Freo's View


Posted in australia day, citizenship, city of fremantle, community, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 3, 2018


Nominations for Fremantle’s Citizen of the Year awards are now open.

The City of Fremantle is calling for nominations in four categories: Citizen of the Year; Citizen of the Year – Youth, for people under 25; Citizen of the Year – Senior, for people over 65; and the Active Citizenship award for groups or events.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the awards recognise and reward individuals and organisations that have made a notable contribution during the current year, or those who have given outstanding service over a number of years.

“Every day around Freo I see generous and passionate people sacrificing their time and effort to support our community,” Mayor Pettitt said.

“The Citizen of the Year Awards are a great opportunity to acknowledge that effort and promote all the good work that’s been done.

“It’s really easy to put in a nomination, so if you know someone who deserves to be recognised for their contribution to our society, is an inspiring role model or has shown leadership on an important issue jump online and nominate them for an award.”

Nominees should live or work principally within the City of Fremantle.

Outstanding contribution and community service can include areas such as education, health, fund-raising, charitable and voluntary services, business, sport, arts, the environment, social inclusion or any other area that contributes to the advancement and wellbeing of the community.

Last year youth counsellor and educator Simone Ryan was recognised as the Fremantle Citizen of the Year, while the Street Friends Pop-Up Street Shop won the Active Citizenship Award.

Nominations close on 31 October, with the awards to be presented at the City’s Australia Day citizenship ceremony on 26 January.

For more information or to register a nomination visit the Citizen of the Year Awards page on the Australia Day Council WA website.


I am very proud that I was awarded Citizen of the Year on January 26, 2013, so five years ago. It is very special when one’s community recognises the positive contribution one tries to make for the city we all love.

Roel Loopers




Those who missed the Fremantle fireworks on Australia Day will be delighted that the Fishing Boat Harbour traders have organised fireworks on WA DAY, June 3 from 6 pm.

The early 6pm time will be good for families with very young children, so it’s a win win.

The move by Fremantle Council to scrap the fireworks and Australia Day events and replace them with the ONE DAY concert have ben very controversial, but also been followed by other councils in Australia.

Holding fireworks on WA Dy is probably a much better idea and will be a lot less upsetting for our indigenous people, but for me personally I find fireworks a huge waste of money and would rather see a laser and projections show.

Anyway, folks, Fremantle fireworks are back!

Roel Loopers



Posted in australia, australia day, city of fremantle, immigration, Uncategorized by freoview on March 13, 2018


Today March 13 is my personal Australia Day. It is the day I migrated to Australia and arrived in Sydney 36 years ago in 1982.

The promised start at a Sydney newspaper did not eventuate because we happened to arrive when Australia was in a recession, so slogging as kitchenhand, cook and waiter was the start of my Aussie life.

Trying to deal with the culture shock and learning to understand cricket, Aussie Rules and rugby was harder than learning to accept cask wine, blue skies and sunshine.

Looking back it is amazing how much I have achieved in a country where I knew nobody. Coming to Perth in September 1985 and starting my own corporate/industrial photography business without having the support of friends or family, or having the right private school tie, was probably more youthful naivety than sound planning.

But from the very start I felt a real love for this country, even more so in Western Australia and especially Fremantle. When I first drove through the Pilbarra and Kimberley I had a real sense of home coming and that I belonged, and Freo has always been like that for me.

Even in my darkest hours I have never regretted I migrated to Australia and I have always felt a commitment that I need to make a positive contribution to my community and leave Freo an even better place than it is for future generations, when my time is up sooner than later.

I have met so many great people and have made really good friends. I love the Freo passion and that we are all so bloody opinionated, and I love it that most of us don’t take themselves too serious.

Thanks for having me, Freo!

Roel Loopers


Posted in aboriginal, australia day, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on January 29, 2018




I hear that one of the reasons for the scaled-down Noongar Smoking Ceremony yesterday was because of several elders pulling out of the event at the last minute in protest of Neville Collard’s support in the West Australian for not changing the date of Australia Day.

Elder Ben Taylor who was going to be involved in the ceremony called Mayor Brad Pettitt on Saturday to say it was not okay to have someone conducting the ceremony who was agains changing the date, but Taylor was told that the Mayor did not want to make it political. But it is political of course.

