The Mayor of Fremantle continues his Brad Knows Best crusade against anyone with more knowledge and a different opinion than his. His latest blog post on the J Shed proposal questions the claims by historians and Nyoongar elders that the area is of historic significance. It isn’t according to Dr Pettitt, who writes that “….lack of understanding about the multi-layered history of this area has lead to a number of incorrect assumptions being made …”
Brad, the world renowned history expert, also writes that it is misleading to suggest that the area around J Shed shared the same heritage values as the Round House and Captain’s Lane area, and that the proposal to build a pub won’t affect a future interpretation of the archeological sites, e.g. Whaling Station, Mews fisheries building.
One needs to see the Mayor’s claims in the context of also telling us recently that the proposed pub won’t actually be a pub but an arts venue, like Fringe World in Perth was. That statement of course showed our great leader’s modesty, as he should really have claimed that the Micro Brewery proposal by Sunset Events is like PIAF, the Perth International Arts Festival, or Cirque de Soleil, or something else grandiose that does not resemble a pub.
Fact is that the entire Arthur Head/Bathers Bay area is of enormous historic significance to Western Australia and Fremantle. Fact is also that Sunset wants to extend the building and an alfresco deck to the south that would be too close to the archeological sites to make any future interpretation there realistic, as it would be straight in front of the deck. Fact is also that the community does not want the live music venue, and fact is that we do not want to lose more green open space and an A Class reserve, and another major fact is that SE proposed a pub/micro brewery/live concert venue for J Shed.
What Brad Pettitt’s blog post shows, is his unwillingness to listen to the traditional owners, historians, experts and the community. Brad Knows Best, like a stubborn tantrum-throwing two year-old, who will not take no for an answer. Freo’s Mayor is always right. Got that Freo? Now sit down and shut up and stop complaining.
I am delighted that the FREOPEDIA QR Code project by the Fremantle Society has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Western Australian State Heritage Awards.
Heritage Minister Albert Jacob announced the 26 regional and 30 metropolitan finalists. The winners will be known on April 3.
Freopedia is in the Outstanding Interpretation Project That Enhances A Place category together with the Fremantle Arts Centre smartphone App on the history of the Navy Building.
Fremantle Society member Gideon Digby, who is one of the main players in the Freopedia Wikimedia project, is also a finalist in the Professor David Dolan Award.
Instead of looking after its own heritage buildings Minister John Day now wants to get his hands on the badly neglected hotel in Guildford, but will the State bother to repair and renovate the building, or allow the demolition by neglect to continue as they have been doing in Fremantle.
The National Trust does not have enough money to look after all the properties in its care, so unless the WA government is willing to spend a lot of money, the future of heritage buildings in this state is in dire straight. It’s time to stop building new monuments for our politicians when their priority should be to look after the historic ones first.
I always like to have a quick preview of the Cottesloe SCULPTURES BY THE SEA artworks and catch up with the artists I know while they are setting up. There were a lot of works missing still and many in process of being assembled, but it looks to me as if it is going to be a really great art show on the beach. It opens officially on Friday so make the trip to Cot from Freo and have a look!
I noticed the works of two Fremantle artists, and Richie Kuhaupt‘s large bold head with a tree growing out of it, made from wooden packing pallets, stands tall. Below in the sand the boots prints work by Colin Story reminds us that we leave our marks and a legacy wherever we go, and is about the James Price Point development near Broome.
“WHEN YOU TURN SOME PLACE INTO ANY PLACE, THE PATH WILL LEAD TO NO PLACE”
This quote comes from a Tweet by an American placemaking company and I thought it is a good warning for those who keep telling us Fremantle should become more like Melbourme, or Berlin, or New York, or whatever.
What makes a city stand out is when it has its own true identity, and there is no doubt Freo has that.
Change is good and necessary for Fremantle, but it can’t happen at the price of losing our unique identity, and we as a community need to be very aware of that and protect what we’ve got.
We should also listen to Danish architect and urban planning guru Jan Gehl, who said that good city planning should involve people from 8 to 80 year old, to make sure we get the balance right. It is important to reject ageism as an argument on how we want Fremantle to develop, grow and prosper. It should never be about young versus old, and even less about council versus community. Progress needs the energy of all, not just some, as the future is team work.
Check it out, Fremantle! ROTTNEST EXPRESS is offering special discounts all through the month of March for day return tickets to our favourite island. It’s only $ 49.00 but conditions apply, so go to their website.
Autumn is a great time for a day on Rottnest Island. It is so nice and relaxing without cars and all the haste and stress of city life.
According to the Fremantle Mayor a large outdoor music venue at J Shed will put Freo on the map. The Deputy Mayor also raves about attracting national and international bands to the venue, but does Fremantle really need to be put on the world map?
