Freo's View


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on February 7, 2019


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Fremantle’s historic SAMSON HOUSE will open to the public every first Sunday of each month from March this year.

Samson House was designed by Sir Talbot Hobbs and completed in 1888 and was the home of Sir Frederick Samson, who was Fremantle’s longest serving Mayor from 1951-1972.

Sir Frederick campaigned hard to preserve the Lunatic Asylum, which was transformed into a museum and arts centre, and now is the Fremantle Arts Centre.

The National Trust, which owns Samson House, is looking for volunteers for the open day Sundays.

Roel Loopers



Posted in aboriginal, arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on January 29, 2019






The complaints about the lack of funding for the Duyfken Replica Foundation, expressed today in the West Australian by Graeme Cocks, are shared by the Fremantle Roundhouse, Western Australia’s oldest public building.

Prime Minister Scott Morison has committed $ 6,7 million to let the Endeavour replica sail around Australia next year to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Captain’s Cook first journey to this continent, but Western Australia’s most significant historic building does not receive any annual Federal, State or City of Fremantle funding.

The Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides manage the tourism aspects of the Roundhouse and with just 30 volunteers open the historic jail 363 days a year and fire the cannon behind the building every day at 1pm, all just on meager donations from tourists.

Arthur’s Head, on which the Roundhouse stands, was vested in the City of Fremantle by the State Government, but with a small ratepayers’ base the City does not have the funds for the ongoing expensive maintenance of the area. Where is the State funding for that?!

The Roundhouse volunteers are in the process of getting all new modern interpretive historic displays, which will also tell the important Aboriginal story of the area, but the main funding of the estimated $ 200,000 project will have to come from Lotterywest, so we hope for the best as first indications have been promising.

As a Roundhouse volunteer myself I am asking why there is no yearly State and Federal funding and why the City of Fremantle does not spend more on this important tourist destination.

Why for example do Fremantle Ports not sponsor the Roundhouse when we fly their flag every day? Even paying for the explosives(Maroons) for the cannon would help, but that too has to be paid for from the few donations, and so do the summer and winter uniforms for the mainly senior guides, promotional leaflets, etc.

I find it unbelievable that such a significant historic building and tourist attraction does not receive support from our governments on an annual basis.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on January 21, 2019



I had a walk around the old town this morning and decided to take photos of some of the gorgeous facades of heritage buildings.

It is what makes Fremantle such a very special and beautiful place to live in and visit.

Roel Loopers





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I had time left between having an early coffee and reading the West Australian and Fremantle Herald before my meeting with a designer about the planned new historic interpretive displays at the Roundhouse, so I had a walk around the West End where I took the photos above.

A group of people attending an art class on the corner of Cliff and High streets, a colourful alfresco cafe in High, a crane signalling rare new development in the heritage-listed West End and a colourful reflection at J Shed on Bathers Beach at the new temporary studio of stone sculptor Jina Lee. Make sure to visit her and all the other Arthur’s Head artists soon!

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, freight, fremantle port, heritage, historic, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 16, 2018



The lovely little old weighbridge building in the Phillimore/Cliff street roundabout is getting a make over.

Tuck pointing has finished and the City of Fremantle painter will be doing the rest to make it look good again, but I don’t think anyone has showed interest to move in and do something with the building.

The plans for a small bar there have been abandoned and that is probably better, as the roundabout is quite dangerous with motorists traveling against one way directions out of the car park and Fleet Street daily.

Roel Loopers


Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, history, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized, volunteers by freoview on December 14, 2018


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It’s lucky I had a very quiet start of the day volunteering at the Roundhouse yesterday, as I browsed through some of the information displays on the wall and discovered that the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides, who look after WA’s oldest public building, were established 20 years ago in 1998.

I am no doubt a bit biased, as one of the volunteers, but I still believe it is significant that a small group of mainly seniors for twenty years have opened the Roundhouse every day of the year, but for Good Friday and Christmas Day, for visitors from all over the world, and fire the cannon every day as well.

I have been volunteering for eight years now and loving it, but there are quite a few who have been there much longer. One of them is my good old mate Nan Jackson. I often tell visitors that Nan actually built the old jail. She is the one in the photo close up at the stocks

Happy anniversary FVHG and thank you to everyone who participated in the last two decades. It would not have been possible without you!

Roel Loopers



I hear that J Shed artists have been told by the City of Fremantle that license/lease negotiations will be on hold until Fremantle Council has debated the future of the shed, and presumably the entire Bathers Beach Art Precinct, at their monthly meeting in February next year.

While this has created some uncertainty and stress for the artists, whose future at J Shed is not secure again, it is not necessarily a bad thing that Council wants to revisit plans for Arthur’s Head, as the Bathers Beach Art Precinct in its present form is flawed and not working as well as it could.

I would like to see a real Masterplan with long-term goals for the historic precinct and the City spending money on infrastructure such as public toilets at beach level, an outdoor deck at Unit 1, and making the area into an attraction instead of an afterthought.

