Freo's View

HERITAGE PRESERVATION IS NOT OPTIONAL BUT OUR DUTY

 

round house- arthur head

 

Fremantle’s Ordinary Council meeting this evening decided to try to get State and Federal funding for the stabilisation of historic Arthur’s Head. Estimated cost for the preservation work are $ 1.8 million, plus $ 500.000-1million for renovations to the Roundhouse.

1. Endorse the Arthur Head design and documentation package as detailed in the Arthur Head Cliff Stabilisation Final Report, provided in Attachment 1 of this report in the Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee Agenda (10 April 2019).
2. Request the City proceed with referring details of the proposed works to the relevant state government agencies under public works procedures and obtaining all necessary statutory approvals.
3. Request the City seek State and Federal funding in order to progress the required remediation projects.
4. Request the City investigate the impact of vibrations from trains to the topography and buildings at Arthur Head.

I believe this is not far-reaching enough as the City of Fremantle should lobby the State and Federal Governments for ongoing annual financial support to preserve one of Western Australia’s most significant historic precincts.

As French President Emannuel Marcon said yesterday after the Notre Dame cathedral fire “We owe is to our history to preserve it.” And as I said to the Elected Members today that is not optional but a duty we have.

I also pointed out that the Roundhouse is the only one of the four Fremantle museums: Shipwreck Museum, Maritime Museum and Fremantle Prison that does not get any funding, not from the City, not from the WA Government and not from the Federal Government. That is not fair and reasonable.

The oldest public building in Western Australia welcomes around 140.000 international and national visitors a year, but is managed by mainly senior volunteers. Just 30 of them keep the Roundhouse open 363 days a year and fire the 1pm cannon.

The Roundhouse needs and deserves much more support from the City of Fremantle and State Government and it needs to happen as a priority!

Roel Loopers

TODAY TONIGHT FILMING ARTHUR’S HEAD NEGLECT

 

 

A team from Channel Seven-Today Tonight spent most of the morning in Fremantle to film a story about the neglect of historic Arthur’s Head and WAs oldest public building the Roundhouse.

They interviewed a structural engineer about stabilisation solutions for the rockfall problem and a Roundhouse tourguide about the historic significance of the area.

It will be screened tomorrow, Wednesday at 6.30pm so make sure to watch it, and hopefully WA State politicians will watch it as well and put their hands in their pockets and fund the essential maintenance and repairs as a priority.

Send an email to Heritage Minister David Templeman, Premier Mark McGowan, Tourism Minister Paul Papalia and Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk, and urge them to preserve one of Western Australia’s most significant historic precincts!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE PORTS SPONSORS ROUNDHOUSE CANNON FIRE

 

cannon-fire

 

It is personally rewarding for me to see that my call for support for the Fremantle Roundhouse has not been just weeing in the wind, but that Fremantle Ports responded generously and are now official sponsors of the One O’Clock Cannon Fire at the Roundhouse.

That the Fremantle Ports sponsors WA’s oldest public building is special to me since I did 14 years of photography for the Ports, so I very much feel like being part of the crew there.

When I complained in a letter to the West Australian and on this Freo’s View blog a few months ago about lack of support for the Roundhouse Fremantle Ports contacted me and asked how they could support the Roundhouse heritage guides.

The gun deck overlooks the site of the first Fremantle port, the long jetty, and also the current port, so it is very much part of our maritime history.

The cannon was fired and the time ball lowered for the early mariners to adjust their clocks, so that the calculation of longitude would be precise. The Roundhouse volunteers fire the cannon 363 days of the year, unless inclement weather prevents it.

People can book the firing of the cannon on http://www.fremantleroundhouse.com.au and are given a certificate to show they were the honorary gunner of the day. I suggest we reprint the certificates with the Fremantle Ports logo on it.

As part of the Fremantle Ports sponsorship the Roundhouse volunteer guides will participate in this year’s Maritime Day on Victoria Quay. I’ll see you there!

I hope the State and Federal governments will now also financially assist with the Roundhouse maintenance and management and the much needed stabilisation of Arthur’s Head and the Whalers Tunnel.

Roel Loopers

 

MINISTER DOES NOT WANT FREMANTLE ABORIGINAL CENTRE

 

Roundhouse

 

I rest my case about the WA State Government being Perth-centric. The West Australian today published an “exclusive” by Peter de Kruijff about the money needed to maintain the Fremantle Roundhouse and historic Arthur’s Head and that the City of Fremantle wants to do a feasibility study for the creation of an Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Bathers Beach.

But Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt hits that straight on the head by stating that an Aborigonal Cultural Centre should be as close to the centre of Perth as feasible. Why?

Fremantle was the first point of contact between the Whadjuk Noongar people and the British settlers and surely the second city in Western Australia deserves a new tourist attraction, when Perth got Elizabeth Quay, the new WA Museum, the Burswood Stadium, etc.

