city and principal port of Western Australia, on the Indian Ocean at the mouth of the Swan River (which forms an inner harbour). Now part of the Perth metropolitan area, Fremantle is one of Australia's largest ports and an initial landfall for ships from Europe. It was laid out in 1829 and named after Captain Sir Charles Fremantle, a British naval officer who took possession of the area around the river mouth in order to prevent French or U.S. incursions there. Not subject to fog, storms, or strong tides, the port became a major whaling centre. It grew during the late 19th century by serving the Coolgardie-Kalgoorlie goldfield (320 miles [515 km] inland), and, in 1901, with harbour improvements, it surpassed the port of Albany, 230 miles (370 km) southeast, in importance. During World War II it served as the principal Allied submarine base in the Southern Hemisphere
Learn more about Fremantle with a free trial on Britannica.com.