The Prison is rich with artistic works. The earliest date back to the 1860s. The artworks in Fremantle Prison are of exceptional value as they are a unique record of the prison experience, providing the visitor with a rare insight into the emotional world of the incarcerated.

After 136 years of operations Fremantle Prison closed on 30 November 1991. The majority of its inmates were transferred to the newly constructed prison complex at Casuarina.

When the prisoners and prison guards left they took their personal belongings and memories with them. Overnight the Prison became an empty shell, dispossessed of the human element that gave it life. One thing the prisoners could not take with them was the artworks, murals, graffiti and poetry they had marked on the walls of their cells and in the exercise yards.

Despite the conservation efforts of Fremantle Prison staff, these artworks are eroding with time and will not last. Once they are gone so too will be one of the last tangible traces of prisoners’ lives behind bars at Fremantle Prison. The book aims to capture these traces before they disappear.

Axiom worked closely with Fremantle Prison’s Heritage Conservation Manager Luke Donegan to curate the image selections and develop a design layout that would not overshadow but compliment the artwork and its context.