The question now is if Fremantle should be spending $ 50,000 on a feasibility study when it appears unlikely they will get financial support from the State Government, and two Aboriginal centres would probably not a good idea either.

I would love to see a significant Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Freo, but the City is financially not doing well at all, so should they spend $ 50,000 of ratepayers money for something that is unlikely to be built in Fremantle?

Roel Loopers

 

HERALD ARTICLE STRESSES LACK OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR HISTORIC ARTHUR’S HEAD

 

 

Herald

 

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

AUSTRALIAN CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS IGNORE WA’S OLDEST PUBLIC BUILDING

Posted in city of fremantle, culture, fremantle prison, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on April 10, 2019

 

 

I just became aware of a new website Cultural Attractions of Australia and of course wanted to find out what this site is all about and how well it promotes Western Australia and Perth, and especially Fremantle.

When I clicked on Perth only two attractions appeared, the Fremantle Prison and the Maritime Museum, no other historic and cultural attractions in Perth or Freo, such as WA’s oldest public building the Roundhouse popped up, so that is not actually giving comprehensive information to all those around the world who are interested.

But it became more clear what the site is all about when I Googled it:

Cultural Attractions of Australia will provide a single point of contact for travellers, trade partners and media to access premium, behind-the-scenes cultural experiences in iconic locations. As a collective, its strength lies in the diversity and iconic nature of the sites and collections represented, as well as the direct connection they hold with the people and cultures of Australia.

The founding members of Cultural Attractions of Australia are: Adelaide Oval, Arts Centre Melbourne, Australian War Memorial, WA Maritime Museum, Fremantle Prison, Melbourne Cricket Ground, MONA, National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Opera Australia, Parliament House, Port Arthur Historic Site, Qantas Founders Museum Longreach, Sovereign Hill and Sydney Opera House.

It is just plain self-promotion of certain cultural attractions and is not at all as inclusive as what the name lets us to believe. Very disappointing!

Roel Loopers

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URGENT CARE NEEDED FOR FREMANTLE ROUNDHOUSE

 

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 ROCKFALL RAPID RESPONSE

 

AH 1

AH 2

 

The City of Fremantle did not lose any time today to make the car park below Arthur’s Head safe by erecting temporary fences immediately, once they were being made aware of the rock fall of a large rock.

The issue now is how to accommodate the cars of the Roundhouse tourists guides as the area where they have been parking for years is now no longer available to them.

The second photo shows how run down the place really is. These are the steps to the Roundhouse, one of Fremantle’s most significant historic sites and tourism destinations. It’s a disgrace!

And the fences really have to be temporary only as we can’t go on having this area looking uncared for. It needs to be prioritised with urgency by the City with financial support from the Heritage Council!

Roel Loopers

DANGEROUS ROCKFALL AT ARTHUR’S HEAD

 

rockfall 4

 

Fremantle’s historic Arthur’s Head is a real worry for Fremantle Council, which does not have enough money to keep doing the ongoing repairs and maintenance of the popular tourism destination, and the State could not care less about it.

Tourists to the area are being confronted by ugly fences all around the cliff face because of the danger of rockfall, but it is hard to even control that as today’s rockfall shows.

This large and heavy rock fell all the way from the top of the cliff face at Captain’s Lane down onto the permit restricted carpark that is used by Roundhouse volunteer guides and MSC staff. I put my mobile next to it to give you an idea of the size of the rock

But far more worrying is that many people walk through the carpark, including large school groups and the wall is very popular as a backdrop for wedding photos.

Urgent repairs need to be done on the entire cliff face and we can’t wait any longer for more expert consultation. How much longer is it going to be?It has been nearly a year since the fences went up! That is not good enough.

Roel Loopers

 

UNACCEPTABLE HISTORIC ARTHUR’S HEAD NEGLECT

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized, vandalism by freoview on February 21, 2019

 

mess 4

 

I find the neglect of Fremantle’s historic Arthur’s Head very frustrating and annoying. I have mentioned before here on Freo’s View that I don’t believe it is acceptable that Western Australia’s oldest public building, the Roundhouse, does not get annual funding from the State and/or Federal government or from the City of Fremantle.

But basic care and maintenance are surely not too much too ask for! Look at the bloody mess of broken chairs at the cottages on Mrs Trivett Lane, where the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides have their office, where the public toilets are, and where hundreds of tourists walk along the path and see this mess. That is unacceptable!

Vagrants occupy the public toilets, so that tourists don’t feel comfortable entering them,  and they vandalise the area frequently. Two days ago a window was damaged at the volunteers cottage.

There are no CCTV cameras up there and the police can’t be bothered to walk up the hill, so it is left to deteriorate and no one seems to care about it.

Send a rubbish truck and pick up all that broken furniture, City of Fremantle! It’s not good enough to blabber on about how important tourism and heritage is for our city when you allow the most significant part of it to look like a dump. I am very pissed off!

Roel Loopers

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