Freo's View



It is unacceptable that the WA State Government neglects Fremantle’s significant heritage, which is a huge tourist attraction for the port city and WA.

World heritage listed Fremantle Prison needs more than $ 13 million to do conservation work as the roofs of several cells have collapsed, but all it will be getting from the State Government is $ 3.5 million and that is not good enough!

The Fremantle Roundhouse, and Arthur’s Head on which it is built, need stabilisation works worth $ 1.8 million but so far the State Government has shrugged their shoulders as if it is of no great concern to them.

The WA Labor government spend millions, if not billions, on getting sport stars and rugby and soccer clubs to Perth to help increase tourist numbers, but two of the state’s major and most significant tourist attractions get F… All from our government.

We have millions to spend on a Quokka Birthday Party on Rottnest Island but let the state’s oldest public building the Roundhouse and it surroundings just fall apart and rot away.

Demolition by neglect is unlawful in Western Australia, so who is going to prosecute the State Government?

Roel Loopers

17 Responses

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  1. freoview said, on October 6, 2019 at 9:49 am

    The Roundhouse also has a positive plan, John Dowson, with the volunteers currently in the process of getting all new historic displays in the old gaol. The first $ 100,000 stage is under way with curators researching the future context of the displays, including Aboriginal history and consultation, and designers working on the displays. Once that is done another $ 100,000 will be needed to create and install the displays. It would make the Roundhouse an even better tourist destination with a professional look.



  2. martin said, on October 6, 2019 at 7:45 am

    Tagliaferri left office in 2009!!!

    In a November 2016 report to council the City of Fremantle auditors, Moore Stevens commented that “the City’s assets were deteriorating at a greater rate than renewal or replacement.”

    In other words the current Council has not been “playing catch up” on infrastructure investment – in fact the exact opposite has been happening since Tagliaferri left.

    The same auditors also “raised a concern in relation to the City’s financial sustainability and suggested that Council and management need to consider ways to improve the City’s operating position either via increasing revenue or by decreasing expenditure (or both)“. The auditor commented that the City’s ability to service debt “is limited and declining”, and that its operating surplus is below both regional and state averages and declining.

    This seems to directly contradict Freo CEO St.John’s statement in the Herald this weekend that “The City is in a sound financial position.” and “No audit report has ever highlighted significant financial challenges.”

    The investment boom is benefiting a small number of property investors at rate payers’ expense.

    Tagliaferri left us with a bustling shopping precinct, healthy cash flows and a substantial asset base of income producing properties. Freo residents now need to shop for their basics outside Freo, and the City is a financial basket case..

    Perhaps some consider the past 10 years to be progress…


  3. Peter Tagliaferri said, on October 6, 2019 at 6:59 am

    For Paul to say nothing happened under my Council is a lie ,but he knows that already. The last significant State and Council works on Arthur head were done in 2001,go read the plaque, whalers tunnel restored, cliff stabilised. There were other major heritage investments in that time at the Art centre, purchase and restoration of Victoria Hall to name a few. But ask Jon Strachan and Brad as they were on that council. Ohhh and we paid off the 30 years of Council debt and left a massive nest egg of finances for future Councils ,and a new town planning scheme, dropped the price of parking, introduced free parking ,extended the CAT bus service that the State Government were going to axe, just to name a few things done on the journey


  4. Suzanne said, on October 5, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    You are right Paul. So is Rachel in saying hereunder that Fremantle is overlooked because it’s a Labor stronghold and we have a Labor Government. What about pressuring our very own Freo Labor Pollys, who appear to ignore the sad situation, to do something about their dangerously dilapidated historic backyard.


  5. john dowson said, on October 5, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    “Demolition by neglect is unlawful in Western Australia, so who is going to prosecute the State Government?” It is Fremantle Council who carry the responsibility for the disgraceful neglect of our heritage. Damaging Arthur Head with immature ‘arts precinct’ plans and then expecting the state government to come along and fix the mess is a bit rich. The reason the Prison got $3 million is they have a positive plan. We don’t need the stunts and the poor quality lobbying that council were responsible for over the Warders’ Cottages. We need a mature plan that will appeal to the State Government, and the Fremantle Society is prepared to assist, and is discussing the issue next week.


  6. Paul said, on October 5, 2019 at 5:56 pm

    Decades of not doing anything under the Tagliaferri Council where absolutely nothing happened in Fremantle has meant that the Current Council has had to play catchup and spend on much needed infrastructure. We are now experiencing a massive investment boom which has never been seen before in fremantle….many of our current Historical places were never maintained over these wasted years so now we are paying for it. As a Labour stronghold you would think the current government would be more sympathetic….


  7. Suzanne said, on October 5, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    Current City Ward Councillor Rachel states here, she is ‘keen to get started ASAP’. The Mayor also wants to be a Round House supporter. Ahe!!! It’s not April Fools Day, and we are not all muggins. Martin is correct. The Round House has been ignored by both. There must be something around the corner for this sudden interest.


