Previously the big mail steamers had called at Albany, which enjoyed one of the finest natural harbours in the world, but was too remote from the colony's major
population centres to be a true commercial centre.
With Perth the central hub of the colony's railway network it was essential that Fremantle become the major port for exporting and importing produce.
In 1900 travel to the eastern colonies took at least five days by steamer, and travel to Britain took several months.
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