Freo's View

HERITAGE PRESERVATION IS NOT OPTIONAL BUT OUR DUTY

 

round house- arthur head

 

Fremantle’s Ordinary Council meeting this evening decided to try to get State and Federal funding for the stabilisation of historic Arthur’s Head. Estimated cost for the preservation work are $ 1.8 million, plus $ 500.000-1million for renovations to the Roundhouse.

1. Endorse the Arthur Head design and documentation package as detailed in the Arthur Head Cliff Stabilisation Final Report, provided in Attachment 1 of this report in the Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee Agenda (10 April 2019).
2. Request the City proceed with referring details of the proposed works to the relevant state government agencies under public works procedures and obtaining all necessary statutory approvals.
3. Request the City seek State and Federal funding in order to progress the required remediation projects.
4. Request the City investigate the impact of vibrations from trains to the topography and buildings at Arthur Head.

I believe this is not far-reaching enough as the City of Fremantle should lobby the State and Federal Governments for ongoing annual financial support to preserve one of Western Australia’s most significant historic precincts.

As French President Emannuel Marcon said yesterday after the Notre Dame cathedral fire “We owe is to our history to preserve it.” And as I said to the Elected Members today that is not optional but a duty we have.

I also pointed out that the Roundhouse is the only one of the four Fremantle museums: Shipwreck Museum, Maritime Museum and Fremantle Prison that does not get any funding, not from the City, not from the WA Government and not from the Federal Government. That is not fair and reasonable.

The oldest public building in Western Australia welcomes around 140.000 international and national visitors a year, but is managed by mainly senior volunteers. Just 30 of them keep the Roundhouse open 363 days a year and fire the 1pm cannon.

The Roundhouse needs and deserves much more support from the City of Fremantle and State Government and it needs to happen as a priority!

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE’S ARTY ARTHUR’S HEAD

Posted in art, arthur head, city of fremantle, j shed, photography, Uncategorized by freoview on April 17, 2019

 

J Shed

J Shed 2

 

Two arty photos I took this morning in Fremantle. The top one is new art by J Shed sculptor Greg James in front of the door to stone artist Jina Lee‘s studio there.

The bottom photo is of footprints in the Whalers Tunnel.

Roel Loopers

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TODAY TONIGHT FILMING ARTHUR’S HEAD NEGLECT

 

 

A team from Channel Seven-Today Tonight spent most of the morning in Fremantle to film a story about the neglect of historic Arthur’s Head and WAs oldest public building the Roundhouse.

They interviewed a structural engineer about stabilisation solutions for the rockfall problem and a Roundhouse tourguide about the historic significance of the area.

It will be screened tomorrow, Wednesday at 6.30pm so make sure to watch it, and hopefully WA State politicians will watch it as well and put their hands in their pockets and fund the essential maintenance and repairs as a priority.

Send an email to Heritage Minister David Templeman, Premier Mark McGowan, Tourism Minister Paul Papalia and Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk, and urge them to preserve one of Western Australia’s most significant historic precincts!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE PORTS SPONSORS ROUNDHOUSE CANNON FIRE

 

cannon-fire

 

It is personally rewarding for me to see that my call for support for the Fremantle Roundhouse has not been just weeing in the wind, but that Fremantle Ports responded generously and are now official sponsors of the One O’Clock Cannon Fire at the Roundhouse.

That the Fremantle Ports sponsors WA’s oldest public building is special to me since I did 14 years of photography for the Ports, so I very much feel like being part of the crew there.

When I complained in a letter to the West Australian and on this Freo’s View blog a few months ago about lack of support for the Roundhouse Fremantle Ports contacted me and asked how they could support the Roundhouse heritage guides.

The gun deck overlooks the site of the first Fremantle port, the long jetty, and also the current port, so it is very much part of our maritime history.

The cannon was fired and the time ball lowered for the early mariners to adjust their clocks, so that the calculation of longitude would be precise. The Roundhouse volunteers fire the cannon 363 days of the year, unless inclement weather prevents it.

People can book the firing of the cannon on http://www.fremantleroundhouse.com.au and are given a certificate to show they were the honorary gunner of the day. I suggest we reprint the certificates with the Fremantle Ports logo on it.

As part of the Fremantle Ports sponsorship the Roundhouse volunteer guides will participate in this year’s Maritime Day on Victoria Quay. I’ll see you there!

I hope the State and Federal governments will now also financially assist with the Roundhouse maintenance and management and the much needed stabilisation of Arthur’s Head and the Whalers Tunnel.

