The Round House was the first permanent building built in the Swan River Colony. Built in late 1830 and opened in 1831, it is the oldest building still standing in Western Australia.
It is located at Arthur Head in Fremantle, and recent heritage assessments and appraisals of the precinct of the Round House incorporate Arthur Head.
The Round House was used for colonial and indigenous prisoners until 1886, when control of the Convict Establishment prison (now Fremantle Prison) was transferred to the colony.
After that the Round House was used as a police lockup until 1900, when it became the living quarters for the chief constable and his family.
As early as 1903 its removal had been suggested; again in 1929 unsuccessful suggestions were made to remove the Round House.
In 1936 it was vested in the Fremantle Harbour Trust for preservation. A number of suggestions were put forth, including turning it into a museum,
but these plans were interrupted by World War II.
In 1966 the Port Authority opened the building to the public for two hours per day. Later, this attraction was run by the Western Australian Historical Society.
The building was transferred to the City of Fremantle in 1982 and has been open daily since then
The first person of European descent to be executed in Western Australia was 15-year-old John Gavin.
Gavin confessed to the murder of George Pollard and was held in the Round House until he was hanged on 6 April 1844.
His body was buried south of the Round House.