Freo's View

FREMANTLE ART PRECINCT NEEDS SOME PICKLE

 

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The report today in the property pages of the West Australian about the new Pickle District art development in the west end of the City of Vincent made me think-again-about how inadequate the City of Fremantle’s concept for the Bathers Beach Art Precinct has been.

While Vincent is encouraging the organic growth of art and culture in the historic warehouses and factories in the Newcastle, Loftus and Charles Street precinct, Fremantle has been disrespectful to the long-established artists at J Shed and have tried to move them on by permitting a tavern and live music venue on the A Class reserve at historic Arthur’s Head. That was only stopped by the WAPC.

The City of Vincent shows that one needs creativity and confidence in artists to just let things happen and grow, with small infrastructure support from the council.

Fremantle Council unfortunately often wants to micro manage development and that has shown to be counter productive at Arthur’s Head because Council lacks good ideas for the area and the unwillingness to invest there.

And while the dedicated artists just want to keep creating Freo City can’t even provide the No 1 studio at J Shed with power, so stone sculptor Jina Lee can’t use power tools and start working on new sculptures. I did not hear that from her by the way as she dedicates all her energy to her art.

It is time for the City to sit down with some really creative people in Fremantle and come up with a good concept for an arts precinct, and ideally that should include lovely Slip Street in Fremantle Port.

Roel Loopers

I AM SHAKING MY ARTHUR’S HEAD

 

When the City of Fremantle many years ago evicted the long-term residents and Port Pilots at Captain’s Lane on Arthur’s Head to create the Bathers Beach Art Precinct I warned they would be creating a ghost town at night that would attracts vagrants, homeless people and anti social behaviour, and I was right.

Fremantle Council is now finally acknowledging that the BBAP does not work in its current conception, so one has to wonder what will be coming next.

The J Shed artists have been stressed for far too long about their future at Arthur’s Head, with having to fight the ridiculous decision by Fremantle Council  to lease the shed for a tavern and outdoor music venue to Sunset Events. That madness was only stopped by the WA Planning Commission after years of protests from residents .

Now the J Shed artists have not got their four-year leases renewed because Council is dreaming about an Aboriginal culture centre there, so what is the future for Greg James, Jenny Dawkins, Janet Nixon, Lesley Barrett, Jina Lee, Peter Zuvela and others?

Fremantle Council has been talking for years about activating Arthur’s Head and the West End of town, but have spent very little money on the area. The tavern nonsense would have given them sewerage and public toilets, paid for by others, and they have neglected one of our state’s and the city’s most significant historic precinct for yonkers.

The City should have built public toilets, a small cafe at J Shed, and extend the boardwalk from the Bathers Beach House to J Shed, but instead they have been living in LaLa land in the hope that commercial investment will do what the city does not want to finance.

Arthur’s Head is falling to bits with rock fall forcing the fencing off of large areas. It looks terrible!

For twenty years Fremantle Council has shown no interest whatsoever in the management and running of the Roundhouse. The oldest public building in Western Australia receives no annual funding from the city, it does not get financial and in kind support for marketing, or uniforms or anything, and it is a struggle for the volunteers to get the smallest repairs done.

The Roundhouse receives around 150.000 visitors a year so it is a significant tourist attraction, but the City says when the volunteers started they wanted to be autonomous, so what?! That does not mean Council should not show a very close interest in how it is working out and if the volunteers might just need a bit of help and TLC now and then. The mainly senior guides definitely deserve it, as they keep the old goal open seven days a week throughout the year. That’s a massive effort!

When the Crookes family, the Fremantle Society and the Port Pilots were still up on Arthur’s Head there was 24/7 activation. The kids brought friends home from Lance Holt school. They played on the grass, had lemonade stands to sell drinks to tourists, the Society held Bocce nights, heritage festival and Australia Day events, etc. And there was a lot of interaction from the verandas with passing visitors, but all that was not good enough for our elected members.

The place has now become an eyesore after many artists failed to succeed in the residential former pilots’ cottages, and even the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre does not have a big impact there.

Fremantle Council wants more activation, but closes the Whalers Tunnel at 7pm, which is well before sun set in summer. It could have made the pilots’ cottages into B&B to guarantee activation of Captain’s and Mrs Trivett Lane, but instead they added them to the artist studios program of the Fremantle Arts Centre, which means that many don’t even have to, or are allowed to, open to the public.

Arthur’s Head is shambles, it brings shame on Fremantle, and it is a sign of very bad governance of the area. And of course the State Government conveniently states that the cliff was vested in the City of Fremantle so it is not their problem to stabilise the cliff face, do urgent repairs and beautifications, and show a serious interest in the historic Roundhouse. All that while Fremantle Prison and the Shipwrecks and Maritime museums are getting all the financial support they need from the state government.

It is not good enough Fremantle Council and Premier Mark McGowan!

Roel Loopers

ABORIGINAL CENTRE UNLIKELY TO BE IN FREMANTLE

Posted in aboriginal, arthur head, city of fremantle, culture, indigenous, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 25, 2019

 

The desire by Fremantle Council to build an Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Arthur’s Head is more a pipe dream than reality because the State Government wants the centre to be part of the East Perth power station development.

Treasurer Ben Wyatt prefers an Aboriginal arts and culture centre to be close to Perth, so one has to wonder why Fremantle Council insists on continuing with an expensive feasibility study when the only way the centre could be built here is with the financial backing of the state and federal governments. There is no way the City of Fremantle can afford to build the centre from ratepayers’ money only, so it’s either private sponsorship or government.

While the City is spending $ 50.000 on the feasibility study Arthur’s Head has been a total mess for nearly two years with large sections of it fenced off due to rock fall danger, so why not prioritise the stabilisation of one of our most popular tourist destinations first.