Roel Loopers

 

MINISTER DOES NOT WANT FREMANTLE ABORIGINAL CENTRE

 

Roundhouse

 

I rest my case about the WA State Government being Perth-centric. The West Australian today published an “exclusive” by Peter de Kruijff about the money needed to maintain the Fremantle Roundhouse and historic Arthur’s Head and that the City of Fremantle wants to do a feasibility study for the creation of an Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Bathers Beach.

But Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt hits that straight on the head by stating that an Aborigonal Cultural Centre should be as close to the centre of Perth as feasible. Why?

Fremantle was the first point of contact between the Whadjuk Noongar people and the British settlers and surely the second city in Western Australia deserves a new tourist attraction, when Perth got Elizabeth Quay, the new WA Museum, the Burswood Stadium, etc.

The question now is if Fremantle should be spending $ 50,000 on a feasibility study when it appears unlikely they will get financial support from the State Government, and two Aboriginal centres would probably not a good idea either.

I would love to see a significant Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Freo, but the City is financially not doing well at all, so should they spend $ 50,000 of ratepayers money for something that is unlikely to be built in Fremantle?

Roel Loopers

 

HERALD ARTICLE STRESSES LACK OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR HISTORIC ARTHUR’S HEAD

 

 

Herald

 

This Thinking Allowed published in the Fremantle Herald today claims I am “Freo’s most opinionated blogger” so I’ll take that as a compliment I think, well, maybe. 😩

It is important though to stress the fact that the historic Roundhouse and Arthur’s Head do not get any annual funding from the State and Federal governments and that the City of Fremantle does not have the millions needed to properly maintain the heritage precinct.

Also in the Herald the not very good financial state of our city, so make sure to grab your copy of our Chook.

Roel Loopers

 

Henty ad

WHY HOLD ON TO FREO’S FAILED ARTS PRECINCT?

Posted in art, arthur head, artists, bathers beach art precinct, city of fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on April 12, 2019

 

I am absolutely not sure where the City of Fremantle is going with the Bathers Beach Art Precinct. They constantly talk about activating Arthur’s Head and the West End of the City, but now they are renting out studio spaces where the artists only have to be open to the public one day in six months. That is ridiculous!

All it means it that we have more closed doors at Captain’s Lane and I hear that the No 4 Studio at J Shed also is not required to open to the public.

Why does the City hold on to this failed concept when only the Glen Cowans photography gallery and the David Giles abstract art studios open regularly and several days a week, while the rest keep their door closed and create an ambience of ghost town?

Here is the EOI for artist studios at 10 Captain’s Lane and also in the Moores Building art centre in Henry Street:

The City is calling for proposals from artists to secure low-cost studio space within the City of Fremantle Studios Program.

The program encompasses Studios 1–2 in the Moores Building, 46 Henry St and Studios 1–6 at 10 Captains Lane, Bathers Beach Art Precinct, both in the City’s historic West End.

This call out applies to Studios 5 and 6 at 10 Captains Lane, both available for a hire term of 6 months to one artist. Artists have 7 day a week, 24 hr access and studio floor space per room ranges from ~10.35–11m2. The total cost is $60 per week charged monthly and in advance.

Studios are purely workspaces and non-commercial. Artists will need to commit to a minimum of one open studio event in the 6 month period.

Submissions close 5pm, Friday 26 April 2019.

Roel Loopers

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COUNCIL SUPPORT FOR NEW FREMANTLE ABORIGINAL CENTRE

 

 

Plans for an Aboriginal cultural centre at J Shed were talked about in detail at last night’s FPOL Committee of Fremantle Council.

Although I first suggested we could keep J Shed and the cultural centre could be built on Victoria Quay, I quite agree  with Councillor Rachel Pemberton that Manjaree/Arthur’s Head is very significant, as it was the first point of contact between the British settlers/invaders and the Whadjuk Noongar people.

Pemberton said this would be an opportunity to make the precinct a place of healing where we could move forward together and share our cultures.

Councillor Andrew Sullivan said the officers’ report was amazing and much better than what Councillors had received previously. The area was important for all Aboriginal and local people, not just the Noongars and that a cultural centre should have the appropriate State level importance and not be a Freo City facility.

Sullivan also warned about rising sea levels that might impact on a new building at Bathers Beach and was skeptical about relocating J Shed-again.

Councillor Sam Wainwright said this was the right direction in consideration with the relationship Bathers Bay has with Wadjemup/Rottnest Island, while Councillor Doug Thompson called for further investigation and community consultation.