  8. martin said, on October 5, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    The money spent on things like the Town Hall restoration primarily came from the sale of income producing investment properties, in direct contradiction of the City City’s Investment Policy guidelines.
    It is easy to spend money – this is very different from responsibly managing the City’s finances.
    Instead of spending money generated by the City from rates and other revenue streams, they are eroding our asset base by selling investment properties and blowing the funds.
    The City is incapable of living within its means, but instead are creating a headache for future generations by blowing the hard work done done by previous generations – which build up the investment portfolio that is now being squandered. This is simply not sustainable!


  9. freoview said, on October 5, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    I don’t agree the new civic centre is not needed, Martin, but I do agree that I sometimes question where the priorities at Fremantle Council are.
    They did spent a lot of money on heritage restoration though, just not at Arthur’s Head.



  10. martin said, on October 5, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Hi Roel,

    There must be an election on…

    8-10 years of neglect under Petite and Pemberton and now they are “leading the way” to save Arthur’s Head and the Roundhouse… Gimmie a break!!!

    They had $750k available to refurbish the Naval Store and then hand it over to Enkel for a peppercorn rent – yes who is Enkel, and who was the key director at Enkel when this plan was hatched…

    $50 million to build Brad’s Palace, a building we didn’t need and cannot afford.

    There is no money available for our historical treasures because their focus is elsewhere.

    There is no money available because they have sold off half of our investment properties and squandered it.

    If there is an urgency it is because Council has had years and years to address this and done absolutely nothing for the Roundhouse / Arthurs Head area except let it deteriorate, and try to turn it into a booze barn for their buddies at Sunset Events


  11. Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog said, on October 5, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    We welcome the state government’s commitment of funding for heritage works at Fremantle Prison and the recognition of the importance of preserving the state’s heritage assets. The prison is a major tourism attraction and this investment will protect it for future generations. We also support the state government’s call for the federal government to contribute to the works.

    You are spot on to say is also the need for urgent conservation works at the Round House and the eroded cliffs at Arthur Head.

    More than a year ago the City of Fremantle erected fencing around the base of the Arthur Head cliffs and temporary scaffolding above the entrance to the Whalers Tunnel to protect the public from falling rocks. While this has ensured public safety, it is not a suitable long-term solution at one of WA’s most significant heritage and tourism sites.

    In April this year the Fremantle Council accepted the recommendations of the geotechnical and heritage experts we commissioned to investigate ways to limit further erosion and ensure public safety. The works required are estimated to cost around $1.8 million.

    As the site is owned by the state government and managed by the City of Fremantle, we have approached the state government to share funding costs associated with these essential works.

    In the same way the state is calling on the federal government to contribute to the restoration of the prison, we believe a cost sharing arrangement between state and local government to restore the Round House is both fair and reasonable.

    We have invited a number of government Ministers to come to Fremantle to see Arthur Head and the Round House for themselves, but so far none have taken up this invitation.

    We have recently met with and written to the Minister for Heritage and are hopeful that we can come to an agreement to protect and enhance this state heritage asset.

    best regards, Brad


  12. freoview said, on October 5, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    Would be good to get a community rally at the Roundhouse and signs all over Arthur’s Head, so maybe FICRA and the Fremantle Society could work on that together for a start, as FS did at the Warders Cottages.



  13. Rachel said, on October 5, 2019 at 11:31 am

    I agree Roel, it is a real shame that Fremantle is so often overlooked (perhaps due to being a safe Labor seat). The council is advocating strongly for greater investment from the state and we are working on a substantial advocacy strategy over the next 12 months – particularly in the lead up to the next state election.
    I hope that the community will get behind the Councils’ efforts to apply pressure. Starting with the call for $1m to commence the Roundhouse restoration works in the immediate future.
    We need to work together to call on the state government to contribute match funding ($1m will come from the Council) for the roundhouse works. Perhaps using similar tactics to what occurred to get the Warders Cottages fixed up – starting with a petition, perhaps a public rally, some media coverage and people putting socks on the scaffolding (like they did at the warders cottages)?
    I’m keen to get started ASAP and welcome community support!
    People who want to get involved can email me at


  14. freoview said, on October 5, 2019 at 10:51 am

    I am sure they are trying very hard to get funding for it.



  15. Sean said, on October 5, 2019 at 10:20 am

    Presumably CoF action/lobbying has been more than just one meeting?


  16. freoview said, on October 5, 2019 at 10:12 am

    As far as I am aware the Minister for Heritage David Templeman came for a meeting about it but indicated the State would not give Fremantle all the money needed for Arthur’s Head.



  17. Sean said, on October 5, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Roel – to what extent has the council been pushing the WA govt on these issues?


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