There are good things happening at Fremantle Arthur Head and the Bathers Beach Art Precinct. Kidogo Arthouse now has got nice large limestone pavers around the building and it looks so much better than the dirt. I wished the City of Fremantle had paved the entire dust bowl area there to make it look tidy and cared for.
The limestone cliffs below the Round House are being made safe, because the calcification of the cap/limestone rocks meant they were unstable and endangered people walking below them.
Even better news is that the entire cliff face at the beach side of Arthur Head will be lit up at night and the colours can be changed depending on demand and events. This will be a good continuation of the High Street coloured lights as an evening attraction to pull people to the West End. It will also enhance security to have the area lit up at night.
Bathers Beach is slowly becoming the attraction it should be, and it would be good if the City promoted the beach at the end of the beautiful heritage High Street as something special. Stencils on the footpaths, a good sign at Little High Street at the railway crossing there, and marketing Bathers Beach as a destination for visitors in tourism brochures, website, Facebook, etc. Pretty simple stuff really.
The City of Fremantle is looking for Aboriginal not for profit organisations or arts collectives to share space at the new Aboriginal Cultural Centre on Arthur Head. The maximum period for a license will be two years and collaboration with the centre and the Bathers Beach Art Precinct is required.
Rent will be negotiable, so if you have any queries contact Mike Pforr on 9432 9522, or send your Expression of Interest to the Community Development Directorate. PO Box 807. Fremantle 6959.
The Centre is in a former Pilot’s Cottage and just a few metres away from the historic Round House goal that attracts over 100,000 visitors each year.
The National Trust has taken on the vesting of Stirling House in North Fremantle. Originally the North Fremantle Primary School operated there from 1894 to 1967.
Stirling House was used as a boarding hostel for male students attending Clontarf College for 10 years from 2002- 2012. Prior to that in 1969 it became Kui Men’s Hostel and later the first bail hostel in Australia. In 1995 it became a training centre for prison officers and was used by other Corrective Services personnel.
The Fremantle Leeuwin Foundation is one of those great organisations that sails a bit under the radar sometimes, with many people not knowing the importance of the training ship, that teaches leadership and self esteem, and the fun of hands on deck and physical work. It needs money to continue the fantastic community work they are doing, as it is a real service to society, so support them if you can.
This morning while wandering around Fremantle harbour, I noticed these men repairing one of the huge sails of the SS Leeuwin training ship. I assume most of them are volunteers and they deserve our respect and gratitude for that.
The SS Leeuwin is a replica of a historic Dutch sailing ship. The name means lioness.
Fremantle Ports is conducting restoration work on the wharf at Victoria Quay near the Rottnest ferry terminal. Rotten timber is being replaced with steel pilon.
Looking at the work, I wished Fremantle Ports would do a large-scale heritage interpretation of the old wharf, as the old timber looks quite impressive. The small glass window, that was supposed to allow one to look under the wharf, at the Tasty @ B Cafe, never really worked because it should have lights underneath to avoid the window just becoming a reflection of the sky. Whoever designed that should have known better.
It will be some time yet until we see the run down Fremantle Town Hall getting a new coat of paint. One of our City’s most iconic buildings has been neglected by the COF for years, but it now appears just putting a new, and very expensive, coat of paint on our civic heart is not an option, due to previous paint jobs having used the wrong materials.
The acrylic paint that was used has been damaging the walls by causing damp, so the best option might be to remove all that paint, as was done with the Perth Treasury Building. To be able to assess what needs to be done, a large sample panel will be prepared this year where the paint will be removed, so that Fremantle Heritage Coordinator Alan Kelsall can have a good look at it.
It is great that Alan Kelsall is such a purist and stickler for detail when it comes to heritage preservation, but one has to wonder who at the City of Fremantle signed off on using acrylic paint on the heritage building in the first place.
I came across this colourful Indian wedding party at the Fremantle Whalers Tunnel on Sunday morning and had to take a photo of them of course. Our city is very popular with couples who get married and with wedding photographers, who love the historic West End as a backdrop for memories that will last a life time.
On Saturdays when many wedding groups arrive late in the afternoon, they’ll often have to line up and wait before they can get in front of the preferred buildings for the photo shoot.
It’s gone strangely quiet on the proposed Sunset Events tavern at Fremantle’s J Shed at Bathers Beach. After all the community outrage and Council approving the proposal, nothing much has happened. One has to ask why it is taking so long for the City of Fremantle and Sunset Events to agree on a contract and Memorandum of Understanding. I hear the two parties don’t agree on the details and hence Council has not been asked to approve the contract yet.
This means the Minister for Lands also has not yet received the application for the A Class reserve to be leased to Sunset Events for live concerts. If and when that all happens it will take another 18 months or so for SE to get a liquor license, if the Licensing Board agrees to it. So nothing will happen at J Shed as far as the tavern is concerned till at least the middle of 2016, but more likely 2017, if at all. Does the City have a Plan B if the SE proposal fails to be realised?
The latest City spin that the tavern will be essential to revitalise the arts precinct ignores the fact that there are still no signs around the city promoting the art precinct and I have not seen any major promotion in tourism brochures, magazines, newspapers, etc. on the Bathers Beach Art Precinct either. A cohesive advertising campaign to get the word out about the art precinct at Arthur Head is essential, and so is the promotion of our inner city beach, most visitors to Fremantle know little about. The artists and gallery owners can’t wait till 2017 for revitalisation, they need that to happen now!
The individual operators of galleries, studios and shops will only survive if the number of visitors to the area can be increased significantly, and for that to happen they will need the intensive and focussed support from the City’s marketing department. Events on the grassed area next to the Round House and along Captain’s Lane would be a good start to increase awareness of the area, so let’s make a start with that this spring.
The fourth Fremantle CLUB CRAWL, as part of this year’s Heritage Festival, was a great success on Friday night with more than 100 people participating in the tour of the Navy Club, Buffalo Club and Workers Club. The tour was lead by journalist and author of Fighting for Fremantle Ron Davidson and former Freo councillor and now president of the Workers Club Don Whittington.
No doubt the Buffalo Club is the most photogenic of the three clubs with the upstairs room featuring furniture made out of match sticks. They also have a singing reindeer in the bar. The Workers Club generously supplied the participants with cheese and olive platters and party pies, while Don Whittington talked about the 100 year history of the club supported by a great power point presentation produced by designer Bob Somerville. It was fantastic to see so many younger people interested in this heritage event, so thank you to all the clubs for showing us around!
P.S. I stayed outside to direct latecomers, so no photos of the Navy Club.
Two festival events this Saturday! Tour of the Fort Knox (former Dalgety&Co) warehouse at 10 am, and at 1 pm an Introduction to the Freopedia QR Code guide starting at the Round House.
If you haven’t put it in your diary yet, do it now! This Saturday’s tour of the former Dalgety Woolstores, also known in Fremantle as the Fort Knox building, is a rare chance to see this significant heritage building in it’s authentic state, before it is going to be developed into stunning New York style residential apartments.
The Heirloom by Match development will be one of Freo’s most important residential developments for decades.
The tour at 10 am on Saturday May 17 is part of the Fremantle Heritage Festival and organised by the Fremantle Society. It is free and no bookings are required, so tell your friends and promote it through your networks.