Disappointing to see this happening when the Smoking Ceremony as part of ONE DAY is very important and special for Fremantle and should become an annual tradition.

Roel Loopers



Posted in aboriginal, australia day, city of fremantle, history, Uncategorized by freoview on January 28, 2018



KAYA! The ONE DAY Noongar Smoking Ceremony at Bathers Beach in Fremantle/Walyalup this morning at 7 am attracted a lot of Wadjelas, keen to connect with our Aboriginal friends.

The symbolism of these events often overwhelms me and I can’t keep the tears out of my eyes, but at least I can blame the smoke for it and don’t have to admit I am just a softy. ;>)

The event was scaled down from last year’s magnificent event with a lot fewer Aborigines participating, and that was a little disappointing, but I sincerely hope that the smoking ceremony will become an annual tradition in Freo.

From 2-8pm the ONE DAY concert and activities are on at the Esplanade, so make sure to join in and bring all your friends and family.

The Fremantle community can be very proud today about our inclusiveness!

Roel Loopers


This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Posted in aboriginal, australia, australia day, city of fremantle, sport, Uncategorized by freoview on January 26, 2018


Congratulations to our wonderful Fremantle role model Sam Kerr for being awarded YOUNG AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR.

The young super soccer player is so delightfully down to earth that many so-called sports stars should follow her lead and let go off their over-inflated egos. (A certain misbehaving tennis player with a Greek name comes to mind).

Sam Kerr is a real pleasure to watch on the soccer pitches of the world and is a real ambassador for women’s soccer.

Roel Loopers



Posted in aboriginal, australia day, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on January 25, 2018


Tomorrow many Australians will celebrate Australia Day to commemorate the arrival of the First Fleet in Botany Bay on January 26, 1788, while for many Aboriginal people the day is considered Invasion Day, a historic day that caused them pain, hardship and displacement.

In Fremantle we will have no official Australia Day celebrations but will instead celebrate our achievements and cultural inclusiveness on One Day, January 28 instead. There will be a citizenship ceremony at Fremantle Oval at 10am on the 26th though.

One day of the year, whatever date it is and whatever it is called, will not make a real difference to Australia and its First Nations people. What is needed is all year genuine collaboration to improve the quality of life for those Aboriginal people who are marginalised, with many still living in third-world conditions.

There are many well-meaning white people who want to help improve the life of our indigenous people, who on average still die ten years younger than white people. The suicide rate of Aboriginal people is alarming and youth suicide among Aboriginal children is so high that it should make us all cry and feel ashamed we have not combatted this better.

But Aboriginal people are often their own worst enemy according to some of their prominent outspoken leaders, and also need to help improve their own life. Part of the problem is that there is no consensus among Aborigines on how to attack the unique issues they are facing. There is far too much family feuding and power games going on, and as long as our Aboriginal friends don’t speak with one voice governments will largely do their own thing, and that is often not good enough and ignorant of what is really needed.

I don’t believe that most Australian people are racist in general terms, but sadly many are racist when it comes to our indigenous people, for reasons I don’t understand. 50,000 years of Aboriginal history is ignored, or maybe just taken for granted, when we could have learned so much from our indigenous people.

There are still levels of a colonial patronising attitude when we address indigenous issues in Australia, because some white people feel superior to those with a different skin colour, culture or religion.

When someone like former Prime Minister Tony Abbott claims British settlement was good for Aborigines because it brought them civilisation, there is blatant disregard that ‘civilisation’ brought European diseases, the rape of Aboriginal women and girls and abuse of boys, the Stolen Generations, denial of their own culture, languages and beliefs.

The Rottnest Island Quod prison, Sister Kate, New Norcia, etc. were not holiday camps for Aborigines, but places where abuse was prevalent and constant, and we should never ever forget that or sweet talk it.

Australia Day and how and on what date we celebrate our combined history since the British settled in New South Wales, and many years later in 1829 in Fremantle, should be debated with sensitivity and respect and without playing the blame game on any side of the argument.

Fact is that January 26 is not a significant date in Western Australia, but only in NSW.

There are no easy and fast solutions, and the abuse of Aboriginal women and girls, domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse needs to be addressed without fear or favour by the indigenous community and state and federal governments. Only when we work very closely together will we see a change in these disgraceful conditions.

