One of the things I very much enjoy is showing people around Fremantle and a few of the hidden treasures they might not otherwise discover, so today I spent two hours with the lovely Italian Elisabetta and Matilda.
Matilda lives in Freo and runs the cute fashion boutique and Birkenstock outlet Creato a Mano at Marine Parade and her husband Roberto runs the equally cute Galleria D’Arte West End just a few metres awy, so go and check them out!
Elisabetta though lives in beautiful Rome, so hence the need for a guided tour.
The Roundhouse and Arthur Head had to be the starting point and soon we walked into Bruce from Replants who is setting up a tree installation on Bathers Beach for the Sculpture@Bathers show which starts on the 24th of this month.
The former long jetty and ocean pool and the mortuary and kerosine store were clearly a must and gave me the opportunity to talk about the horrendous Rottnest Island indigenous Quod prison.
From there we wandered into Notre Dame University territory. We had a few sneak peeks inside some of the gorgeous adaptive reuse heritage buildings, the beautiful library and also the stunning Aboriginal art collection of UNDA. I recommend anyone to take a guided tour of the campus on Friday morning which UNDA organises. Contact them to book it!
The flat where FBI boss J Edgar Hoover lived, which is now part of Kerry Hill architects in Mouat Street, is also largely unknown. Kerry Hill by the way designed the new City of Fremantle Civic Centre at Kings Square.
I showed my guests the PS Art Space and studios upstairs, the former Police Station at Victoria Quay and the historic artworks inside B Shed, even the toilets, and wandered around the Maritime Museum under the watchful eyes of a lone Nankeen heron.
The old submarine, the connection to Gallipoli and the migrant wall were a talking point for us that connected Freo to Europe.
From there past the J Shed art studios and back through the Whalers Tunnel for a nice iced coffee at my friends at Chalkys in the former Trams Building.
What is there not to love about Freo. So happy I live here!
The Streetwise column in the West Australian property section by architect and lecturer in architecture Dr Simon Pendal should be a must read for Fremantle Councillors and planning officers because Pendal’s expert opinion is significant for the way Fremantle develops.
Pendal writes that In an increasingly global world, we should not be afraid to be provincial and to work with an awareness of our individual and shared mental space. This is important to keep certain areas ‘proudly identifiable’ he argues.
This strongly applies to retaining Fremantle’s unique character and is even more significant in the West End and in regard to the, in my opinion unacceptable, development proposal by Notre Dame University for the corner of High and Cliff streets.
Dr. Pendal argues that design that renders all places equal fails to recognise the ‘local mental space’ of a street or suburb, and he writes that we have a kind of common spatial understanding that we shape and that shapes us. The historic West End of Fremantle no doubt has done that for many decades and needs to be protected from inappropriate architecture.
I believe people connect to these spaces, relate to them and feel a sense of belonging and proud ownership. That is why many want to live in Fremantle because it is unique, has a special character and connects us to our roots of history.
Community is not just about people but about lifestyle, a common ground and the awareness that we are sharing this exceptional city and are the custodians of it, to pass it on to future generations; changed, improved and developed, but with deep respect and consideration for the past.
That is not happening in Freo at the moment, where ugly and mediocre buildings are being approved and many more proposed, to the detriment of our city’s character. We can and must do a whole lot better than that!
Tomorrow, Saturday January 28 will be a very special community day in Fremantle that will celebrate our history and multiculturalism.
It starts of at 9.30 am at Arthur Head with a significant smoking ceremony by Nyoongar elders.
Two four hundred-year-old boomerangs from the South West will fly again from the hands of youngsters.
Aboriginal dancers and representatives will conduct smoking ceremonies in three locations – in the Round House, in front of the Round House and in the Bathers’ Beach area. Small ceremonial fires held within metal dishes will be positioned in three locations and manned by representatives.
The ceremonies will be delivered in unified sequence across the three locations with the main ceremonial fire inside the Round House and a Ceremonial Progression of Aboriginal and General Community witnesses and participants together with the greater community led by Aboriginal elders out onto Bathers Beach.
Burning of Balga trees will take place on the grassed area in front of J Shed at 6.00pm.
And from 2 pm on the One Day In Freo event is at the Esplanade with family entertainment and from 4 pm on the great John Butler, Mama Kin and Dan Sultan will perform live from 4 pm.
It’s going to be a fantastic day to celebrate our diversity and sense of community and the huge contribution everyone has made to make Fremantle the very special and unique place it is.
The media and social media hype and hot air about the City of Fremantle celebrating Australia Day on January 28 instead of January 26 needs to get some balance by pointing out some simple facts.
Historically Australia Day is only meaningful for people in NSW. “Australia Day is a national public holiday commemorating the founding on 26 January 1788 of the colony of New South Wales.” It celebrates the arrival at Sydney Cove of the first 11 convict ships-the first fleet-from England, so the day is historically meaningless to Western Australia and all other Australian states and territories.
Fremantle was only settled by the British in 1829, so 41 years after the east coast, and was the start of the Swan River Colony, hence we celebrate Foundation Day, renamed WA Day in 2012, in June each year
A far more meaningful date for Australia Day celebrations would be January 1, where in 1901 the six separate British colonies agreed to form the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia Day is quite a recent national day as it started only in 1994, twenty years ago.
