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The Law Student Guide to Perth

Perth, Australia at night

If you’re one of the lucky law students heading west next week for ALSA Conference, here’s a law-themed guide to Perth to help you make the most of your time in the wild west…


Francis Burt Law Education Centre and Museum

The Francis Burt Museum is one of a very small number of law museums worldwide. Run by the Law Society of WA, it aims to promote understanding of the law and legal profession and to preserve Western Australia’s legal history. The museum is located in the old courthouse building – Perth’s first court, built in 1936.

It’s located in the Stirling Gardens on the corner of Barrack Street and St Georges Terrace and is open Wednesday – Friday from 10:00am – 2:30pm. Entry is free.

Supreme Court and Stirling Gardens

While visiting the museum, take in the Stirling Gardens and Perth’s Supreme Court, which is right next door. The Court operates in three locations, but the Stirling Gardens site is the oldest and most impressive. Built in 1903 after the number of cases handled grew too large for the old courthouse (which became the Stirling Garden’s gardener’s home), the Supreme Court was renovated in 1960 and again in 1987 to become what it is today.

The Stirling Gardens surrounding both courthouses are the oldest gardens in the city. They were first used as an acclimatisation garden in the 1830s and were opened to the public as a botanical reserve in 1845. The gardens contain a number of sculptures, including a statue of Perth’s first premier, John Forrest.

The Roundhouse and Fremantle Prison

If you have an interest in criminal law, no Perth trip would be complete without a trip to Fremantle’s historic prisons. The Roundhouse is Perth’s oldest building, constructed in 1830. It was used as a prison until 1886, and then as a police lockup until 1936. Overlooking Bathers Beach, the Roundhouse has a secret tunnel to the sand built by the Fremantle Whaling Company in 1837.

The Roundhouse is staffed by volunteers daily from 10:30am – 3:30pm and entry is by gold coin donation. After your visit, cross the road for a coffee at Chalkys.

Still in Fremantle, the Fremantle Prison is a World Heritage Listed gaol built by convicts in the 1850s. In 1886 it replaced the Roundhouse as the gaol for locally-sentenced prisoners and operated until 1991, when it reopened as a historical site. It is now a public museum that offers day and night tours, including trips through its flooded underground tunnels and aqueducts. Fremantle Prison is noted for its famous former residents including Eric Edgar Cooke, the last man to be hanged in WA in 1964.

The prison is open every day from 10:00am – 5:00pm and tour bookings are recommended.

Eating + Drinking


St Georges Terrace in the city is where most of the big law firms are located, so the Terrace is your first stop for legal wining and dining. For drinks head to Bar Lafayette, Helvetica or Bob’s Bar at Print Hall, or head off the terrace to Stables Bar or Wolf Lane. To eat, visit The Trustee, The Heritage Brassiere, Greenhouse or Apple Daily at Print Hall – you’ll be feeling like a lawyer in no time.


Hipster-friendly William Street in neighbouring Northbridge is more law-student-budget friendly than the Terrace. During the day it’s a great place for shopping and coffee and at night it comes alive with tiny hidden bars. For drinks, visit 399 Bar, the Bird, Frisk, Mechanics Institute, Ezra Pound or head further north to The Classroom, which is decorated like a school room.

If you’re hungry, grab a burger from Jus Burgers or Flipside, which is right next to Mechanics. For other dining options try Bivouac, Aisuru Sushi or The Moon, or wander north up William Street to take in the range of Asian restaurants (Viet Hoa and Nahm Thai are popular).


19km away from the city, hippy harbourside town Fremantle is the exact opposite of the business-suited Terrace. Market Street is well-known as the cappuccino strip but Freo’s west end (near the Roundhouse) is home to great coffee as well – try Chalkys, Moore & Moore, The Attic, The Grumpy Sailor or hole-in-the-wall favourite Blink.

At night head to Sandrino’s on Market Street for Freo’s best pizza, or have fish and chips from Cicerello’s which overlooks the harbour. No trip to Fremantle would be complete without a stop at the Little Creatures brewery, which serves breakfast on weekends and is open late every day.

I could go on and on about all that Perth has to offer (and I do, at Great about Perth) but this should get you started. Enjoy your stay!

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