Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, history, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 6, 2020





In a historic city like Fremantle there are mysteries aplenty. I came across one today. Will Freo historians know the answer to this one?

Where are the missing buildings 9 and 11 Little High Street? When did they disappear? What were they?

Roel Loopers





Fremantle Council has voted to formally request the state government contribute $500,000 towards urgent conservation works at one of Western Australia’s most important heritage sites.

Last night the council voted to commit $500,000 towards works to improve the safety of the severely eroded cliffs at Arthur Head – the site of the historic Round House – and called on the state government to match that commitment.

Over the past decade City of Fremantle ratepayers have spent more than $3.5 million on the management and maintenance of Arthur Head and the Round House, but the scope of the works now required to make the Arthur Head cliffs safe after decades of erosion goes above and beyond what would normally be expected of a local government.

Arthur Head and the Round House are owned by the state and are a place of great heritage significance so Fremantle Council and the Freo community believe that it is reasonable for the state government to share the cost of the urgent conservation works.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said “At a time when both the state and federal governments have declared their intent to support vital community projects with COVID-19 stimulus money, I am hopeful we will get the help we need to preserve this hugely important part of the state’s heritage.”

It has been a long and frustrating period for Fremantle. In March 2018 the City of Fremantle closed the Whalers Tunnel under the Round House and fenced off areas at the base of the cliffs in the historic Arthur Head Reserve after receiving advice that overhanging rock could be unstable and posed a safety risk.

The tunnel was reopened after the City erected temporary scaffolding at the western entrance to protect pedestrians in the event of a rock fall.

The City also commissioned geotechnical and heritage experts to carry out a comprehensive analysis of the condition of the cliffs and man-made walls at Arthur Head and make recommendations on how to limit further erosion and ensure public safety.

Those recommendations, including remedial works worth an estimated $1.8 million, were endorsed by Fremantle Council in April 2019.

The works subject to the $500,000 funding request to the state government include reinforcing the western entry to the Whalers Tunnel and the construction of a new rock fall canopy, and extending the retaining wall on the eastern side of Arthur Head near the railway line.

The Round House was the first permanent building built in the Swan River Colony and is the oldest public building still standing in Western Australia.

It was built as a jail and opened in 1831, with the Whalers Tunnel added in 1838.

Due to the exposed marine environment, vandalism and well-intentioned but damaging repairs carried out during previous decades the building now requires urgent conservation works.

Arthur Head was substantially quarried between the 1830s and 1960s, which reduced the size of the headland by 60 per cent and left the quarried cliff faces exposed to the harsh coastal environment.

In my opinion this is a MUST PROJECT for the State Government, that deserves to be prioritised. We don’t want to wait another six months to hear an announcement during the state election campaign, because that would delay the urgent repairs while the state is promoting Western Australians to explore their own state, and Freo would be on the wish list of many people.

Roel Loopers




Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, history, racism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 14, 2020


H 1

H 2

H 6


History is really important to me. It was my favourite at school and I still love to read all about our past, so the  desire by some people around the world to pull down historic statues of our colonial past is not something I agree with.

The present connects the past to the future, and it is essential that we learn from the mistakes made in the past, to try to create a better world for future generations. That also means we might have to correct some of what is written about our past, because history is always written by the conquerors, and we need to hear all sides of the story and the truth.

We know that our Australian indigenous people consider the British settlement of our country an invasion, hence Australia Day is offensive to them.

We can not change our history, it is what it is with all the achievements of the early explorers and all the wrongs that were committed all over the world, in the name of progress, religion, and of course greed.

I don’t believe that pulling down statues of colonial ‘heroes’ is the way forward, but what should happen is also tell the other side, as is done well here on the Fremantle Esplanade at the Maitland Brown statue. Our Aboriginal people also got to state what they believe is the more correct history, instead of simply accepting the white men’s version of it.

The recording of history has always been selective, but we need those statues to remind us that we need to improve, hence the concentration camps in Europe can be visited. A great and extremely impressive way of dealing with the past is the Memento Park in Budapest that shows what dictatorship is all about, and to remind us all what it is like to be oppressed. We need to move forward together beyond the past.

Slavery and racism were sadly part of the colonial history, not only by the British, but also by the Dutch, the French, the Portuguese, so with the worldwide BlackLivesMatter movement having so much momentum it is now time to address the one-sided history of Australia and start telling it also from the Aboriginal view point, and we also need to have more Aboriginal names in recognition of the great culture of our first nations people. The Walyalup Civic Centre is a small start, but we need to and can do better than that!


Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle prison, history, Uncategorized by freoview on June 8, 2020




Fremantle Prison has opened it razor wire gates again, so go there for a great escape from all the Covid-19 worries.

The history and stories of the prison are huge, there is so much to learn and also enjoy, so take the kids for a visit there soon!

Hear about the convict stories, the Fenians and their escape on the Catalpa, and many many more fascinating insides into Fremantle’s history.

Roel Loopers




whalers tunnel


Walking around historic Arthur’s Head yesterday morning I was again appalled about the lack of care for one of Western Australia’s most significant historic precincts by the City of Fremantle and WA state government.

It is a shame that I don’t have the money to take them to court for Demolition by Neglect, because nothing has been done there now for two years, when all they did was erect ugly fences and built a very ugly temporary rockfall protection on the ocean side of it.

