Behind the Name

A warm welcome, 182 years in the making.

The Hougoumont exists today as Fremantle’s boutique small room hotel, purpose-designed to bring guests closer to moments in time – past, present and future. Step aboard as we warmly open our doors to an intimate experience together, fringed with “that little something” that sets the scene for an enriching voyage.

It may seem a far cry from the sordid tales of yesteryear, but we have more in common than you may think.

Today we write a new chapter, 182 years in the making. We invite you to share our experience.

A ship named Hougoumont. A street named Bannister. Two age-old legacies, knotted with tales of gallantry, prosperity—even thievery. Each over a century in the making. In 2013, they collided.

The year is 1852. A ship is constructed in Moulmein, Burma. In an eerie omen of the troops and political prisoners it would later come to convey across the globe, the ship is named Hougoumont after the Château d’Hougoumont where the Battle of Waterloo was fought. A full rigged ship weighing 875 tons, the Hougoumont’s three masts cast a commanding shadow over distant shores, providing safe passage to soldiers, emigrants and convicts across the seas and the centuries. Notable journeys of the Hougoumont: Chartered by the French as a troop carrier during the Crimean War. Conveying emigrants from Plymouth to Port Adelaide. The last convict ship to transport convicts to Fremantle.

Bannister Street in Fremantle, 1840. The new Stanley Beer House soaks in the weary feet and faces of emigrants seeking fresh starts in a foreign land. 1901, architect Talbot Hobbs resurrects the site into the famed Duke of York Hotel. Lording over Bannister Street, its gabled walls pierce the briny Fremantle sky. The Duke keeps close company with two brothels—and a funeral parlour. Come 1923, Italian emigrants commandeer the site, giving rise to Club Giovanni Italia and later, the Fremantle Club. An era of hard working and harder drinking ensues, with patrons sculling 40 x 18 gallon kegs per week (18,000 middies) at its peak. 84 years on, this illustrious site lain in wait for a new era to begin.