Freo's View


Posted in boating, fremantle, maritime by freoview on January 18, 2017




Fremantle architect and Sea Rescue volunteer Mark Zuvela kindly showed me around the new HQ of the Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue organisation in the old Signal Station at Cantonment Hill this morning. The new HQ was officially opened on November 26 last year.

The Signal Station was built in 1956 and designed by Hobbs, Winning and Leighton architects, the same architects who designed the Fremantle Ports building. The communication tower on top of the Signal Station is identical to the one on top of the Port building

Fremantle Sea Rescue has over 100 active volunteers who assist and rescue over 750 boats a year. Two third of them are sea rescues, the other third river assists. It is the busiest sea rescue organisation in Australia. To put that in perspective, the Sydney Harbour Water Police does around 300 rescues a year.

Sea Rescue started in Fremantle in 1969 and nowadays does 30,000 radio transmissions a year. Licensed and certified volunteers are on duty 24 hours a day. Sea Rescue has 4 rescue vessels and 2 jet skis.

The new HQ at the Signal Station is state of the art with latest internet and satellite technology. The height of the communication tower means it now has 50 per cent more coverage and no more black spots along the Swan and Canning rivers.

Fremantle Sea Rescue covers the Indian Ocean from the old South Fremantle Power Station to City Beach and well beyond Rottnest Island, and the Swan and Canning rivers.

Thanks to donations, sponsorships and volunteers the costs of setting up at Cantonment Hill were reduced from $ 200,000 to just $ 60,000, so thank you to everyone for their generosity!

The views from Cantonment Hill over Fremantle and the port are magnificent so wander up there some time to see it for yourself.

Roel Loopers

8 Responses

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  1. bigjulie said, on January 21, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Rob, you are a wise chap.. signal station for signal folk. Correct decision.

  2. Rob Fittock said, on January 21, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    albeit in your minds eye a false and misleading statement to make Paula to suggest that FVSRG people lobbied against the ‘community’

    They could only sit back and wait for Councillors to assess their EOI to make an informed decision with all the facts in front of them and that’s certainly the way I voted

  3. bigjulie said, on January 20, 2017 at 4:15 am

    Anyone wanting to enjoy the building can join the Sea Rescue crew.

  4. Steve Titmarsh said, on January 19, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Oh come on Paula give it a bloody rest! These volunteers do for more for Fremantle and the lives of people at sea than any interpretive centre would.
    The building is no bigger than a post box so I have no idea how much ‘interpretation’ could ever occur within it. Surely once the rest of the masterplan and landscape works have been finished there will be more opportunities to celebrate the history and culture of the site?

  5. Sam said, on January 19, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    What? Instead of a functional use for this building delivering tangible benefits to the community you want to populate it with yet another publicly funded feel good cultural exhibit which will more than likely be appreciated by precisely 3 people per year?

  6. Audrey Bolger said, on January 19, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Absolutely right, Paula. The Sea Rescuers have gained a magnificent location but this is a sad loss for the rest of the community.

  7. bigjulie said, on January 19, 2017 at 4:55 am

    fantastic home for Sea Rescue.. well done to all who contributed!

  8. Paula Amaral said, on January 18, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Wonderful as it is for the Sea Rescuers, it was a great loss for the community who wanted to use it as an Interpretation Centre as per the Master Plan given the unique historical value of the site. For the record, our community group tried to negotiate the use of the ground floor as shared space, but the majority of the City’s Elected members voted against it and I can only imagine that the FVSR lobbied against us to get that result.

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