It is funny that there is outrage about Fremantle’s Australia Day changes when Australia can’t even celebrate the birthday of the Queen of England, the head of our nation, on the same day and states celebrate Her Majesty’s birthday on different days, so why is ‘Straya Day’ so important?
Australia Day celebrations in Perth and Fremantle have become a day for boozers and bogans where police and security have their hands full trying to keep the drunks in check and there are many complaints about behaviour at South Beach, Bathers Beach, etc. during the fireworks.
Now Fremantle will have two days of celebration, no doubt to the delight of the Fishing Boat Harbour traders who will rub their hands, with dollar signs lighting up their eyes, as they now can cash in twice, once during the fireworks they organise and the second time during the John Butler, Mama Kin One Day in Fremantle concert on the Esplanade.
Those who believe it is political correctness gone mad that Fremantle shows sensitivity and acknowledges the terrible wrongs of the past toward Aboriginal people probably also believe the Jews should just get on with it and over the Holocaust, like our indigenous people should stop whingeing about the Stolen Generations, the massacres, Sister Kate, the Rottnest Quod indigenous prison, and the abuse inflicted on Aboriginal boys and girls, etc. Yep, just get on with it hey, because us Wadjelas want to celebrate an irrelevant day with very expensive and polluting fireworks.
It is not a big deal at all that the City of Fremantle is not celebrating Australia Day on January 26 because the day means historically nothing to our city and our state, so my advise it get over it and have fun all long weekend in our great city!
Fremantle will have a fantastic celebration of Australia Day next years and we can enjoy it over the long weekend.
The Esplanade Reserve will host performances by John Butler, Dan Sultan and Mama Kin during ONE DAY IN FREMANTLE, and families will have the opportunity to enjoy and take part in a range of fun arts and cultural activities.
The celebrations will be hosted by multi-award-winning singer-songwriter Gina Williams and include a Welcome to Country by Marie Taylor and Dr. Richard Walley OAM. A citizenship ceremony will welcome new Australians from around the world.
To help shape future celebrations in Fremantle, a series of conversations hosted by locals and guests will encourage people to share their ideas and what they love about celebrating Australia.
“This family-friendly event will contribute to the nationwide conversation on celebrating our country and its people. Fremantle is offering Australians another day to celebrate – together,” said Dr Pettitt.
Everyone is encouraged to bring a picnic and enjoy the stellar line-up whilst embracing the diversity of modern-day Australia.Celebrate Australia in the heart of Fremantle – one day when everyone is welcome.
One Day in Fremantle is a free, family-friendly event that will be held at the Esplanade Reserve in Fremantle on Saturday 28 of January, 2.00–8.00 pm. For more information, visit fremantle.wa.gov.au/onedayinfremantle
Of course the Cracker Night fireworks will also be on the 26th organised by the Fishing Boat Harbour traders.
I am looking forward to it!
My friend Greg Nannup of Indigenous WA is conducting FREMANTLE INDIGENOUS HERITAGE TOURS, so check out the website and make bookings through there: http://www.indigenouswa.rezdy.com
Take a journey to the time of the Wadjuk, the traditional custodians of Fremantle, Perth and the Swan River. Learn about Fremantle’s untold history spanning from the Ancient Dreamtime to the arrival of the early explorers and settlers. Hear an ancient Dreamtime story of the Nyoongar people.
Visit the Roundhouse Prison, Western Australia’s first public building, and explore the history under the guidance of the Fremantle Volunteer Guides.
Follow the story of Yagan (The Wadjuk Warrior) and Midgegooroo (The Wadjuk Elder of the Beeliar people) who both resisted settlment at a costly price in the year of 1833.
Visit the Fremantle Whaling Tunnel, learn of early whaling and hear the Aboriginal perspective as to ‘why whales beach themselves’. Discover bush food and interesting native coastal plants.
Hear stories of the Dreamtime and discover how sustainability and caring for nature was a way of life.
Tours departs from the lawn of the Shipwreck Galleries Museum, Cliff St Fremantle and take 90 minutes.
Schools please contact firstname.lastname@example.org regarding excursions and Incursions.
I have participated in tours by Greg Nannup a few times and highly recommend them!
I don’t feel too well today so I nearly forget to go to the Fremantle remembrance day ceremony at Monument Hill, but happy I did not miss the important tradition which was initiated by former Freo firefighter Chris Grisenwood and his mate Vic about 14 years ago. Vic, whose last name I unfortunately don’t know, told me today he is 92 years old.
Politicians Simone McGurk, Lyn McLaren and Simon O’Brien were present, as was Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and many spectators.
It was interesting to hear at the Roundhouse today that there are still many people in Fremantle, and some in the tourism industry, who don’t know that the volunteer guides fire the cannon every day at 1 pm.
Cannon firing can be booked as a surprise birthday gift and for anyone. Today a school student from Geraldton fired it in front of her 30 classmates, teachers and another 50 people, as the photo I took shows.
Everyone who fires the cannon receives a certificate. You can book it on the Roundhouse website, where the guides also take bookings for school visits, weddings on the lawn next to the Roundhouse, functions, etc.
The Roundhouse is open every day of the year but for Good Friday and Christmas Day from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm.
The Dirk Hartog Festival is on at Fremantle’s Victoria Quay from midday today so come along for a day of entertainment, food and history!
Hartog set foot on WA soil at Shark Bay on October 25 1616, 400 years ago, well before the English, who settled in Fremantle in 1829 and started the Swan River Colony.