Convict artwork built to endure
A WALK by convicts and guards has been immortalised in a sculpture at Fremantle Prison.
A 14-metre silhouette has been installed along the prison’s entrance ramp, which depicts a group of life-size convicts and pensioner guards arriving in Fremantle.
The ramp was built by convict labour from the building rubble found at Fremantle Prison.
Prison director Paula Nelson said it was a permanent addition to the Fairbairn Ramp.
“The design was intentionally simple, with the harshness of the system of transportation depicted through their posture and chains, and ownership by the British government prominent through the broad arrow symbols,” she said.
“Fairbairn Ramp is itself built from the spoils of Fremantle Prison and maintains its role as a route from the prison to the city.
“This memorial is to those convicts whose labour helped build our wonderful state in the final stage of this commemoration.”
Heritage Minister David Templeman said the sculpture was a visually striking addition to Fremantle’s heritage narrative.
"The placement of the life-sized group of convicts and guards traversing the prison’s entrance ramp highlights the once harsh purpose of this former convict transport route, giving visitors a stronger insight into our convict past,” he said.
Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk said Fremantle Prison was already a heritage icon in WA.
"This new addition will add to the overall experience of visiting the prison and give visitors an appreciation for what life was like when convicts were building the prison and the ramp,” she said.
Fremantle Prison director Paula Nelson with the sculpture.