Tourism figures show that Fremantle is one of the most visited destinations in Western Australia. 120,000 visited the Round House last year and not one of them asked where the next live music venue was, they asked for Little Creatures and fish&chips, Fremantle Prison, Maritime Museum and markets, markets, markets. Oh and the Bon Scott statue is also high on the agenda of many, as is Rottnest Island and Aboriginal art.
Captain Fremantle put Fremantle on the map in 1829 and the America’s Cup did it in the early eighties, and in more recent years the Concert for the Kimberley put Freo on the map as well.
Fremantle has been on the world map for a long time because of some of our great artists, musicians, writers, sailors, and athletes, and the Dockers put us on the AFL map.
Fremantle is famous for its stunning heritage buildings and the World Heritage listed Fremantle Prison. Freo is famous for our lifestyle and climate, our beaches and the great Indian Ocean.
Fremantle has a true identity and is a great brand that just needs to be promoted more consistently.
What Fremantle needs is more things for tourists to do during the day; more art outlets, a theme park, e.g. Arthur Head as a true heritage destination with a police and migrant museum, the uncovered remains of the Whaling Station and Mews Fisheries building, etc. It needs a public toilet and shade structures at Bathers Beach and more seating, and it needs much better landscaping with playground, etc. at the J Shed end. It also needs better way finding signs to point out these areas and especially the inner city beach.
And we need more great little places like Mojo’s, Bread in Common, Mrs Brown, the Raw Kitchen, cosy Loft like bars.
Fremantle does not need to be put on an imaginary map, it needs care and maintenance and TLC. It needs all of us working together to attract more business, more developers, and more money to our city. It does not need the destruction of one of our most visited tourist-destinations, and one of our most significant historic areas, to “put Freo on the map.”
Fremantle is not Dullsville, it is happy lifestyle, great weather, family music venues like Clancys, a university city. Freo is one of the best destinations in the world to visit and live!
I might be considered an obnoxious weed by those I dare to criticise, but I am trying to be fair, so here a plug for the good editorial by Fremantle Gazette editor Rachel Watts, who rightly is confused why Fremantle Council passed the J Shed pub proposal. Read it in the Gazette out today!
Like Councillor Dave Coggin at last Wednesday’s full Fremantle council meeting, Sunset Events director David Chitty makes similar claims about the historic insignificance of J Shed in today’s Fremantle Gazette. Both gentlemen decided to ignore the opinion of historian Professor Bob Reece and the concerns of Aboriginal Elder Richard Wilkes, instead claiming they have even more knowledge of the area’s history than the WA History Society, the Fremantle Society and other experts.
What people like Chitty and Coggin do not want to accept is the historic significance of place of the entire Bathers Bay/Arthur Head area. It’s not about 50 metres to the left or north being less or more significant, the whole area is of extreme historic importance to Westerns Australia and Australia in the context of white settlement in this country, and it also is of great importance to the local Nyoongar people, who suffered at the Round House and who were shipped from Bathers Bay to the dreadful Quod indigenous prison on Rottnest Island where hundreds of them died.
I dislike using the F word, but let’s call it what it is, Fremantle council has buggered democracy and buggered its own community by self-righteously ignoring the wishes of the majority of the people, ignoring the historic significance of place, and handing over an A Class Reserve intended for public recreation to a private operator whose aim it is to make big profits out of the sale of alcohol and using live concerts as seduction to do so.
The Minister for Lands and the Liquor Licensing Board need to step in and stop the development, because it’s wrong for the location, out of scale for the location, and disrespectful to the location.
As for Fremantle council; three strikes and you’ve lost credibility and the community’s confidence in you. You ignored the majority on Planning Scheme Amendment 49, you ignored our wishes to extend the Esplanade by adding the skate park to it and build it on the parking space to the south of the reserve, and you have ignored us again on J Shed. The loss of confidence in your ability to listen and to represent those who voted for you will be extremely hard to regain, and community cynicism about Council’s intent will grow. That is an enormous shame after the highly successful Fremantle Forever campaign, where it was shown that when Council and the community work shoulder to shoulder good things can be achieved together. Sadly some Elected Members will see the three issues as a personal win and this way: Council 3- Community 0.
The ikonic Fremantle Ports building at Victoria Quay will be 50 years old tomorrow. Designed by local architects Hobbs, Winning and Leighton, it was officially opened on March 5, 1964 and lauded for its modern design and the folded ground floor roof, which was a first in Australia.
The 11 storey building has an artwork in the foyer by famous Western Australian artists Howard Taylor. The mural depicts Roman god Portunus riding a dolphin to guide ships safely into the harbour.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary there will be a historic photo display in the foyer from March 7.