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Admiral Sir Charles Howe Fremantle RN (1 June 1800 – 25 May 1869) was a captain of the Britishmarker Royal Navy. The city of Fremantlemarker in Western Australiamarker is named after him.

Early life

He was the son of Admiral Thomas Fremantle, and a nephew of William Henry Fremantle. His elder brother was Thomas Fremantle, 1st Baron Cottesloe. His middle name, Howe, is a consequence of his birth date, the anniversary of Lord Howe's victory over the French on the Glorious First of June in 1794.

According to Graeme Henderson, former director of the Western Australian Maritime Museum, Fremantle was charged with raping a 15-year-old girl in April 1826. To avoid a scandal, his family paid off witnesses and leant on the judiciary. A few weeks later he was promoted to captain, given command of the 26-gun frigate HMS Challenger, and sent to claim the west coast of Australia for the United Kingdommarker.


HMS Challenger was despatched by the Admiralty from the Cape of Good Hope on 20 March 1829, anchored in Cockburn Sound on 2 May and landing on Garden Islandmarker. One week later, he hoisted the British flag on the south head of the mouth of the Swan Rivermarker and took formal possession in the name of His Majesty King George IV of 'all that part of New Holland which is not included within the territory of New South Walesmarker'.

The appointed lieutenant governor James Stirling arrived in Cockburn Sound on 2 June aboard the hired transport barque Parmelia with his family and other intending settlers, numbering 69 in all, to establish a colony at the Swan River in Western Australiamarker. On 8 June they were joined by a military detachment of some 56 officers and men who disembarked from the consort ship HMS Sulphur. On 17 June, a proxy proclamation was read by Stirling confirming Fremantle's earlier proclamation. The landing of those immigrants marked the beginning of the history of Western Australia as a British colony, and later as a state of federal Australia.

Fremantle left the Swan River Colony on 25 August 1829, heading towards the British Army base of Trincomaleemarker, Ceylon (now Sri Lankamarker) where he was based the next couple of years.

While he was there he visited many locations including a town called Kowloonmarker which he recommended as a good site for a British settlement. The British government agreed and Hong Kongmarker was settled in 1841.

Fremantle was only in Ceylon for a couple of years. On his way back to Englandmarker in September 1832 he visited the Swan River Colony for a week, but never returned after that.

After a decade or so he next went on a voyage to the Caribbeanmarker and Mediterraneanmarker. Shortly after that, he served as rear-admiral controlling with great distinction the entire naval transport service for the Crimean War from Balaklavamarker (a city in the Ukrainemarker).

In July 1858 he was appointed to the command of the Channel Squadron and eventually became an admiral.

Personal life

He married Isabella Wedderburn on 8 October 1836. They had 3 children:
  • Emily Caroline Alexander (14 April, 1838 - 10 February, 1929). Married Reverend CL Alexander, Rector of Sturton-by-Bridge, Derbyshire.
  • Celia Elizabeth McNeil (8 October, 1840 - 15 February, 1929). Married Canon EA McNeile, Vicar of St Pauls, Princes Park, Liverpool.
  • Louisa Frances Fremantle (23 February, 1843 - 20 March, 1909).

Later life

He died in 1869 and is buried in Brompton Cemeterymarker, London.


  • Appleyard, R. T. and Manford, Toby (1979). The Beginning: European Discovery and Early Settlement of Swan River Western Australia, University of Western Australia Press. ISBN 0-85564-146-0.

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