E Shed has been an important part of Fremantle’s harbour for more than 110 years. Built just five years after the harbour opened, to handle cargo flowing through the new port, its usefulness as a cargo handling facility was enhanced when electric lighting was installed in 1905.At that time it was grouped with its neighbouring sheds to allow for cargo sorting from the harbour-side to be concentrated in one area for greater efficiency, eliminating the previous, more expensive method of landing the cargo then trucking it to the port’s railway sheds or yards.
Railway lines were laid to the sheds so that goods could be loaded directly into railcars and delivered inland, or off-loaded directly from trains to ships. Railway lines were also built on the land side of the sheds to transport goods that were sorted in sheds before consignment.Simple in form and construction, E Shed is a large, timber-framed former cargo shed with three big chambers, using timber roof trusses supported by timber columns. The original timber joinery is largely intact; the walls are classic Australian, clad in iconic corrugated iron. A veranda runs the entire length of the building, with a large canopy supported by big, decorative iron brackets.
Between 1927 and 1929, E Shed was extensively renovated to cater for the big number of larger ships coming into the port. In 1966, it was dismantled and relocated from its wharf-side location to its current positionToday it hosts a variety of retail outlets, market stalls, a food court, cafes, a diving school and the Rottnest Island Authority.