Freo's View


Posted in aboriginal, art, arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, tourism, western australia by freoview on August 30, 2016

J Shed


The ruling by the WA Planning Commission against a tavern and live outdoor music venue at J Shed should encourage the City of Fremantle and the local community to come together and find better ways of activating Arthur Head, as the changes made by the City have not been successful.

There have been very good ideas talked about for many years, so maybe it is time to listen to the resident artists at J Shed, the volunteer heritage guides at the Roundhouse and local residents.

One impressive way would be to extend the boardwalk from Kidogo Arthouse, the former kerosene store, to J Shed and create a historic walk with significant heritage signs about the whaling station, limestone quarry and Mews fishing industry, and link it with the Maritime Museum and the harbour where thousands of migrants arrived by ship. This would also make the connection from the present port to the historic long jetty ‘port’ just south of Kidogo.

Add to that a sculpture park and  small children’s playground in front of J Shed and make the No 1 studio a cafe and art gallery with function availability for weddings, etc. A small alfresco deck to watch the Indian Ocean will no doubt attract locals and tourists alike.

It should also be contemplated if it is a viable move to relocate the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre, but it would need to have a tourism priority with music and dancing for cruise ship passengers and the sale of Aboriginal art and craft and maybe even bushtucker.

When we talk about activating the area we should keep in mind that already 120,000 people a year come to visit the Roundhouse, so we need to offer them something else so they’ll linger longer. A combination of history and art, plus a small hospitality outlet will no doubt help the activation.

The Roundhouse guides are also in the process of getting all new modern, interactive interpretive displays in the cells and power will be connected to the oldest public building in the state. That will create the opportunity of doing special night events and tours during the warmer months. That would help to activate the ghost town Arthur Head is at night at present and stop homeless people from invading the old Pilots Cottages.

The Pilots Cottages need another form of activation as the present occupants do very little to attract visitors to the area with their abstract paintings, so maybe it is time to let go off the art precinct idea up at Captain’s Lane and make it more of a tourist shopping destination, selling Freo T-shirts, craft, art and souvenirs, but ideally there should be 24/7 activity that discourages anti social behaviour at Arthur Head. The Glen Cowans underwater photo gallery is a highly visible and professional presence next to the Roundhouse and should be emulated to achieve high quality offerings to tourists and local Fremantle people.

I also still believe a Saturday morning art and craft market in front of J Shed would attract a lot of people, so let’s have a public debate about this, listen, learn, collaborate, create, and make Arthur Head THE go to part of Fremantle for visitors and locals. Together we can do it!

Roel Loopers

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  1. Caroline said, on August 31, 2016 at 10:02 am

    It is a great victory for common sense


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