle, where significant new residential supply has been identified. Former industrial areas in North Fremantle and Beaconsfield will also be important sources of new residential supply. In contrast, Samson is unlikely to see significant residential development due to planning constraints and a general lack of redevelopment opportunities. Overall, the City is assumed to continue to attract young adults seeking residential opportunities with good access to employment, education and lifestyle opportunities. Many of these new households are assumed to be small in size ie couples or lone persons, due to the fact that most new dwellings will be apartments. In summary, almost 6,900 dwellings are assumed in the City over the period 2011-2036, with the population increasing from 28,650 in 2011 to 42,840 in 2036.

Other resources