Joan Campbell murals arrive home to Freo | City of Fremantle

News & Media

14 October 2021
Joan Campbell murals arrive home to Freo

Two large ceramic murals by the late Joan Campbell MBE (1925–1997) have found a new home in the Fremantle Library courtyards at Walyalup Civic Centre.

Titled Inland and Coastal Plain, the raku fired clay tile murals were inspired by a flight over the Bungle Bungle Range in the Kimberley.

The perspective shows the journey from the desert landscape to the green of the coastal plain.

The 1991 works have a special connection to Fremantle, with Joan Campbell a prominent Australian artist who based her studio at the Old Kerosene Store (now Kidogo Arthouse) at Bathers Beach for over 20 years. 

Deputy Mayor Andrew Sullivan said the murals were a great addition to the City of Fremantle Public Art Collection.

“Joan Campbell was one of the most talented and influential artists that Fremantle has ever seen,” he said.

“She was an active member of the local community and was a well-known figure around council, always lobbying for the arts.

“It’s great to have even more of her work on display in Fremantle for people to enjoy.”

Some of Joan Campbell’s other works include the 1833 Shoreline artwork that maps the original shoreline of Fremantle starting at the Fremantle Train Station and finishing outside the Esplanade Hotel.

“People can walk this path following the blue etched brick line, highlighted with bright blue ceramic bollards at each end,” Cr Sullivan said.

Another work is the 1994 Old Jetty Replica artwork on Bathers Beach, which is a replica of a section of the Old Jetty before the Fremantle Harbour was built.

Joan Campbell’s son Greg Campbell said he was proud to see more works on display in Fremantle.

“We’re so grateful for the effort everyone has made to preserve what are magnificent pieces of cultural heritage,” he said.

“When I stood in front of these murals with my son Sebastian we were almost crying because these works were nearly destroyed.

“To see them not only preserved but actually presented more beautifully than ever was a wonderful experience for us.”

The murals valued at $70,000 were housed in the foyer of Lotteries House in Osborne Park and were offered to the City when Lotterywest moved to their new building.

The large-scale murals measure 1640mm by 4910mm and are prominently displayed in the two courtyards of the new Fremantle Library at the Walyalup Civic Centre.

The Walyalup Civic Centre is part of the $270 million renewal of Fremantle’s civic heart which the City of Fremantle is undertaking in partnership with Sirona Capital. 

The project is the biggest ever single investment in Fremantle and will transform the city’s centre with a state-of-the-art new Fremantle Library, Walyalup Civic Centre, the FOMO dining and entertainment precinct and a playground inspired by local landmarks.

Visit walyalupkoort.com.au for more information.

If you have any images of Joan Campbell, her works or her Fremantle studio to share, please email the Fremantle Local History Centre at lhc@fremantle.wa.gov.au 

Image caption: (L-R) City of Fremantle Public Art Coordinator Corine Van Hall, Fremantle Councillor Jenny Archibald, Ian Flanagan from GFL Fine Art, Deputy Mayor Andrew Sullivan, Joan Campbell's grandson Sebastian Campbell, her son Greg Campbell and local art sector advocate Lindsay Lovering.