Freo's View



“It is well beyond our capacity of funding” said Councillor Andrew Sullivan about the Council agenda item to do a $ 50.000 feasibility study for a Fremantle Aboriginal Cultural Centre at the preferred J Shed location at Bathers Beach.

And that is unfortunately the huge problem, because indications from the WA State Government are that they want to built the Aboriginal centre in Perth, ideally in Burswood, the electorate of Ben Wyatt, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and the Treasurer.

While I would absolutely love to have an Aboriginal Centre in Fremantle, and have been calling for it for many years, I believe it is unrealistic for the City of Fremantle to do a feasibility study before getting funding commitment from the State. Should we spend $ 50,000 of ratepayers money on what might only be a pipe dream that will never be realised because the State Government is so bloody Perth-centric?

If I were wealthy I would be very happy to donate my own money for an Aboriginal Centre in Freo because the story of our indigenous people needs to be told, and international tourists need to and want to have an Aboriginal experience.

Now how can we convince the Premier and Cabinet that Fremantle deserves another tourist attraction?

Roel Loopers


Posted in book, city of fremantle, fremantle prison, history, publishing, Uncategorized by freoview on April 15, 2019


Catalpa book


Famous Australian author Peter FitzSimons has written a new book and it is about the intriguing escape from Fremantle Prison by six Fenian prisoners in 1876.

The Catalpa Rescue tells the story of Fenians in the USA collecting money to buy the whaling boat Catalpa that then sailed to Rockingham to pick up the escapees. There is a great Wild Geese artwork on the Rockingham foreshore about it.

The book will be released on April 23, so make sure to get a copy as this is one of Freo’s great historic stories.

Roel Loopers






This Thinking Allowed published in the Fremantle Herald today claims I am “Freo’s most opinionated blogger” so I’ll take that as a compliment I think, well, maybe. 😩

It is important though to stress the fact that the historic Roundhouse and Arthur’s Head do not get any annual funding from the State and Federal governments and that the City of Fremantle does not have the millions needed to properly maintain the heritage precinct.

Also in the Herald the not very good financial state of our city, so make sure to grab your copy of our Chook.

Roel Loopers


Henty ad



round house- arthur head


While the possibility of a brand new Aboriginal cultural centre at Fremantle’s Arthur’s Head would be great the entire area needs a lot of TLC and large financial investment, as the officers’ report in the FPOL Committee agenda for this Wednesday shows.

As a volunteer at the Roundhouse and someone who visits Arthur’s Head daily I have found the neglect of the heritage precinct a disgrace and an insult to our history. If we do not respect the past we ignore our roots and that is not acceptable to me.

A few months ago I questioned in a letter to the West Australian and on Freo’s View why the Roundhouse, Western Australia’s oldest public building, does not receive annual funding from the State and Federal governments, and that extends to entire Arthur’s Head, because a city with a small ratepayers’ base like Fremantle simply does not have the money required to properly maintain the old building and limestone cliff area. That needs to change with urgency and priority!

Here some of what the FPOL agenda states:

The condition of the cliff faces and man-made walls at Arthur Head Reserve were found to range from poor to good. The recommended remediation for different areas varies from minor works such as removal of vegetation and repairs such as repointing of existing masonry walls through to major works including the extension of the Whaler’s Tunnel portal in areas where there is significant potential for collapse and risk of harm to visitors.

The condition of the limestone walls of the Round House has been deteriorating for some time. Major conservation and restoration work is required to maintain this important historical building.

Previous conservation and stabilisation works undertaken between 2001 and 2018 were completed in a piecemeal manner. Some of these works included shaving the cliff faces to address safety issues of rock fall did not consider or address the issue of erosion and only accelerated the retreating of the cliff face towards some significant heritage buildings.

The Round House which is recognised as being Western Australia’s oldest public building and is one of this State’s most significant heritage buildings is one of the biggest attractions in Fremantle with an estimated 100,000 persons per year visiting the building annually.

The last major conservation works of the Round House were undertaken in 2004. Since then small amount of maintenance works have been carried out each year under the City’s building maintenance budget.

