(a) Single, A4, white, page of 'ad rem' magazine. First page of Ad Rem magazine from 1991. Printed on the top of the page in white within black squares is, "ad rem". Underneath in a black printed sketch of the gatehouse of Fremantle Prison with a 'TO/LET' sign in the front. Underneath, printed in black, is, 'THE FINAL ISSUE/fremantle prison magazine'.

(b) Small, rectangular, paper card for use in Bunbury Regional Prison Library, to record details of borrower, and due date of item for return. Printed at the top in black is, 'AD REM/ June 1991/ Last Issue', with a grid of three columns printed underneath in blue. Four handwritten prisoner names in blue ink have been added to the columns.

(c) Series of white, double sided paper pages, numbered 3 to 46, from the final issue of Ad Rem from June 1991. Attached to the first page is a small, rectangular, paper date due slip titled in black ink, 'BUNBURY REGIONAL PRISON LIBRARY'.

Historical information

Donated by Bunbury Regional Prison Library. Initially produced by the prisoners for the prisoners of Fremantle Prison, and printed in the Print Shop, West Workshops. The Ad Rem newsletter continued into the Casuarina era. The collection of Ad Rem at Fremantle Prison includes the following issues: 1990: Dec; 1991: Jan/Feb/Apr/May/Jun (final FP issue); 1992: two issues from Casuarina Prison. The newsletter was authorised for distribution to WA prisons by the Department of Corrective Services.



Registration number
Item type
210 mm
Height or length
296 mm
1 mm
Contextual Information

Printing was an essential trade performed from the earliest days of the Convict Establishment, and continued without interruption throughout the site’s history. In 1854 convicts were instructed in the use of two printing presses, and printing operations at the Convict Establishment soon became so successful that they functioned as the official Government Printer for Western Australia from 1858 until around 1870. This status was again awarded to Fremantle Prison from 1950, with prisoners printing gazettes, forms, books, letterheads and official documents for the WA government. Around 1960 the printing operation was moved into one of the West Workshops on the Fremantle Prison site.

The West Workshops were built between 1900 and 1901, the outcome of the 1898-99 Royal Commission which recommended that more workshops be established at Fremantle Prison. Many internal documents, forms, and other work were also printed in the Prison's Print Shop, including the successive newsletters published during the twentieth century for prisoners, such as The Newsletter, The Jarrah Post, and Ad Rem. The August 1961 edition of The Jarrah Post records the Print Shop’s output for the 1960-61 financial year as including 196,000 ruled pages, 2,900 mixed cards, 4,000 butter wraps, 400 copies of The Stepping Stone, and 1500 copies of The Jarrah Post. Also produced were address labels, ‘gummed labels’, envelopes, brown paper bags and correspondence pads.

Ad Rem was a newsletter produced by prisoners in the Print Shop. Publications ran from December 1990 until the final edition was published in June 1991. The newsletter continued for a short while after Fremantle closed, with at least two editions produced at Casuarina Prison. Ad Rem was a magazine style publication, in A4 format, featuring a different illustration by a prisoner on the cover of each issue. The name ‘Ad Rem’ meant ‘to the point’ in Latin, chosen because, in the Editor’s own words, it describes “the type of newsletter we want to produce. We don’t plan to become one of those old-fashioned jail magazines full of moans and people feeling sorry for themselves.”  

Ad Rem gave all the inmates at Fremantle Prison a chance to contribute. It was frequently illustrated with cartoons, abstract drawings, sketches and landscape pictures and it included feature stories, sections on Aboriginal art and culture, historical features, short stories and poems. Recurring subjects in Ad Rem included prison nutrition, AIDS in the prison system, the building progress of Casuarina, and the Peer Support Team available in the Prison. These publications were extremely popular with inmates, so much so that the Editor often had to apologise to those prisoners who had trouble getting hold of a copy. Financial constraints meant only 200 copies could be produced of each edition, instead of the 300 required to allow for each inmate.

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Fremantle Prison

Fremantle Prison

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