Aboriginal culture is beautiful and its history extremely significant to our country. That is a good starting point for a national discussion about a more appropriate date for Australia Day . We cannot change what happened in the past but we can all make an effort to make the future a whole lot better for our indigenous brothers and sisters.

As with most things in life we do have a choice tomorrow. Those who want to be part of fireworks and a big Australia Day celebration on the 26th can do that in Perth, while others like me will be at the Aboriginal Smoking Ceremony at Bathers Beach at 7 am and the One Day concert that celebrates are Fremantle community on the Esplanade on January 28 from 4pm.

Roel Loopers

My personal Australia Day is March 13, the day I migrated to Australia in 1982.


Posted in aboriginal, australia day, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on January 20, 2018


Channel 9 TV had a bit of a beat-up story yesterday about Fremantle not having Australia Day fireworks this year because the local business group BID did not want to finance them.

Federal Liberal MP Ben Morton claimed that this was due to activists abusing small businesses. It’s the first thing I have heard about this and was not reported in the local media, so where does Morton’s claim come from?

Fact is that the Business Improvement District-BID did a survey among their 400 members and there was no clear support to continue with financing the fireworks.

As I pointed out last year the fireworks in Fremantle were never a great trading day for the broader business community because all shops had closed well before the masses arrived, and so had many cafes.

Australia Day fireworks were an excellent trading day for Fishing Boat Harbour operators, but did not do much for the rest of the CBD traders, as most people arrived late and left the city straight after the fireworks were over.

It’s a done deal for the time being, so let’s move on. Those who want big Australia Day celebrations and fireworks can enjoy them in Perth, and Freo has it’s ONE DAY celebrations on January 28.

A survey this week showed that most Australians don’t care about the date or even know why January 26 is supposedly significant.

Let’s be happy that we live in such a good country and great city!


Roel Loopers

ONE DAY poster


Posted in aboriginal, australia day, bathers beach, city of fremantle, history, Uncategorized by freoview on January 16, 2018


Bathers Beach Smoking Ceremony 2018_web



Advance notice that the Aboriginal SMOKING CEREMONY will be held at Bathers Beach on January 28 at 7 am.

It was first held last year as part of the ONE DAY alternative Australia Day celebrations in recognition of Fremantle’s Whadjuk Noongar history.

The smoking ceremony was very moving and attracted a lot of people, so make sure not to miss it. It is a great way to connect with our Noongar people and work toward reconciliation together.

Roel Loopers



Posted in australia day, city of fremantle, indigenous, Uncategorized by freoview on November 12, 2017


The announcement by the City of Perth that it will extend next year’s Australia Day celebrations to a four-day long weekend shows that the City of Fremantle is on the right track with its changes to the national holiday.

The scrapping of the fireworks in Fremantle last year was controversial, and unfortunately the debate about it became political and sometimes racist for all the wrong reasons.

Yes, there could have been better community consultation, especially with the business community, but from experience we know that community consultations can drag on forever and not necessarily create the best outcomes. Leadership is about making tough decisions, in the knowledge one will never ever please everyone in the community.

Perth now wants fireworks on New Year’s Eve as well, which I consider a huge waste of money. Why have two firework displays just 26 days apart, or will they also walk away from the Australia Day firework display?

But I would love to see the Fremantle ONE DAY event extended and also have a night feature. Projections, laser show, lit-up floats at Bathers Bay, etc.

I would prefer it if BID spend the business money and energy on creating an evening event, instead of supporting only the Fishing Boat Harbour traders and share the cost of the Australia Day fireworks.

Fact is that most shops were already closed well before the spectators for the fireworks turned up, so there was little benefit for other traders, while the One Day event started in the afternoon when shops are still open.

Fremantle is different from Perth and other cities and I support the consideration for our indigenous people who call Australia Day Invasion Day, so let’s move on together, as other councils around the nation are now also doing.

Historically January 26 means nothing to Western Australia as the Britih had not even settled on this side of the country when the First Fleet arrived in Botany Bay, so the date is only significant to New South Wales.

Like Perth, let’s celebrate Australia over the long weekend, until our politicians change the date to a more appropriate one that does not upset our indigenous friends.

Roel Loopers



%d bloggers like this: