Freshwater Bay Press was established in 1939 by Paul and Alexandra Hasluck at their home in Claremont, Western Australia. A yacht motif has been used by the Press for over sixty years to evoke the bay nearby that gives the Press its name.
Walter Murdoch said of the first book, Into the Desert by Paul Hasluck, that it was 'true poetry' expressing the author's "deep love of nature and profound affection for Australia." In his autobiography, Mucking About, Hasluck reported that after publication of the next work - a collection of essays Venite Apotemus by Tom Turnspit - the coming of the Second World War ended this phase of the Press.
Many years later, following Hasluck's retirement as Governor-General, the Press was revived by his son: lawyer and novelist Nicholas Hasluck. By that time, via mainstream publishers, he and his parents had brought out works in many genres including poetry, short stories, novels, biographies and the social histories of Alexandra Hasluck such as Portrait with Background: A Life of Georgiana Molloy and Unwilling Emigrants: A Study of the Convict Period in Western Australia.
The first publication of Freshwater Bay Press in its new form - Poems by Ian Templeman - was launched by Tom Shapcott at Claremont Museum on the foreshore of Freshwater Bay in 1979. This was followed some years later by On The Edge, written jointly by Nicholas Hasluck and William Grono, and a further book of verse by Paul Hasluck: Dark Cottage.
At the launch of Dark Cottage, Max Harris said this: " A poet is what you are. The ardours and discipline of public life is what you do. Hasluck has never confused private activity with public function. The poet has published with modesty and reticence, and in consequence it is only now with rigorous verse allied to metaphysical speculation that the activities of the private man seem more important than those of the politician and the public dignitary... But those are now distant days. The Haslucks of 1984, going about their affairs in a sort of family culture in the Freshwater Bay area of Perth, are one of a kind, at least to my knowledge. They are a writing family."
Since 2000, Sally Anne Hasluck has set the scene for the next era, assisted by Anthony Hasluck and his design team at Clarity Communications. The first group of new publications included a memoir The Child by Irene Bolton; reflections on law and literature The Legal Labyrinth by Nicholas Hasluck; a novel Arbella's Baby by Margaret Martin and a collection of satirical vignettes Wobbling the White Board by Kim Lee. The most recent books have included a collection of travel stories Somewhere in the Atlas by Nicholas Hasluck and Next Step a novel of youthful misadventures in India and Nepal by Sol Wisher in 2007; A better place to live - Making the Top End a new kind of community by Diane Giese in 2009.