Due to the exposed marine environment, vandalism and the well-intentioned but damaging repairs carried out during the twentieth century the building is now in need of some urgent conservation works. In particular, works are urgently required for the remediation and repair of the limestone walls.

Given the heritage significance of Arthur Head and its buildings, a long term solution to stop the erosion of the cliff faces and repair of the Round House walls is required to ensure that the assets in the Arthur Head Reserve survive for future generations to enjoy.

The pre-tender estimate completed in March 2019 which was developed from the completed designs and contract documentation indicates the total project cost for all remediation works to the cliff faces to be in the order of $1.8 million (Exc. GST).

The remediation works can be undertaken in stages which could be sequenced based on risk.

The conservation and remediation works to the Round House are estimated at between $500 000 and $1 000 000.

I am surprised that the officers put an estimation of 100,000 visitors for the Roundhouse as the exact visitors numbers are available. They are recorded each and every day by the team leader of the day, who has a clicker counter to record everyone who enters the Roundhouse and that comes to 140,000 -150,000 annually, which is well above the estimated number.

Roel Loopers





Fremantle’s new Destination Marketing campaign was launched at the Maritime Museum on Thursday evening.

All the right people were there for all the right reasons and there was a real sense of anticipation in the room.

The Minister for Tourism Paul Papalia spoke a few words and so did Mayor Brad Pettitt, who said the new marketing campaign shouts what we love about Fremantle. “Freo is proud to be different”

But the explanations for the Spirit-Soul-Sea campaign came from Linda Wayman, the Chair of the Destination Marketing working group. There is a lot of integrity when Wayman speaks about Fremantle’s history, both Indigenous and European. One can feel it comes from the heart.

She said it was about the complexity of Fremantle’s past and its diversity, a place of cultural celebration and that history, like little stones, form Fremantle’s narrative.

What makes Fremantle different? What is it’s essence?

A video with great music was shown with good Fremantle images. This is….This is… This is… This is Fremantle! and then the bubble burst for me.  Wayman had said “We burst the Fremantle bubble” and very short only a few seconds long promotional clips were shown and for me that was like a lead balloon and nothing at all like the invigorating and inspiring long video clip they had shown before.

For me personally the short clips lacked impact. They were boring and do not convey what is special and unique about Fremantle. Mediocre photography shot in mostly uninspiring locations. The one with two people sitting on a bench drinking coffee is pathetic.

I walked away extremely disappointed. It took over a year to come up with the new Destination Marketing but the very short clips are outrageously average and do not give an impression about what Fremantle is all about. The best one is shot inside Fremantle Prison where a young girls gets a fright because of a loud noise.

That is just my personal opinion so many people will disagree with it and that is absolutely fine.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, community, history, immigration, multicultural, Uncategorized by freoview on March 13, 2019



The long-hair dude is me in 1982 and the short-hair one is me now, so just a bit of nostalgia and history

Today on March 13, 1982, 37 long years ago, I arrived as a new migrant in Sydney, after having lived as a migrant in Germany for 13 years as well.

My life has been an amazing adventure and I loved every city I lived in; first The Hague in the Netherlands, then Nuremberg in Germany, then Sydney and from September 1985 it was WA. Our first house in Como, the move to Swanbourne, and when I became single after twenty years I moved to Fremantle and discovered this is the place I really love.

I have seen many changes in my 25+ years in Freo, some good, some bad, but I fear I am running out of time to see an Aboriginal Cultural Centre purpose-built here, and new interpretive displays at the Roundhouse.

I am 70-years-old so I am worried that there might not be much time left for me and that I could not be here for the opening of the new Civic Centre, and to see if Fremantle Council’s decision about the Kings Square Redevelopment Project was the right one and created all the inner city activation so desperately needed.

Will urban infill kill Freo, as some critics claim, or will it help to create vitality and rejuvenation of a tired city? Will I ever find out?

Whatever the outcome and different opinions about it, I love good old Freo. It is a very special place that has so much to offer to so many people. It has given me a home where I have a very strong sense of belonging to a caring community with many great people. I feel blessed. Thank you all!

