Freo's View

WA GOVERNMENT DEMOLITION BY NEGLECT

 

It is unacceptable that the WA State Government neglects Fremantle’s significant heritage, which is a huge tourist attraction for the port city and WA.

World heritage listed Fremantle Prison needs more than $ 13 million to do conservation work as the roofs of several cells have collapsed, but all it will be getting from the State Government is $ 3.5 million and that is not good enough!

The Fremantle Roundhouse, and Arthur’s Head on which it is built, need stabilisation works worth $ 1.8 million but so far the State Government has shrugged their shoulders as if it is of no great concern to them.

The WA Labor government spend millions, if not billions, on getting sport stars and rugby and soccer clubs to Perth to help increase tourist numbers, but two of the state’s major and most significant tourist attractions get F… All from our government.

We have millions to spend on a Quokka Birthday Party on Rottnest Island but let the state’s oldest public building the Roundhouse and it surroundings just fall apart and rot away.

Demolition by neglect is unlawful in Western Australia, so who is going to prosecute the State Government?

Roel Loopers

I AM SHAKING MY ARTHUR’S HEAD

 

When the City of Fremantle many years ago evicted the long-term residents and Port Pilots at Captain’s Lane on Arthur’s Head to create the Bathers Beach Art Precinct I warned they would be creating a ghost town at night that would attracts vagrants, homeless people and anti social behaviour, and I was right.

Fremantle Council is now finally acknowledging that the BBAP does not work in its current conception, so one has to wonder what will be coming next.

The J Shed artists have been stressed for far too long about their future at Arthur’s Head, with having to fight the ridiculous decision by Fremantle Council  to lease the shed for a tavern and outdoor music venue to Sunset Events. That madness was only stopped by the WA Planning Commission after years of protests from residents .

Now the J Shed artists have not got their four-year leases renewed because Council is dreaming about an Aboriginal culture centre there, so what is the future for Greg James, Jenny Dawkins, Janet Nixon, Lesley Barrett, Jina Lee, Peter Zuvela and others?

Fremantle Council has been talking for years about activating Arthur’s Head and the West End of town, but have spent very little money on the area. The tavern nonsense would have given them sewerage and public toilets, paid for by others, and they have neglected one of our state’s and the city’s most significant historic precinct for yonkers.

The City should have built public toilets, a small cafe at J Shed, and extend the boardwalk from the Bathers Beach House to J Shed, but instead they have been living in LaLa land in the hope that commercial investment will do what the city does not want to finance.

Arthur’s Head is falling to bits with rock fall forcing the fencing off of large areas. It looks terrible!

For twenty years Fremantle Council has shown no interest whatsoever in the management and running of the Roundhouse. The oldest public building in Western Australia receives no annual funding from the city, it does not get financial and in kind support for marketing, or uniforms or anything, and it is a struggle for the volunteers to get the smallest repairs done.

The Roundhouse receives around 150.000 visitors a year so it is a significant tourist attraction, but the City says when the volunteers started they wanted to be autonomous, so what?! That does not mean Council should not show a very close interest in how it is working out and if the volunteers might just need a bit of help and TLC now and then. The mainly senior guides definitely deserve it, as they keep the old goal open seven days a week throughout the year. That’s a massive effort!

When the Crookes family, the Fremantle Society and the Port Pilots were still up on Arthur’s Head there was 24/7 activation. The kids brought friends home from Lance Holt school. They played on the grass, had lemonade stands to sell drinks to tourists, the Society held Bocce nights, heritage festival and Australia Day events, etc. And there was a lot of interaction from the verandas with passing visitors, but all that was not good enough for our elected members.

The place has now become an eyesore after many artists failed to succeed in the residential former pilots’ cottages, and even the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre does not have a big impact there.

Fremantle Council wants more activation, but closes the Whalers Tunnel at 7pm, which is well before sun set in summer. It could have made the pilots’ cottages into B&B to guarantee activation of Captain’s and Mrs Trivett Lane, but instead they added them to the artist studios program of the Fremantle Arts Centre, which means that many don’t even have to, or are allowed to, open to the public.

Arthur’s Head is shambles, it brings shame on Fremantle, and it is a sign of very bad governance of the area. And of course the State Government conveniently states that the cliff was vested in the City of Fremantle so it is not their problem to stabilise the cliff face, do urgent repairs and beautifications, and show a serious interest in the historic Roundhouse. All that while Fremantle Prison and the Shipwrecks and Maritime museums are getting all the financial support they need from the state government.

It is not good enough Fremantle Council and Premier Mark McGowan!

