Today is my personal Australia Day! Thirty-five years ago today on March 13, 1982 I landed in Australia with my then partner Brigitte to start our new life on the other side of the world, and what a journey it has been.
The decision to migrate to Australia was seen by many friends and colleagues in Germany as foolhardy and naïve, but how wrong they were.
There is no doubt that my Australian years have been the most challenging and often very difficult years of my life. I went through all the highs and all the lows, from a highly successful photography business to a financial disaster triggered by severe depressions, from beautiful houses to awful granny flats, and from great love affairs to a badly broken heart, but as the French say c’est la vie. Shit happens.
But overall it has been a wonderful adventure where I learned so much about myself and life, and at the end I came through it wiser, tougher, more considerate and more tolerant, so these are good gains and lessons.
Moving from Sydney to Perth in September 1985 was stroke of genius, and moving to Fremantle in the early 1990s was pure brilliance as I love living in our beautiful little port city.
Fremantle taught me so much about community engagement and passion and yesterday’s huge Labor election win shows that the enormous Roe 8 people power movement made a big difference and that politicians who ignore the people will be punished. There is an important message for the elected members of the City of Fremantle in that as well.
The good thing about integration in a new culture is that it does not come at the cost of losing one’s identity and culture and while I became an Australian citizen in 1985 much of me will always remain Dutch as the education I received and the values instilled in me in the Netherlands will be with me forever.
Respecting people and being compassionate was something my parents showed me daily, and that being generous and honest and standing up for people less fortunate are good things. They are beautiful values to have.
I love people and the Fremantle community is my family. They are the people I want to look after and support and while I have failed dismally on a few occasions I have always tried my best.
Fremantle has given me a deep sense of belonging and a purpose that is much more than just surviving and earning money. It has taught me that looking after the community one lives in and supporting positive change can make a real difference and that doing that is very rewarding.
I don’t have all that many years left in life but as long as I can do it I will try to help make Fremantle and even better place to live and love in.
Thank you to everyone who has been part of my Aussie life so far. It has been a mind-blowing journey!
Check out the new on-line FREMANTLE SHIPPING NEWS magazine: http://fremantleshippingnews.com.au. I think it is very good and a great addition to local Freo media.
It’s not just about the port and maritime issues but about Fremantle lifestyle, food, heritage, architecture, art, etc.
FSN aims to be an online magazine about today’s Fremantle, with content and imagery provided, as much as possible, by interested locals.
The idea for the magazine was born out of daily drives past Fremantle Port and admiring and wondering about the activity of the coming and going ships.
The magazine is run by Fremantle local Michael Barker with assistance from local designers Superminimal, a number of Freo volunteer writers and photographers.
They welcome contact from anyone who would like to contribute to the magazine.
They have a subscribe button at the bottom of the webpage. Subscibers will receive an email notifying them of new articles.
FSH also have a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/fremantleshippingnews/ which will promote new content and an instagram page https://www.instagram.com/fremantleshippingnews/ which will feature shipping and ‘Seen in Freo’ images.
An interesting affordable housing project will be developed in Fremantle on the corner of Blinco and Wood streets in White Gum Valley by the Fini Group.
The EHDO Nightingale apartments will be sold under market value to ‘ethical investors’ who can only sell their property at agreed market value.
The apartments will have shared laundry facilities and communal gardens, so it all sounds very Freo.
I understand the concept was created by Melbourne architects and the Freo project will have 12 apartments initially.
This is what EHDO says:
Nightingale Housing is a non-profit organisation formed by a group of leading Australian architects. It aims to create affordable housing models that are specifically designed to achieve environmental and social benefits for cities. In other words, Nightingale promotes the building of communities, not just market commodities.
The Nightingale ethos is driven by the reality that home ownership is becoming increasingly out of reach, especially in Australia’s major cities. The rise of apartments in suburbs has not made housing more affordable, nor has it contributed to suburban quality of life, in terms of good housing and neighbourhood design, access to services, and community building.
Nightingale developments aim to increase affordability by selling housing directly to homebuyers without many of the ‘add on’ costs associated with typical developments, such as agent fees, marketing and display suites. The requirements of the owner-occupier and the community are emphasised over investor profit.
For those interested in alternative living projects the Exploring Tiny Houses in Fremantle – and Different ways of Living Tiny is a good way to connect with like-minded people, network and share ideas.