It is clear from the Sunset Events fiasco that ‘applicant driven’ ideas can grow out of proportion, as was also the case with talking about a large burger restaurant for the small Esplanade hub. Council struggles to contain these ideas so that they are actually what the elected members wanted to achieve and don’t get kidnapped by commercial profit thinking.

Arthur’s Head is an amazing precinct with huge potential to make it into a real tourist attraction for visitors and the Fremantle community, but that requires financial commitment and creativity from Council and not just filling up vacant spaces ad hoc.

It is time to get back to the drawing board, conduct some intense community consultation, make the Roundhouse a much bigger drawcard with proper marketing and evening events, light up the Pilot Cottages at night and create better connectivity between Victoria Quay and the Fishing Boat Harbour.

The historic significance of Arthur’s Head needs to be the main consideration, but that does not mean a good arts and culture component can’t be part of the future there. A stunning sculpture park on the A Class Reserve in front of J Shed could be amazing.

Roel Loopers






It is going to be a pretty big week for Fremantle so come along and enjoy all the fun!

It starts of with the Long Table Dinner all along historic High Street on Thursday evening, with the added bonus of a Christmas Market in Henry Street.

On Friday and Saturday evening the fantastic Frankenstone will light up inside the Roundhouse, and the Bazaar at the Fremantle Arts Centre starts and will run all weekend.

On Saturday from 1.30pm the Fremantle Folk Festival will be held in Princess May Park, Clancy’s and DADAA, so make sure to go there as well.

And on Sunday the Growers Green Farmers CHRISTMAS Market will have their big Christmas market.

Maybe it’s time to book a sicky for next Monday, hey? ; >)

Roel Loopers



Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, fremantle prison, heritage, historic, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on November 21, 2018




Christmas has started early at Fremantle Prison with the old entrance building now all lit up in different colours at night. It looks great!

Thank you to Ivan Dzeba from Benny’s bar&cafe for making me aware of it!

Roel Loopers





FRANKENSTONE will be an exciting global pop fundraiser at the Fremantle Roundhouse on November 30 and December 1, so make sure to book your tickets now!

2018 marks the 200th anniversary of ‘Frankenstein’ and the birth of science fiction. Celebrate this important date with the performers of Genrefonix at one of WAs most significant colonial landmarks.

Frankenstone is a live multimedia performance that will reanimate one of WAs most historic sites and reveal little-known connections between the ‘panopticon’ style former prison and Mary Shelleys gothic masterpiece.

Expect the unexpected, along with fresh Freo-Frankstein film sequences, rocking live music, chilling soundscapes, true facts and reimagined fiction, and much over the top theatrics!

The Roundhouse, WA’s oldest remaining public building, is a 12-sided panopticon prison and WA’s first permanent structure, will once again stand alone. Bare and ominous; a gothic lightning rod atop an outcrop of solid misery, drawing true romantics to unspoken secrets within its walls and inviting the stout of heart to contemplate frightening truths lying in long-lost dungeons below.

In the show Roundhouse architect Henry Reveley (1788-1875) is cast as key protagonist in a gothic tale so wild that only WA’s most infamous building could contain in it. Henry’s lifelong bonds with Mary Shelley, both emotional and intellectual, are exposed through a theatrical retelling of the recorded facts, revealing a contorted sketch of a dark, talented genius – presented, tongue in cheek, as WA’s own Dr Frankenstein……

Henry not only brought the spirit of Shelley’s “novel of ideas” with him from Europe to the Swan River Colony, he co-owned it. He drank from the deep reservoir of radical thinking that Mary’s circle had created through her influential father, mother, husband, friends and acquaintances. He lived, loved and worked in their vortex, his soul trapped, his actions untempered. Like Mary he too was stalked by family secrets, death, sadness and financial worries. Henry escaped however, to establish a remote outpost down under where his program of public works could conceal his true passion for natural philosophy and investigations into animal electricity.

Frankenstone’ presents an engaging patchwork of influential thinkers and historical figures, morbidly stitched together to deliver compelling conclusions for the true heritage of Western Australia. WA’s Netflix generation will be thoroughly comforted in the knowledge that a real gothic touchstone lies hidden in plain sight in Fremantle’s West End.

The show begins in the relative serenity and abundant hospitality of the Old Custom’s House Atrium, at 9 Phillimore Street Fremantle, before the audience is led up to the imposing Roundhouse to witness its many secrets unleashed through music and film. At the show’s dramatic conclusion audiences can once again seek refuge in the Atrium and raise a glass to our fallen romantic heroes and villains.

The event is a fundraiser written and produced by Genrefonix in partnership with the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides Association. All proceeds from ‘Frankenstone’ will go to the Fremantle Roundhouse to assist with developing special event resources to bring the venue to life once more.

Date: Friday 30 November and Saturday 1 December

Shows: 7.15pm and 8.30pm

Location: Meet at Old Customs House Atrium, 8 Phillimore Street Fremantle

Tickets: Eventbrite


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