Roel Loopers

FREO CITY SHOULD MANAGE ROUNDHOUSE

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, heritage, history, local government, roundhouse, tourism by freoview on August 22, 2019

 

As the Fremantle Roundhouse volunteers embark on the biggest project ever with a $ 200,000 interpretive historic new display project it is urgent time for Fremantle Council to stop its arm’s length dealing with one of our most important tourist attractions and leaving it all to a small group of well-meaning amateurs.

While there is no issue with volunteers doing the day to day grind of opening the Roundhouse for visitors, the City should take over the management of the operations and be a very active part in the decisions of what the new displays will look like and what the historic content of it will be.

The Roundhouse is the oldest remaining public building in Western Australia and attracts around 150,000 visitors yearly, so it is a significant attraction for our city that needs to be managed professionally and by our local council.

The City of Fremantle has heritage experts who know more about the Roundhouse and Arthur’s Head than most people, so they should be involved dealing with the curator and designer instead of letting the volunteers make decisions on what will be a significant improvement of what the Roundhouse will offer tourists from all over the world, Australia, and local school groups.

Roel Loopers

 

 

ARTHUR’S HEAD UNACCEPTABLE EYE SORE

 

AH 1

 

Twenty two long months ago the City of Fremantle erected fences all around historic Arthur’s Head to protect the public from rock fall, but not much has been done since at one of Fremantle’s most popular tourists precincts.

An engineer’s report was tabled at a Council meeting with an estimated cost for stabilisation works of $ 1,8 million, but that report failed to monitor if the vibrations of the heavy container trains have any impact on the deterioration of the cliff face and the Roundhouse building.

I hear that heritage and local government minister David Templeman met with senior CoF officers and that he indicated the State Government was willing to help, but that the City would not get the $ 1,8 million needed. And another at least half a million dollars is required for the restoration of the Roundhouse walls.

There is no money in the budget for Arthur’s Head for this financial year, but for a small amount to install new lights along the dune path at Bathers Beach, so does that mean tourists and locals will just have to put up with the ugly fences for another year at least? It’s pathetic when one considers that Fremantle Council is constantly bleating about wanting to activate Arthur’s Head, but our Councillors are not walking the walk.

Roel Loopers

ROUNDHOUSE COMMITTEE REFUSES MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL

Posted in city of fremantle, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized, volunteers, western australia by freoview on July 9, 2019

 

In a stampede of dented egos the committee of the Fremantle Roundhouse volunteers have rejected the renewal of my membership, after I have been a member and volunteer tourist guide for nine years.

The letter I received today states that ‘In the interest of the FVHGA committee and its members we reject your application for renewal of membership.’

This is of course only sour grapes from a committee that did not like it that I reported here on Freo’s View the recent ad hoc and unacceptable closures-4 in 11 days!- of the Roundhouse.

Committee also did not like my suggestions for improvements and changes, but in a previous email last week, when they erroneously thought I had resigned as a member they said:

‘The FVHGA Committee and volunteer guides would like to thank you for the work you have done for the FVHGA and the Round House for many years.

You have been the instigator of many ideas and have achieved a lot.

We will treasure all your outstanding photography of the Round House and the committee work you have successfully undertaken.  Your work will be part of the long term history of the Round House.’

Because of my pro-active dedication to the volunteer organisation we received many thousands of dollars of sponsorship from Fremantle Ports for the firing of the 1pm cannon, and volunteers from the City of Fremantle Visitor Centre have now also started to try out at the Roundhouse after I suggested that when I addressed the Ordinary Council. I also made sure Fremantle Council pledged $ 20,000 for the new interpretive displays project, that is now finally going ahead after I started a sub-committee last year.

In the nine years I have volunteered at the Roundhouse I have been an excellent visitor guide for people from all over the world and primary and high school students.  I have also enabled private functions, festival events etc. as early as 7am in the morning and have been at the Roundhouse till late in the evening many times to accommodate concerts, theatre plays, festival events, smoking ceremonies, fundraisers, art exhibitions, fashion shows, film productions, etc.

I have also saved the FVHGA many hundreds of dollars by doing the photography they needed for promotional material.

It is irresponsible from the FVHGA committee to not renew my membership in a time where they are short of volunteers, especially those who have the permit to fire the cannon.

The WA Association Advisor advised that associations can not arbitrarily refuse to renew memberships, so the decision by the committee is illegal.

What a shame that egos are prioritised over what is best for the volunteer organisation. That shows a clear lack of professionalism.

Roel Loopers

ROUNDHOUSE CLOSED AGAIN ON SUNDAY

 

Roundhouse

 

It is an outrage that one of Fremantle’s most significant tourist destinations, the historic Roundhouse, is closed again today on Sunday, which is one of the busiest days of the week.

The weather is perfectly alright with some very dark clouds around but it is pleasantly warm and there are a lot of people wandering the streets.

The oldest public building in Western Australia was also closed last week on Friday, Saturday and Monday and that is not acceptable at all.

The Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides who manage the Roundhouse sent a statement to the Fremantle Herald that before every winter an assessment is made, but that is nonsense of Trumpian proportions.

Fact is that traditionally the Roundhouse was only closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day and open to the public every other day of the year. If the weather is too inclement the team on the day might decide to close an hour or so early, but never have volunteer guides turned up and decided not to open this historic jail at all.

It is not good enough and it is reassuring to know that the City of Fremantle  is finally showing some interest to manage the tourist destination more professionally.

The unscheduled closures could well jeopardise the grant application with Lotterywest for new interpretive displays in the Roundhouse, which is a superb project just waiting for funding.

When is the State Government going to show interest in historically significant Arthur’s Head and the Roundhouse?

Roel Loopers

 

FREMANTLE ROUNDHOUSE CLOSURE DISGRACE!

 

closure

 

The closure of the Fremantle Roundhouse today is the third day out of four the very popular tourist attraction has been closed to the public. It was closed on Friday and Saturday, supposedly due to bad weather, although the weather was in no way extreme and intolerable, and today the sign states that WA’s oldest public building is closed  due to a shortage of volunteers.

Fact is that the current president and some committee members of the volunteer group have been procrastinating instead of tackling the major issues of funding and volunteers.

I was a volunteer at the Roundhouse for nine years and loved talking with tourists from all over the world, but I resigned two weeks ago after a rude email from the president in reply to my email suggestions for improvements and changes. I was told that my emails to committee were a waste of energy and he reminded me I was not on committee, indicating I should just shut up.

It is now time for the City of Fremantle to immediately take over the management of the Roundhouse as this significant building has to be open to the public.  I am happy to get involved again under new more progressive and committed management.

A school group that arrived at 1.30pm today stood in front of the closed doors and that is very disappointing.

Roel Loopers

ROUNDHOUSE CLOSURE A REAL WORRY FOR FREMANTLE

 

 

It is a real worry that the Fremantle Roundhouse is closed today, and I was told it was closed most of yesterday as well.

A sign on the door says it is closed due to bad weather, but a few showers have never forced the Roundhouse volunteers to close all day in the nine years I worked there.

Fremantle Council now needs to take urgent action because it is not acceptable that the oldest public building in WA and one of Fremantle’s most significant tourist attractions is now randomly closed, presumably because of lack of volunteers.

In the nine years I was on duty only on the worst winter days did we close an hour early at 2.30pm, but all day closure only ever happened on Christmas Day and Good Friday.

I hear that at committee level of the volunteers it has been suggested they might have to wind up and hand the management of the building back to the City, but what then when there is no contingency plan in place?  Even if they staff the Roundhouse with volunteers from the Visitor Centre they would still need some of the current volunteers who have the license to fire the 1pm cannon.

Both Fremantle Council and the Roundhouse committee are to blame for not having been pro-active enough in trying to get new volunteers and annual funding. With enough State, City and Federal funding Roundhouse guides could get paid and the tourist attraction would be on the same level as Fremantle Prison, the Maritime Museum and the Shipwreck Museum, which all receive government funding.

The Roundhouse is very significant to Fremantle’s  and Western Australia’s history and the City can’t just sit back and let it close due to procrastination and lack of vision.

Roel Loopers

 

THE FREO ROUNDHOUSE EVEN ROUNDER

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 3, 2019

 

Roundhouse

 

I borrowed the round hand mirror from the Glen Cowans Photography Gallery yesterday to take this unusual photo of the Fremantle Roundhouse and High Street.

I always like the looking backward and forward of reflections, so here is another one for you.

It was very busy up on Arthur’s Head yesterday with a very large number of Asians visiting Fremantle, so we are very popular with our neighbour countries.

Roel Loopers

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CASHLESS DONATIONS AT FREO ROUNDHOUSE

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 2, 2019

 

Roundhouse cashless donations

 

Western Australia’s oldest remaining public building, the Fremantle Roundhouse, has embraced the cashless society by installing a card reader that will take $ 2.00 out of one’s account when one taps a credit or debit card when visiting the old jail.

Visitors often claim that they have no coins on them, or that they did put them all in parking meters, and disappointingly often visitors simply do not want to make a donation.

Of course coins and bank notes will still be gratefully accepted as well.

What most visitors do not know is that the donations are essential to keep the Roundhouse open to the public because the volunteer organisation does not get any financial support from the State and Local Governments, so they rely on the donations to buy uniforms, print brochures, etc.

It is now URGENT for Fremantle Council and the State Government to start financially supporting the Roundhouse if it wants the very popular historic tourism destination to remain an attraction in our city and state!

If there are any corporate organisations which would like to support the volunteers financially please give them a call.

Roel Loopers

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