Freo's View



There was an interesting panel discussion NO FIXED ADDRESS, to discuss the importance of social housing and building diversity in our urban centres, in the lovely courtyard of DADAA in Fremantle’s Princes May Park, last night with Dr. Mariana Atkins, Research Associate Professor, The Centre for Social Impact, University of Western Australia and the UWA Living Lab, Dr Holly Farley, Research Fellow, Fremantle School of Architecture, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Dr. Shane Greive, Urban and Regional Planning, School of Design and Built Environment, Curtin University, Michael Piu (CEO, St Patrick’s Community Support Centre), and  Heather Thompson (Senior Assertive Outreach Worker, 20 Lives 20 Homes Program, St Patrick’s Community Support Centre).  It was facilitated by Lisette Kaleveld, Senior Consultant, The Centre for Social Impact, University of Western Australia.

Changing cityscapes are inevitable with urban infill making places such as Fremantle desirable, especially since most of the services are provided in town, and that attracts a diversity of people, including homeless ones, and those who require social and affordable housing, but we are not designing and building for that diversity and the needs of individuals. Not many local governments have the capacity and desire to change with the times, so how do you design a city for all?

People want to be connected, be in contact with nature and there is a real disconnect there, so we need to bring the community on board because it is about the collective, not individuals. To do that we need to start understanding the history of Australia and the values, and where we want to go. We need to understand the diverse perspective, and need to learn to understand the different realities. Design should not be about excluding people!

Homelessness is nothing new and has been around for decades, so the whole community needs to own the issues and solutions, but there is a lack of value judgement. It is a fallacy that homeless people are in control of their own future! We all are only a few steps away from homelessness and if we come together the solutions are in our own hands. Start a conversation and humanise the issue!

A social worker said she had met some of the most amazing, caring and resilient people one would like to meet.

Architects and developers need to start actively listen to everybody’s stories from a design perspective. Bring the focus of development back to the people! We need a change of mindset there, as the next generation of home buyers can’t afford to buy the homes of the present generation. Inter-generational housing is not available, the housing options are not there.

There is huge value in diversity in a community, and we don’t want people with similar social/financial issues all living together, there needs to be a mix and we need to understand what home means for different people. Public housing often results in people failing because of the wrong set up and location and the lack of support. For some community housing or a boarding house is better because they don’t have to look after paying bills and connect with others. Community housing is more flexible.

There is also an interesting small exhibition in the DADAA gallery, so go and have a look at it!


We don’t build communities, we build spaces where people are alone, spaces of loneliness, because at the lower end of the apartment market there are no community spaces where people can connect. There are no swimming pools, gyms, roof gardens, etc. We build highrise along transit corridors, instead of building them around green open spaces where people can meet and play.

There are tens of thousands of single middle aged and older women and men who have no social life because they can no longer afford to go to pubs, concerts, festivals, theatres, etc. where they used to connect with friends and meet new people. They don’t meet anyone and get isolated. High density living does not cater for that by providing community spaces. Many single people live in a small box with no communical spaces where they can meet their neighbours and make new friends that way.

Roel Loopers



The news that the City of Fremantle heritage coordinator architect Alan Kelsall has left the City at the end of this year is a loss to our city.

Alan, who looks 15 years younger than I but is the same age, won’t be retiring any time soon I hope, but wanted to move on.

I have real respect and liking for the gentle but assertive gentleman Kelsall is. We have had some very good talks about heritage, architecture, Freo’s progress and the significant change containerisation brought to Fremantle.

While Alan Kelsall was a staunch protector of Fremantle’s heritage, he was also pragmatic that progress is inevitable, and trying to accommodate the changes and modernisation of our port city.

Kelsall was often unjustly criticised and had to endure nasty personal and insulting attacks, but he remained the professional he always has been and fought for the best outcomes for our city when planning applications were debated.

The City is losing one of its finest, who will be hard to replace.  I like to thank Alan Kelsall for his dedication to Fremantle and his love for our heritage.

Roel Loopers



Posted in art, artists, city of fremantle, design, fashion, markets, Uncategorized by freoview on July 11, 2019


Made On The Left, the oldest Perth handmade artist markets, will be held at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle this weekend July 13 and 14.

More than 80 WA artists and designers will show their works, from art to design, fashion, food, homewares, plants, etc.

There will also be retro and handmade vintage clothing, leather, candles, timber furniture, jewellery, artisan soaps, honey and more, so go and check it out.

Roel Loopers




Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, design, sport, Uncategorized by freoview on January 30, 2019






When you think about explorers, forget Burke and Wills, Dampier, Cook, Hartog, Tasman and Flinders and start thinking Loopy instead.

I double checked so that I would not claim anything that can’t be substantiated, but when I Googled epic journeys, the journey I just completed did not even appear, probably because it was far too daunting a task for even the bravest to contemplate.

So here I am claiming to be the very first person ever to have walked all the way from the Perth train station to the new Perth Stadium and back. I endured hardship in the East Perth wilderness where food and water were hard to find, and I suffered from exposure, heat stress and dehydration, but I survived.

And I endured all that because I love creative modern structures and needed to see the Matagarup Bridge over the Swan river with my own eyes, and it’s a beauty!

Yet, I pondered that one major question on the train back to my beloved Freo. If the State Government can build such and expansive and expensive new footbridge for a stadium that operates mainly on weekends, why can’t it build a much-needed new rail and traffic bridge at Fremantle that will be used 24/7?

Roel Loopers



Posted in christmas, city of fremantle, creative, design, markets, Uncategorized by freoview on November 17, 2018




There is a big Christmas Market on in Fremantle this weekend at Princess May Park in Adelaide Street.

