Freo's View




I am all in favour of the WA Covid Recovery Plan and the many good things it will do for our state’s economy, but it also made me aware, yet again, that Fremantle has been taken for granted for decades by our state government, be that Labor or Liberal.

In the Sunday Times today it is reported that the WA government will be spending $ 10 million on a new cafe and function centre in Kings Park, but Fremantle is only getting $ 500,000 for the urgent repairs of historic Arthur’s Head and the Roundhouse. That is to match the $ 500,000 Fremantle Council has pledged for the project.

However nearly $ 2 million are required to get the repairs of one of WA’s most significant historic areas and oldest remaining public building done, so only half the necessary money is forthcoming for one of our top tourist attractions, while Kings Park get 20 times more for a visual upgrade.

It’s pathetic really how little respect our state governments have shown for the history of WA in Fremantle, because our politicians are so Perth centric and anyway, Freo is a safe Labor seat.

Ooops, I forgot, we are also getting a new traffic bridge that does not involve proper community consultation.


Roel Loopers



Drum roundhouse


I only noticed it yesterday afternoon that Fremantle has a second Roundhouse. The so-called drum of the new Walyalup Civic Centre at Kings Square resembles the old gaol at Arthur’s Head.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on August 1, 2020





Really nice to see the flags flying again above the Fremantle Roundhouse and the oldest public building in WA re-opening to the public.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced the Roundhouse volunteers to close the old jail, but they are finally back with a smile on their faces, and so were surprisingly many visitors this morning.

The Roundhouse is open daily from 10.30am to 3.30pm and the Glen Cowans underwater photography gallery next to it has also re-opened.

Go and sag G’day!

Roel Loopers








More great news for Fremantle! WA Heritage Minister David Templeman will tomorrow, Friday July 31 announce that the state government will match the $ 500,000 the City of Fremantle has allocated for the urgent repairs of historic Arthur’s Head and the Roundhouse.

The $1milion project will be the first significant conservation work to be undertaken at the Roundhouse in more than 15 years and the State Government’s contribution is part of a program of capital works and maintenance projects to help support the State’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

Works to be undertaken include restoration of the cliff face, stabilisation of the building, stonework repairs to the Roundhouse and Whalers Tunnel and construction of a new rock fall canopy.

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage will work with the City of Fremantle to implement the works program and minimise disruption to Roundhouse operations.

Brilliant and well overdue news!

Fremantle Council, the Freo community and the Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk have all been lobbying really hard for this, so thank you!

I have one concern though. It was reported that the City of Fremantle said it will cost $ 1.8 million to do all the work, so what short cuts are being made and what will not be done when only half the money is being spent?

Roel Loopers

PS: The Roundhouse will re-open from August 1.





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







Fremantle Council will be considering this evening to apply for state funding for remedial work at Arthur’s Head, so hat the unsightly temporary fences can be removed.

While the total costs for repairs of Arthur’s Head and the Roundhouse are close to $ 2,5 million, the City only wants to spend $ 1 million and do following work, while wanting an additional half a million for the Roundhouse:

To progress these works the City is considering a proposal to bundle the essential cliff and surround works to enable unsightly scaffolding and fencing to be removed to areas 1,4,7 and 8 which would value approximately $1,000,000 and seek 50% funding for this from the state government. The City is also seeking the amount of $540,000 from the state government to undertake the entire renewal works on the roundhouse.

Arthur’s Head has been a real mess for over two years now and that really is unacceptable for one of Western Australia’s most significant historic areas.

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





It is WA Day long weekend and the calls for an Aboriginal cultural centre are loud and clear. We want it, and ideally it will be built in Fremantle!!

But the neglect of historic Arthur’s Head and the expensive rented fences in the area really annoy me, but no one in Fremantle or Western Australia appears to care much about the awful neglect of one of WA’s most significant heritage precincts. It is a disgrace and the Western Australian government should hang their heads in shame about not caring!

What is also not acceptable is putting wrong information on tourist signs, such as this one at the entrance of the Whalers Tunnel, that claims that convict labour was used to build the tunnel.

The tunnel was built in 1837 and convicts only arrived in WA in 1850! What is probably meant is that prison labour from the Roundhouse jail was used to build the tunnel, but that is a different story.

Clean up this mess, Premier Mark McGowan. This is one of the most important public works you should push forward as a priority!

Roel Loopers




Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, Uncategorized by freoview on May 9, 2020




The Timeball above the gun deck of the historic Fremantle Roundhouse had a brother this morning just after sunrise with the full moon joining it.

Roel Loopers


Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on March 15, 2020




The Fremantle volunteer Roundhouse guides have made the sensible and right decision to close WA’s oldest public building for the time being, due to Covid-19 concerns.

The old jail on Arthur’s Head gets hundreds of visitors every day, and very many of them come from overseas, so there is a threat to the health of the mainly elderly guides.

Will Fremantle Prison, the Shipwrecks Museum and the Maritime Museum follow suit?

Roel Loopers


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