If there is one single thing at the City of Fremantle that annoys and frustrates me most it is the lack of consistency in decision making.
Yesterday I almost blew up when I was told the Roundhouse volunteer guides were informed the City has not allowed for $ 10,000 in this year’s budget to accommodate power supply to the Roundhouse, so that the $ 200,000 interpretive and interactive display project can get started and funding can be applied for from Lotterywest and elsewhere.
Last year the guides spent $ 30,000 on designers for the new displays and all would be ready to go but for the lack of electricity. ($ 20,000 came from Lotterywest, $ 5,000 from COF and $ 5,000 from the Guides).
If you want a solar parklet in Wray Avenue that lights up at night in a street no one frequents after dark because the cafes and shops are closed, the City has $ 20,000 readily available under its One Planet funding, the same if you want to grow mushrooms out of recycled coffee, or anything else that got the word sustainable, solar, wind, or green in its application..
The City is happy to put $ 200,000 a year in the Walyalup Centre at Arthur Head that has failed to attract many people and it is happy to subsidise Sunday painters in two cottages at Captain’s Lane, but one of the most highly visible and visited tourist destinations of Fremantle can’t secure a mere $ 10,000 to make a visit to the Roundhouse modern, interactive, multi-lingual and even more memorable.
We have heard for far too many years that the City of Fremantle wants to activate Arthur Head and the West End of Town, but the successful brand Roundhouse that gets over 120,000 visitors a year- we count every single one who enters!- can’t get a tiny bit of funding to put power inside. No worries though to accommodate an absolutely inappropriate tavern at J Shed, COF will grant your delivery trucks access through the historic Whalers Tunnel, or along the coastal tourist path at Bathers Beach, or even put a lift down Mrs Trivett Lane.
Fremantle City has no qualms constantly giving concessions, rent reductions, etc. to highly profitable events on the Esplanade, but a non for profit volunteer organisation that keeps the oldest public building in WA open every day of the year with mainly elderly volunteers, can get stuffed and wait a while, so that the costs will rise until the project becomes unaffordable.
So what if the heritage budget does not have the $ 10,000? It is not a heritage issue but a tourist one! Tourism is a huge industry in WA and the highest employer in the state, even above the mining industry, so give the Guides funding from the economic and marketing department budget, or whatever. Be flexible because we provide a service to visitors to Fremantle that costs the City next to nothing. The annual salary of one single director at COF would pay for the power and all the new displays, so maybe it’s time to do some pruning. It’s spring soon.
Sometimes I get so furious that I want to run into the Townhall, grab a few people, kick arse and yell GET YOUR BLOODY ACT TOGETHER AND YOUR PRIORITIES RIGHT!!!!
There is a very important forum at Fremantle Notre Dame University this evening at 7pm. The honourable Fred Chaney will discuss the planned recognition of Australia’s indigenous people in our constitution.
It is something I believe is long overdue and it has bipartisan support in Federal Parliament from the major parties.
The referendum on it, and the implementation off it, are still a long way away with Prime Minister Tony Abbott hinting it might happen in four years.
There are critics of the recognition in the Aboriginal and Wadjela communities, with some saying it would only be tokenism and would distract from doing the really hard yards and making the difficult decisions and changes required to finally get indigenous people an equal lifestyle and life expectancy as the non indigenous ones.
Come along this eve at 7 o’clock to Tannock Hall on the corner of Cliff Street and Croke Lane, opposite the Fremantle Herald building. It is a free event!
Thirty years ago in September 1984 my then partner Brigitte Braun and I established Profile Photography in Perth and today in Fremantle is the launch of the new brand ROEL.COM.AU. The company needed a bit of refreshing, a rebirth, a facelift, just something that invigorates me to keep going in an industry that has even become more challenging than it ever was.
My career in Western Australia has been fantastic from the moment we started all those years ago. We soon picked up the State Energy Commission account, many mining, design, PR and advertising companies followed. Architects, magazines, property developers and state departments and agencies followed suit.
Fremantle Port was loyal to me for 15 years, the Midland Redevelopment Authority for 11, JAZ Creative became my family, and Cape Mentelle my drinking companion.
WA State Government gave me assignments for years and so did Government House. I was the official photographer for the visit of Princess Ann and travelled throughout the north of WA with her and shared her table for dinner in Kunnunara.
Some of my clients ended up in jail, because WA inc was not their greatest moment, but my business kept blossoming until the big change to digital photography introduced a lot of mediocrity to the industry.
I love my profession and have not ever regretted I became a photographer. I met so many great people and did so many great jobs and I learned so much about life, people and photography.
Today there is a new start in my professional life that is not only corporate, commercial and private photography but also the Roel’s Fremantle Photo Tours.
My motto FINDING BEAUTY IN THE ORDINARY has become my lifestyle, trying to enjoy the small precious moments in life, even in the difficult times.
I have always given my best, because when one works unsupervised it is too easy to cut corners, and at the end of each assignment only I knew if I had given it all the time it deserved, if I should have tried more angles, different light, got up earlier, or keep shooting later. I learned to be brutally critical about my work, to make sure I would never take an assignment or a client for granted. No doubt I messed up a few times, but looking back I believe I overall succeeded.
Today is a proud day for me, because I start again at an age where most people think about retirement. I love photography far too much to start looking for a rocking chair.
Check out the new website: http://www.roel.com.au
Get ready for summer and live music at the Fremantle Arts Centre! On the menu are THE CAT EMPIRE on September 26, BOY&BEAR on September 28 and the already sold out NIC CAVE concerts on November 27 and 28.
It will be a whole lot of fun on the South Lawn of the heritage centre. DANCE!
Come and support the Fremantle Bathers Beach Art Precinct and the J Shed artists on Friday August 22.
Greg James Studio is getting RAPT with an intimate evening of a diverse fusion of soul, blues, jazz and contemporary music by the Rosie McDonald, Ann Palumbo & Paul Laszlo Trio. Yes it’s a mouthfull and they could do with a more catchy name, but the music and ambience will be great!
Tickets are $ 25 and $ 20 concessions and it’s BYO but glasses and light refreshments supplied.