The Made on the Left 2018 Christmas Market will be held at the park at the Old Boys School, opposite St Patrick’s Basilica, this Saturday and Sunday November 17 and 18 between 9am and 5pm..

This free outdoor event will feature over 60 designer and artisan stalls. Bring the kids along to enjoy the free children’s activities.

Celebrate the 10th year of Perth’s longest running designer market.

Roel Loopers




Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, design, education, notre dame university, Uncategorized by freoview on October 13, 2018


Fremantle’s Notre Dame University will have a dedicated Design Studio located on the University’s Campus in which students will participate in project-based learning that have social and environmental impact within the City.

Master of Architecture, will begin in Semester One next year with a two-year program open to graduates holding a bachelor degree in architecture, interior architecture or an equivalent qualification.

The program is designed specifically to allow students to work part time in the field while undertaking supervised placements with Notre Dame’s professional partners.

The Master of Architecture will benefit from the distinctive elements of the Notre Dame experience: small class sizes; research-led teaching, high employability through engagement with industry, professional skills development; and ethical, values-driven curriculum.

Many of the key challenges of contemporary society – such as sustainability, housing affordability, ageing-in-place and community building – will underpin the studios within the program.

A second, three-year program, the Master of Architecture (Extended), will be open to high-achieving graduates who hold a bachelor degree in another discipline area such as arts, planning, fine art, design, environmental science, archaeology or history.

Entry to both programs will be based on a portfolio interview.


Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, design, development by freoview on January 8, 2017





Fremantle’s CBD is under serious threat of becoming the architectural mediocrity hub of Australia with most of the new development being well below acceptable standards for our historic city with its unique character.

On Wednesday we will again see the attempt by uncaring developers to get approval from the CoF Planning Commitee for a five storey bland concrete box at the Mills Records building at 18-22 Adelaide Street. The building is so awful that one has to wonder what standards some architects apply to their design and if they actually care about surrounding buildings, streetscapes and historic significance of place. This ugly and boring building proposal is for Kings Square, the heart of Fremantle, for heaven’s sake!

To the west of the proposed building is one of Kings Square’s most beautiful facades, but Fremantle planning and heritage officers have recommended that this rubbish should be approved.

Five storeys is too high for that location but it appears that when you set back the upper floors a metre or two you can get away with anything, although the excruciating architectural blandness should not be rewarded with discretionary additional height.

Fremantle is in a development boom, that I am very happy about, but we are well on the slippery downward slide of creating a very boring architectural CBD that does not compliment the visual delight of the historic west end. The “heritage of the future” buildings Council promised the community during the Planning Scheme Amendment 49 debate are nowhere to be seen.

Our elected members are so keen on development that they will approve just about everything no matter how ugly, boring, inappropriate and disrespectful to Freo’s history these buildings are, hence we get utter blandness in Pakenham Street, a rubbish building next to the Australia Hotel, a boring building on the former Spotlight site and a pretty mediocre Hilton Doubletree hotel development, to name just a few. (To be fair, Freo council did reject the building next to the Australia Hotel but it was approved by a State Government agency).

I strongly support development and change in the inner city but we need to insist on good quality development and creative design. The lame duck CoF Design Advisory Panel might as well be scrapped because they seem to have very little influence in reaching better design outcomes. Maybe it’s better to give building plans to a local Kindergarten and let the littlies decide what they like. We might get a much better aesthetic outcome than we get with the present useless DAP process.

The proposed Adelaide Street building is what I call Google design. You search for ‘five storey mediocrity’ and for a few dollars you can buy plans for it off the internet from someone somewhere in the world who has never been to Fremantle. The proposed building might look okay in a semi-industrial street in O’Connor but it has no place at historic Kings Square.

While W.A. has lost its Triple A rating Fremantle is well on the way of receiving Triple B status for Bloody Boring Buildings.

Stop the rot, stop the boring mediocre ugliness, and protect Freo’s unique beauty Fremantle Council!

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, design, local government, tourism, western australia by freoview on July 1, 2016

sign 2


I think it is very clear that I am delighted that the City of Fremantle is putting up brand spanking new wayfinding signs throughout the CBD, and they look very good. It is something long overdue and I have been advocating for them for years, but does a project worth around $ 1 million really have to be done by an easter states design company when local businesses are struggling?

The City has a pool of designers who are supposed to get the design jobs that need to be done, but it looks now as if they are only getting the crumbs like festival brochures, etc. and the big prestigious new tourist sign job gets done somewhere over east, no doubt adding additional costs for staff to fly over here. Are they produced over east as well or were local companies used to make the signs?

Even if this specialist design job was considered to be outside the expertise of the City of Fremantle design pool members, there are very many outstanding designers in Perth who could have done the job. Think global, buy local, I think is the slogan, so a local government should look after its local businesses first!

Roel Loopers


Posted in design, fashion, fremantle by freoview on April 10, 2016

The lovely Sheree and Jon Dornan known from Fremantle’s Love in Tokyo now have a new venture just down the road in Myaree and their first event is happening, so go and support them.

Here their Facebook message:

After many weeks of moving, building, painting and preparing our showroom THE ROOM at our new business BLOCK D STUDIOS we are ready for our first event.

THE ROOM will be transformed into an exclusive boutique for 3 days only

Friday April 15 4pm – 7pm
Saturday April 16 10am – 4pm
Sunday April 17 10am – 4pm

Sheree Dornan and some of your favourite brands from Love in Tokyo along with new brands for you to discover will be available to purchase.

There will be lots of parking right outside
4/89 Norma Road Myaree (corner of Norma Road and Blaikie Street) Directly behind Total Eden




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:

Roel Loopers

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