Councillor and FPOL Chair Hannah Fitzhardinge also pointed out the opportunities to collaborate with what is planned for Rottnest Island and that there should be a Walyalup Wadjemup dialogue about that. Great idea!

I wonder though if J Shed is going to be relocated, and that is still many years away, if the present artists there could not also relocate with the shed or be offered alternative studios in A Shed on Victoria Quay or elsewhere in Fremantle, instead of just letting them go, as their contribution to our city has been significant.

Roel Loopers

PS: The yellow circle in the photo is of an art studio for lease at Captain’s Lane.

 

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ARE FREIGHT TRAINS SHAKING HISTORIC ARTHUR’S HEAD INTO OBLIVION?

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, local government, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on April 11, 2019

 

Fremantle’s historic Arthur’s Head was on the agenda of Wednesday’s FPOL Committee of Fremantle Council. The place is fallen apart and lacks proper maintenance and for nearly a year City officers and expert consultants have looked into how the limestone cliff face can be repaired and stabilised.

The officer’s report recommends several options, but it was unbelievable to hear that no investigation has taken place to see what impact the vibrations of the heavier, longer and more frequent container freight trains have on the cliff face, Whalers Tunnel and surroundings.

It seems strange to a layman like me that one offers solutions without understanding the cause of the problem, and I wasn’t the only one who questioned that.

There was however surprisingly little debate about the matter that will come before full council in a few weeks.

Roel Loopers

 

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URGENT CARE NEEDED FOR FREMANTLE ROUNDHOUSE

 

round house- arthur head

 

While the possibility of a brand new Aboriginal cultural centre at Fremantle’s Arthur’s Head would be great the entire area needs a lot of TLC and large financial investment, as the officers’ report in the FPOL Committee agenda for this Wednesday shows.

As a volunteer at the Roundhouse and someone who visits Arthur’s Head daily I have found the neglect of the heritage precinct a disgrace and an insult to our history. If we do not respect the past we ignore our roots and that is not acceptable to me.

A few months ago I questioned in a letter to the West Australian and on Freo’s View why the Roundhouse, Western Australia’s oldest public building, does not receive annual funding from the State and Federal governments, and that extends to entire Arthur’s Head, because a city with a small ratepayers’ base like Fremantle simply does not have the money required to properly maintain the old building and limestone cliff area. That needs to change with urgency and priority!

Here some of what the FPOL agenda states:

The condition of the cliff faces and man-made walls at Arthur Head Reserve were found to range from poor to good. The recommended remediation for different areas varies from minor works such as removal of vegetation and repairs such as repointing of existing masonry walls through to major works including the extension of the Whaler’s Tunnel portal in areas where there is significant potential for collapse and risk of harm to visitors.

The condition of the limestone walls of the Round House has been deteriorating for some time. Major conservation and restoration work is required to maintain this important historical building.

Previous conservation and stabilisation works undertaken between 2001 and 2018 were completed in a piecemeal manner. Some of these works included shaving the cliff faces to address safety issues of rock fall did not consider or address the issue of erosion and only accelerated the retreating of the cliff face towards some significant heritage buildings.

The Round House which is recognised as being Western Australia’s oldest public building and is one of this State’s most significant heritage buildings is one of the biggest attractions in Fremantle with an estimated 100,000 persons per year visiting the building annually.

The last major conservation works of the Round House were undertaken in 2004. Since then small amount of maintenance works have been carried out each year under the City’s building maintenance budget.

Due to the exposed marine environment, vandalism and the well-intentioned but damaging repairs carried out during the twentieth century the building is now in need of some urgent conservation works. In particular, works are urgently required for the remediation and repair of the limestone walls.

Given the heritage significance of Arthur Head and its buildings, a long term solution to stop the erosion of the cliff faces and repair of the Round House walls is required to ensure that the assets in the Arthur Head Reserve survive for future generations to enjoy.

The pre-tender estimate completed in March 2019 which was developed from the completed designs and contract documentation indicates the total project cost for all remediation works to the cliff faces to be in the order of $1.8 million (Exc. GST).

The remediation works can be undertaken in stages which could be sequenced based on risk.

The conservation and remediation works to the Round House are estimated at between $500 000 and $1 000 000.

I am surprised that the officers put an estimation of 100,000 visitors for the Roundhouse as the exact visitors numbers are available. They are recorded each and every day by the team leader of the day, who has a clicker counter to record everyone who enters the Roundhouse and that comes to 140,000 -150,000 annually, which is well above the estimated number.

Roel Loopers

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