It looks absolutely awful, and now they’ll use Covid-19 as an excuse for not having money for repairs for another few years. It is heart breaking and absolutely unacceptable.

If there is a lawyer out there willing to do a pro bono job and take the state to court for failing to protect and preserve our heritage I would be eternally grateful.

We can’t allow this to continue, so maybe it is time for a protest sit in at the Roundhouse and shame the hell out of our politicians!

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, historic, history, Uncategorized by freoview on June 5, 2020


Duyfken 1


My daily loitering with intent paid off late this morning when I came across the replacing of a mast at the Duyfken replica at the Sardine Wharf in Fremantle’s Fishing Boat Harbour.

Roel Loopers




When the Prime Minister of Australia, in reaction to the George Floyd protests in the USA, says that Australia should not import those problems because we are a fair country, it is clear we still live in denial about racism in Australia. Australia is a fair country for fair-skinned people, but not for our indigenous people, or for our Asian and African people, and anyone with dark skin.

Racism started in this country the day Captain Cook set foot on land in the east and when Captain Fremantle and Captain Stirling arrived here in Fremantle at Bathers Bay.

The ‘wild black savages’ were hunted, killed, raped, abused, used as slaves, taken away from their parents, locked up and treated with absolute disrespect by most of the early settlers, who had no respect for the culture of the traditional owners.

The real history of Australia is rarely told. How many high school students in Western Australia are really aware of the stolen generations, the Pinjarra massacre, the killing and beheading of Yagan, the persecution of Jandamara in the Kimberley, the abuse that happened at the Moore River, Sister Kate, New Norcia, etc? How many have been told the truth about the awful Quod prison on Rottnest Island, where ten per cent of the 4,700 male prisoners died?

Just nine years away from celebrating 200 years of the start of the Swan River Colony Western Australia still does not have and Aboriginal Cultural Centre that tells the history of our state from the indigenous perspective.

We still do not have a significant memorial for those men and boys from all over WA who died on Rottnest Island, and many tourists leave the island without even being aware of it.

At the Roundhouse at least the volunteer guides acknowledged that they need to also tell the Aboriginal story and they have been working on new interpretive displays, but that will need state funding, so will they get the financial support from the McGowan government?

Racism is rampant in Australia and only many of those who are fair skinned believe it does not exist, but every dark coloured person in this country is subjected to it daily, sometimes it comes subtly and often it is blatant. Since 1991 432 Aboriginal people have died in custody in Australia!

We are lucky to have one of the best Treasurers WA has ever had in Ben Wyatt, a brilliant Aboriginal man. There are many of them, but they often do not get a chance to shine because of institutional racism in our governments and industries.

A country where Aboriginal people on average die ten years younger than non Aborigines, where Aboriginal kids often do not finish education, and where only a few study at universities, is not a fair country. We should be better than that! BlackLivesMatter!

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, community, history, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 7, 2020





People with personal memories of Fremantle’s past are being invited to share their stories on a new online interactive map created by the City of Fremantle.

The Fremantle Map of Memories allows people to place a pin in the online map, provide a short description of what happened at that location and upload a photograph or image to illustrate their experience.

City of Fremantle Arts and Culture Manager Kathryn Taylor said the map would create a collection of stories that provide a unique insight into Fremantle’s colourful history.

“The Fremantle Heritage Festival was due to be held in April and May this year but unfortunately had to be cancelled because of COVID-19,” Ms Taylor said.

“Instead the Festivals Team has developed the Fremantle Map of Memories as an online project to engage the community in sharing stories of Fremantle’s past.

“There are countless written records of the significant events in Fremantle’s history, but few give voice to the community who were there.

“The Fremantle Map of Memories is here to capture the lived experience of Fremantle and share the moments, big and small, that hold in them the heart of this city. From wherever you are in the world we invite you to share your special memory, celebrate your connection to our port city and capture the Freo spirit online.”

To make a contribution to the Map of Memories you simply need to complete the short online form to share a special memory you have of Fremantle. It could be the experience of a significant historical event, or just a special moment from your own life.

You can also a share photograph or image, either from the time or one taken after the event.

Once the submission is completed a new pinpoint will appear on the map.

To explore the map and share your own memories of Fremantle click here.



Posted in art, city of fremantle, history, photography, Uncategorized by freoview on May 6, 2020





Although my car is parked in a secure carpark, some idiots still went through it the other night and even left the boot wide open. I then realised I had left my old portfolio with pre-digital photos in there, so went for a bit of nostalgia trip and fondly remember the good old days as a professional photographer.

The series of blue sky photos was for my very first exhibition in the late 1980s at the Delaney Galleries in Beaufort Street in Perth. I also took that show to the Lajos Keresztes Gallery in Nuremberg, Germany. It was disappointing that only two works were sold in Perth, but the German show was a sell out on the night, so that was fantastic.

The other image is of two of a series of posters I shot on East Timor for Shell, as part of their rebuilding project.

I absolutely loved being a professional photographer for almost 50 years and never regretted it. Finding beauty in the ordinary was my motto.

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, historic, history, Uncategorized by freoview on May 6, 2020




The STREETS OF FREMANTLE Facebook page posted this hand-coloured photo of High Street, looking west toward the Roundhouse, so I need to share it with you all, because it is such a gorgeous and vibrant image and I love historic photos of our beautiful city.

We rarely see that many people in High Street anymore unfortunately.

Roel Loopers

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