Freo's View



I hear the Fremantle Society has set up a sub-committee that will concentrate on lobbying and trying to get funding for the urgent repairs of Arthur’s Head, so good on them!

What Fremantle Council has been doing about it is pathetic and absolutely inadequate. The area is vested in the City, but they wash their hands off one of our state’s most significant historic and tourists areas and just wait to see if the state government, or anyone else, will cough up the $ 2 million needed. That is not good enough!

I have been told the action by the Fremantle Society will be bipartisan and trying to get as many people on board as possible, so I will be happy to promote anything the group will be doing in that regard.

I have a suspicion that the WA Labor government is not going to do anything about it until the next state election, but that is too far away.

Arthur’s Head has been looking awful for two years now with all the ugly fencing around it. The look at the Whalers Tunnel and the cliff face from Bathers Beach is a total eyesore, but it has been put in the too hard basket by Fremantle’s elected members. I find that extremely disappointing.

So go for it, Freo Society! Lobby politicians from all parties at state and federal level, look for grants, try to get financial support from the resources industries, etc. because Fremantle deserves better than having to accept a major problem that is not being addressed with the urgency it demands.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on January 31, 2020




Nice to see Silverleaf Investments putting a new balustrade on the building south of the Manning building in Freo’s William Street.

The work the company has been doing on the facade of the Manning building all along the High Street Mall and Market street is remarkable and a real feature for Fremantle. I love all the new entries into the retail outlets as they remind me of the good old high streets.

Roel Loopers





Lands Minister Ben Wyatt today called for expressions of interest for the sale and redevelopment of the former Fremantle Technical College site in the heart of the port city.

Located opposite the iconic Fremantle Markets, the historic property offers heritage-listed buildings on more than 2,400 square metres of prime land and represents a significant redevelopment opportunity for the right investor.

The college site has been a part of the fabric of Fremantle since the late 1800s and is within walking distance of key tourist attractions including the Fremantle Prison, Round House, Maritime Museum and Fishing Boat Harbour.

The State Government is seeking a proponent who has the vision to reactivate and restore this underutilised heritage asset, building on the regeneration of Fremantle’s city centre and successfully demonstrating heritage conservation and adaptive reuse.

Conservation and maintenance works were recently completed to prepare the character buildings for sale. Any future redevelopment plans will need to ensure the heritage value is retained and celebrated.

This would be a great location for a boutique hotel on the Cappuccino Strip


Roel Loopers



Posted in accommodation, architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, hotel, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on January 24, 2020




Although there are a lot of pipes sticking out of the ground the Fremantle Warders Cottages heritage boutique hotel and tavern is not a pipe dream, as this photo I took of the development yesterday afternoon shows.

The hotel will only have a few tiny rooms in the cottages, but a substantial tavern between the old cottages and Fremantle Markets.

Roel Loopers





The fenced off carpark below the Roundhouse now looks like this. Disgraceful!


I reported previously about the state of neglect at the fenced off carpark below the Fremantle historic Roundhouse tourist attraction (2nd photo), with weeds of a metre-high popping up, but now an idiot has thrown down a rubbish bin that belongs to 10 Captain’s Lane, and it looks even worse for all those who walk and cycle by.

Roel Loopers



Now that we are nearing the end of the year, and the end of the decade, it is good to reflect on Fremantle’s progress and opportunities.

While other councils refused to accept the State Government’s direction of higher density infill Fremantle Council was more realistic about the fact that urban infill is necessary because the urban sprawl won’t be sustainable.

Fremantle introduced new planning schemes that encouraged developers to invest in Freo, especially the CBD, and it worked with Sirona Capital on the much-needed modernisation of Kings Square that will see many more people working in the city centre from early next year.

It took a while until developers saw the unique opportunities to build in Fremantle, but they came and we saw the Heirloom and LIV residential apartments being built, plans approved for the Little Lane residential development on the former Spotlight site, redevelopment of the Manning building and the Atwell Arcade office building, plans approved for the development and hotel on the former Police&Justice complex in Henderson Street, the start of the Warders Cottages hotel and tavern development, and new hotel plans will soon be approved for the Woolstores shopping centre site.

Plans have also been approved for a wood frame commercial development in High Street, just east of Kings Square, and we are still waiting for the Match group to start on the development of the former Energy Museum, and for the SKS Group to finally commence the Hilton Doubletree hotel building in Point Street.

The residential development of the former Workers Club in Henry Street is nearing completion, there is substantial development in the Knutsford Street area, and there is development in South Fremantle.

Top that with the Freo Social and Old Synagogue attractions and big plans for the Fishing Boat Harbour and no one can argue that Fremantle has not positioned itself very well for an exciting future that embraces old and new, and low and medium high buildings.

Already the second part of this year Fremantle has seen an increase in visitors and there is little doubt that the new FOMO retail and hospitality precinct, with supermarket, at Kings Square will become an attraction, and the four new hotels will create the 24/7 activation of the CBD that is badly needed.

When one compares Fremantle with Subiaco, where council has been reluctant to embrace urban infill, and have now been told by Planning Minister Rita Safiotti that they will have to approve buildings of up to 20 storeys near the train station, one has to be grateful that Fremantle Council took our city’s destiny in their own hands and kept building heights to a more Freo-friendly level. Future Fremantle Councils will need to start planning for a port city without a container port, as there is little doubt that the Westport Taskforce will recommend to the State Government a relocation of the port to Kwinana.

There is sometimes fair criticism about the architectural quality of buildings, but that is an issue that needs to be addressed at State level, and I am not alone to wish for a bit more colour in our city, instead of the drab colours we have been getting.

I honestly believe that Freo’s future is great and that we all have a lot to look forward to. Anti development sentiments constantly expressed by a few people who are disgruntled with Fremantle Council are not very helpful. Fremantle needs to grow to prosper!

Happy New Year!


Roel Loopers

PS and former North Fremantle Councillor Rob Fittock chastised me rightly for not mentioning the Leighton Beach and other development in North Freo. Mea Culpa!



Fremantle Society president John Dowson is losing all his credibility when he sends these kind of nonsense messages and photos to FS members:

JD perspective

Australia Day Gone – Now Fremantle

Australia Day was cancelled without consultation.

Now, without consultation, the name Fremantle has been supplanted by Wanju Nidja Walyalup Whadjuk Boodja.

The sign above blocking the view of one of Australia’s most important heritage streets, High Street Fremantle, mentions Fremantle as an afterthought.

Mayor Brad Pettitt has been paid over $1 million already to be mayor of Fremantle, not another name that has not been discussed with the community.


Let us look at a more objective perspective, because the reality is that any face-level sign will block the view when one is very close to it, so below the photo I took of the same sign this Christmas morning.

A more objective perspective than John Dowson’s photo.


It is also remarkable that John Dowson must have discovered the Fremantle way-finding signs just now at the end of December 2019 when they were installed in June 2016, so three and a half years ago.

Dowson appears to have an issue with the Noongar message on the signs, and that is astounding for someone who has made his reputation on the protection of heritage. Would Dowson want the City of Fremantle to simply ignore the 40,000+ years of Whadjuk Noongar heritage and pretend it all just started in 1829 when European settlement started?

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 architecture, city planning, development, heritage, town of east fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on December 20, 2019




The future of any development at the Royal George hotel in East Fremantle is very much in doubt now that a new planning scheme amendment will not allow anything higher to be built than the height of the spire of the heritage building.

The question now is if owners Saracen Properties will consider it viable to develop the site behind the building into low-rise residential apartments, while investing millions of dollars renovating the old hotel.

Roel Loopers


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