With its forbidding 5m-high walls, the old convict-era prison dominates Fremantle. Various daytime tours explore the jail's maximum-security past, give insights into criminal minds and allow you into solitary-confinement cells. Book ahead for the Torchlight Tour through the prison, with a few scares and surprises, and the 2½-hour Tunnels Tour (minimum age 12 years), venturing into subterranean tunnels and doing an underground boat ride.
Entry to the gatehouse, including the Prison Gallery, gift shop and Convict Cafe is free. In 2010 the prison's cultural status was recognised as part of the Australian Convict Sites entry on the Unesco World Heritage list.
The first convicts were made to build their own prison, constructing it from beautiful pale limestone dug out of the hill on which it was built. From 1855 to 1991, 350,000 people were incarcerated here, although the highest numbers held at any one time were 1200 men and 58 women. Of those, 43 men and one woman were executed on-site, the last of which was serial killer Eric Edgar Cooke in 1964.