Roel Loopers

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THIS IS FREMANTLE 300MM

 

 

 

300 c

kidogo

 

When I started my career as a professional photographer just over 50 years ago there were no zoom lenses, so we carried a bagful of lenses with us for all occasions.  When zoom lenses were invented they were a big help, but also saw the creation of many lazy photographers who believed that zooming in was all they needed to do instead of walking to the perfect location to take a photo.

This morning I decided to take a few shots with a 300mm lens and took these photos of Kidogo Arthouse and the Fremantle Port cranes from the back of Kailis in the Fishing Boat Harbour.

I could not decide which photo I like best so publish two of them.

Roel Loopers

ARTHUR’S HEAD UNACCEPTABLE EYE SORE

 

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Twenty two long months ago the City of Fremantle erected fences all around historic Arthur’s Head to protect the public from rock fall, but not much has been done since at one of Fremantle’s most popular tourists precincts.

An engineer’s report was tabled at a Council meeting with an estimated cost for stabilisation works of $ 1,8 million, but that report failed to monitor if the vibrations of the heavy container trains have any impact on the deterioration of the cliff face and the Roundhouse building.

I hear that heritage and local government minister David Templeman met with senior CoF officers and that he indicated the State Government was willing to help, but that the City would not get the $ 1,8 million needed. And another at least half a million dollars is required for the restoration of the Roundhouse walls.

There is no money in the budget for Arthur’s Head for this financial year, but for a small amount to install new lights along the dune path at Bathers Beach, so does that mean tourists and locals will just have to put up with the ugly fences for another year at least? It’s pathetic when one considers that Fremantle Council is constantly bleating about wanting to activate Arthur’s Head, but our Councillors are not walking the walk.

Roel Loopers

VANDALS SET FIRE AT FREO’S J SHED

Posted in art, arthur head, city of fremantle, crime, fire, j shed, Uncategorized, vandalism by freoview on July 18, 2019

 

J Shed fire

 

There was again serious vandalism at Fremantle’s Arthur’s Head last night with idiots setting fire to the northern wall of the J Shed art studios.

No major damage was done but the power had to be cut off for safety reasons. It is just lucky that the fire brigade arrived early as otherwise the entire shed and some very important artworks could have been destroyed.

Although vandalism is frequent in the area there are still no CCTV cameras in the historic precinct.

Roel Loopers

INTERNATIONAL STONE SCULPTURE SYMPOSIUM

Posted in art, arthur head, city of fremantle, city of melville, sculpture, Uncategorized by freoview on July 18, 2019

 

stone sculptures

 

It is a shame Fremantle will miss out on hosting the first Western Australian International Stone Sculpture Symposium that is being organised by J Shed artist Jina Lee, who just returned from a stone sculpture symposium in Italy.

The WAISSS will be held somewhere in the City of Melville, so I’ll keep you posted when I get more information.

These symposiums are very popular and attract many visitors so this is a loss for Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

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RAINBOW AT ARTHUR’S HEAD

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, rain, Uncategorized, weather, winter by freoview on June 27, 2019

 

rainbow

 

It was a wet, wild and very windy day and there is more to come, but the beautiful rainbow I photographed at Fremantle’s Arthur’s Head made up for the cold day that required a few layers of clothing.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE ROUNDHOUSE CLOSURE DISGRACE!

 

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The closure of the Fremantle Roundhouse today is the third day out of four the very popular tourist attraction has been closed to the public. It was closed on Friday and Saturday, supposedly due to bad weather, although the weather was in no way extreme and intolerable, and today the sign states that WA’s oldest public building is closed  due to a shortage of volunteers.

Fact is that the current president and some committee members of the volunteer group have been procrastinating instead of tackling the major issues of funding and volunteers.

I was a volunteer at the Roundhouse for nine years and loved talking with tourists from all over the world, but I resigned two weeks ago after a rude email from the president in reply to my email suggestions for improvements and changes. I was told that my emails to committee were a waste of energy and he reminded me I was not on committee, indicating I should just shut up.

It is now time for the City of Fremantle to immediately take over the management of the Roundhouse as this significant building has to be open to the public.  I am happy to get involved again under new more progressive and committed management.

A school group that arrived at 1.30pm today stood in front of the closed doors and that is very disappointing.

Roel Loopers

ROUNDHOUSE CLOSURE A REAL WORRY FOR FREMANTLE

 

 

It is a real worry that the Fremantle Roundhouse is closed today, and I was told it was closed most of yesterday as well.

A sign on the door says it is closed due to bad weather, but a few showers have never forced the Roundhouse volunteers to close all day in the nine years I worked there.

Fremantle Council now needs to take urgent action because it is not acceptable that the oldest public building in WA and one of Fremantle’s most significant tourist attractions is now randomly closed, presumably because of lack of volunteers.

In the nine years I was on duty only on the worst winter days did we close an hour early at 2.30pm, but all day closure only ever happened on Christmas Day and Good Friday.

I hear that at committee level of the volunteers it has been suggested they might have to wind up and hand the management of the building back to the City, but what then when there is no contingency plan in place?  Even if they staff the Roundhouse with volunteers from the Visitor Centre they would still need some of the current volunteers who have the license to fire the 1pm cannon.

Both Fremantle Council and the Roundhouse committee are to blame for not having been pro-active enough in trying to get new volunteers and annual funding. With enough State, City and Federal funding Roundhouse guides could get paid and the tourist attraction would be on the same level as Fremantle Prison, the Maritime Museum and the Shipwreck Museum, which all receive government funding.

The Roundhouse is very significant to Fremantle’s  and Western Australia’s history and the City can’t just sit back and let it close due to procrastination and lack of vision.

Roel Loopers

 

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