Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Round House

The Round House
Built in 1831, on a high limestone ridge at Arthur's Head, the Round House overlooks both the sea and Fremantle. comanding a view from the Indian Ocean down High street directle to the Town Hall and beyond.  Designed by architect Henry Reveley the building has twelve sides, giving it the round appearance that gave the structure its name.  Within its walls are eight cells, surrounding a central courtyard.  There is also a goalers residence. The Round House has a long and harrowing history and many believe the events that occurred in and around it have led to it being a haunted place.  It certainly has a presence.

I have often walked along the street below the looming Round House, or climbed the staircase to see the view from the hill on which it was built. At  times I have spared a thought for the ill- fated John Gavin

It was in the shadow of the imposing Roundhouse that John Gavin became the first European executed in the Swan River Colony.  He was a fifteen year old boy, sent to the colonies.  John  murdered George Pollard, the fifteen year old son of his employer.  Due to the fact that John was so thin and frail it was decided at his execution which was to be a public affair, his legs would be weighted so he would die quickly. He was so afraid that he walked slowly and had to be assisted on his way to the gallow. John Gavin's body was unceremoniously  buried in the shallow sands near the Round House and  not even given the dignity of a Christian burial.
The Perth Gazette at the time commented

 "that on the western precipice of the Australian continent:There, without rite or ceremony, the remains of this miserable lad were inhumed, but though the place of his sepulchre be unknown to all, yet may. God grant that awful example made on so young a lad, may ever be before the minds of all of us young or old."

 In 1837 a tunnel was designed and constructed by Henry Reveley to assist the Fremantle Whaling company in moving whale carcasses from Bathers Beach.  This was the first underground engineering construction in Western Australia. 

The  Round House is a very interesting place to explore and there are many who have claimed to have seen the ghosts of those that were tormented within and just beyond its walls.