Roel Loopers




Posted in BOOKS, city of fremantle, culture, festival, heritage, history, Uncategorized by freoview on February 25, 2019

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Sunday was a bit of an epic day for me following The Moondyne Walk as part of the Fremantle Fenians Festival. It celebrated the great escape 150 years ago by John Boyle O’Reilly from Fremantle Prison to Rockingham where he and other escaped Fenians boarded the whaling ship Catalpa and sailed to Boston,USA.

Moondyne is probably the first novel ever written about Western Australia.

75 readers each read a part of the book in one of the 16 locations around Fremantle.

I started my day at 8 am the Fremantle Arts Centre and from there the Townhall, the moody Aardvark bar under the Norfolk Hotel, the Hougoumont hotel, B Shed, Maritime Museum, Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Roundhouse, Lionel Samson cellars and Kidogo Arthouse, where the festival finished with a concert with Lucky Oceans and many others, and where I finished my epic journey at 8pm.

What a fantastic way to celebrate Fremantle’s history with multicultural readers of the Moondyne book in some of our city’s great buildings.

Roel Loopers



Posted in BOOKS, city of fremantle, culture, festival, history, Uncategorized by freoview on February 24, 2019


moondyne walk 1


The Moondyne Walk is under way and will be going all day around Fremantle, so all your lovers of history, Fenians, Irish, or prison break-outs, come and join the walk!

The event is part of this year’s Fremantle Fenians Festival where 75 volunteers read from the Moondyne book by John Boyle O’Reilly at 16 locations around Fremantle. See the map and times below!

150 years ago the big Catalpa escape was from Fremantle Prison when a group of Fenians fled to Rockingham, where they were picked up by the whaling boat Catalpa and sailed to Boston. It is a great story well worth reading up on!

I went at 8am to the Fremantle Arts Centre and will be going to a few different locations all day to take some more photos.

Roel Loopers




Posted in book, city of fremantle, festival, history, Uncategorized, western australia by freoview on February 23, 2019




Tomorrow Sunday 24 February from 7am to 7.30pm the Moondyne Walk takes place throughout the streets of Fremantle as part of the Fenians Festival.

This inaugural event is a public reading of the entire novel written by John Boyle O’Reilly about Western Australia. It was first published in Boston in 1878 as a serial in the Boston Post and later published as the novel Moondyne in 1880.

This is possibly the very first novel written about Western Australia and presents a penetrating view of colonial life, Aboriginal culture, and the power dynamics in operation at the time.

The entire book will be read in public over 12 hours at sixteen historic locations throughout Fremantle starting at 7.00am at the Fremantle Prison and finishing at 7.30pm during the Gaelic Gumbo concert on the lawns in front of Kidogo Arthouse at Bathers Beach.

You can register your interest in hearing this amazing story at one or more of the following sixteen locations.

The closing event features a Gaelic Gumbo concert on the lawns of Kidogo Arthouse with Lucky Ocean, The Zydecats, Fiona Rea and Tommy O’Brien.

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, concerts, entertainment, festival, history, Uncategorized by freoview on February 11, 2019



The Fremantle Fenians Festival is back from February 22-24 with a three-day program of music, literature, film and Irish dancing to commemorate the life and works of Fenian prisoner, writer and journalist John Boyle O’Reilly.

O’Reilly landed in Fremantle in 1868 aboard the Hougoumont, the last convict ship to Australia. He escaped in1869 aboard the whaling ship Gazelle which transported him to the USA. There he was one of the instigators of the famous Catalpa Escape, the daring rescue of the remaining Fenian prisoners in Fremantle Prison.

 The Fenians Festival program starts on Friday 22 February with internationally renowned Irish musician Sharon Shannon and her band, with special guest singer Susan O’Neill, in double bill concert at John Curtin College of the Arts Fremantle.

It concludes on Sunday 24 February when the final passage in the epic 12-hour reading of O’Reilly’s novel Moondyne Joe will be read by His Excellency Mr Breandán Ó Caollaí, Ambassador of Ireland to Australia at 8pm, during Lucky’ Oceans’ Gaelic Gumbo, an outdoor concert on the front lawn of Kidogo Arthouse at Bathers Beach that runs from 6.30pm to 9pm.


Roel Loopers




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