Join Fremantle Councillor Rachel Pemberton – back from her recent trip to Europe – plus other expert panelists for a discussion and presentation of examples by local people who are pioneering a new phase of modest housing in Fremantle.
Its on Thursday March 2nd at the Fremantle Library from 6pm-7:30pm.
In times of a lack of really affordable housing, homeless people, a fast ageing population, and many mature singles and students looking for small living options, local councils should do more to explore options and find ways of alternative living.
Fremantle resident Leanne McKenzie is passionate about Freo and alternative living and sees a need for innovative new ideas to deal with the fact that Fremantle is becoming more expensive and becoming less accessible to those on lower incomes.
Leanne believes that people who want to live in and be part of Fremantle should have diverse housing options available. She says “Fremantle is what it is because of passionate community minded people, so if this type of person wants to live here they should have access.“
She has years of experience with construction and renovations, and personal experience as owner builder renovating her Fremantle workers cottage on a very tight budget, and exactly how she needed it, but paying tribute to its humble origins.
Leanne says she took the decision to help the many others who struggle to get started extending and renovating their homes, and she has assembled an excellent team of designers, real estate professionals and trades to help guide others in taking the step.
“It is better reducing our ecological footprint, solar, thermal efficiencies etc. and upcycling our homes if practicable, rather than bowling over and starting from scratch.”
When Leanne McKenzie was told that her 90 sqm 3 bedroom home was too small for energy efficient hydronics systems, she decided to design one herself.
“I want to equip people with the information and processes so they can make informed designs about their renovations, incorporating new technology and not spend big dollars if they are not precisely sure what they want. We don’t need BIG to live happy, we need quality spaces that enhance our lives and connect us to our neighbourhoods.”
She is working to design a very special tiny house. “Mobility, ecological footprint, advanced technology is all part of our future for how we will live, but (re)connecting to our natural world, our neighbourhoods and communities is more important. This is what Fremantle does so well, and this should be accessible to all of us. “
For more detail contact Leanne.mckenzie@UrbanAesthetics.net.au
LiveLittle.com.au for more information on tiny house initiatives
While the LIV residential apartment project at Fremantle’s Queen Victoria Street is well under way, it is reported that Perth has one of the world’s least-affordable housing markets, according to property experts.
In a report published in the media today they state that house prices are more than six times the average income in Perth, which is $87,300.
According to Demographia, which compares housing affordability in cities of over one million population, Australia’s major problem is urban containment planning policies.
Urban containment, infill and higher density policies in WA try to reduce urban sprawl by encouraging more density rather than releasing new so-called greenfields sites. This often negatively affects older character suburbs where inappropriately high and often ugly buildings are destroying the urban amenity.
Housing experts say that high house prices are not a sign of a city’s success but a sign of failure to deliver the housing that its citizens need. Affordable housing is no doubt impacted by high property prices and that is an additional worry.
Living Together Better is on tonight at 6.30 at the Fremantle Townhall, so everyone interested in alternative living/sharing projects should attend and share their opinion and ideas.
It is organised by Meriam Salama who is an architect and founder of a social enterprise that seeks to provide affordable housing through co-ownership. Her venture, The Henry Project, seeks to provide opportunities for multiple small households to share ownership of a single dwelling, living independently, but with some shared facilities. The basic premise is that living together equates to living better; living together provides better affordability, and better social connectedness.
Living Together Better will give people the space to meet others similarly interested in the idea, to start developing connections that may lead to this type of co-living.
The model Salama is offering can make affordable housing, with genuine social benefit, a viable alternative in the Fremantle area.
Fremantle, Western Australia. Why live anywhere else?
Meriam Salama is an architect and founder of a social enterprise that seeks to provide affordable housing through co-ownership. Her venture, The Henry Project, seeks to provide opportunities for multiple small households to share ownership of a single dwelling, living independently, but with some shared facilities. The basic premise is that living together equates to living better; living together provides better affordability, and better social connectedness.
The Henry Project event is held on 22nd November 2016, and co-hosted by the City of Fremantle, and Shelter WA. It will provide details of how co-ownership works and what these properties might look like.
More importantly, it will give people the space to meet others similarly interested in the idea, to start developing connections that may lead to this type of co-living.
There are more event details here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/living-together-living-better-tickets-28594873035
Through The Henry Project, Meriam hopes to create opportunities to free people from the overwhelming burden of household debt, in order to live more fulfilling lives.
The model she is offering can make affordable housing, with genuine social benefit, a viable alternative in the Fremantle area.