Round House

sights / Architecture

Round House information

admission by donation
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Commenced in 1830 and 1831, shortly after the founding of the colony, this odd 12-sided stone prison is the oldest surviving building in WA. It was the site of the colony's first hangings, including that of 15-year-old John Gavin (convicted of murdering his employer's son). Later, it was used for holding Aboriginal people before they were taken to Rottnest Island.

To the Noongar people, it's a sacred site because of the number of their people killed while incarcerated here. Freedom fighter Yagan was held here briefly in 1832.

On the hilltop outside is the Signal Station, where at 1pm daily a time ball and cannon blast were used to alert seamen to the correct time. The ceremony is re-enacted daily; book ahead if you want to fire the cannon.

Beneath is an impressive 1837 Whalers' Tunnel carved through sandstone and used for accessing Bathers Beach, where whales were landed and processed.