Freo's View



Two articles in the Fremantle Herald this weekend should be a little eye-opener for Fremantle Council, and hopefully they have learned some lessons.

The front page is all about the City wanting to support the creative sector more with their interim economic development action plan, while inside the paper former Councillor Tim Grey-Smith is rightly annoyed that City Ward candidates use the demise of his business for political election reasons.

The lesson is that the City of Fremantle should of course support the creative sector, but should be very aware not to support unsustainable small businesses, because the unrecoverable debts the City writes off regularly are of great concern to the ratepayers.

Kulcha, Fly by Night, art studios at Captain’s Lane, the Soup cafe, etc. all cost the City much-needed income, because lack of market research and too much naivety and dreams are not really helpful to make a good business case for new small businesses, and when they flounder the ratepayers pay for the failures.

City properties should create income for the community, and while subsidised leases might well be helpful for start-ups, these cases need to be carefully considered. How many of us can recall the City investing $ 20,000 as part of the One Planet policy to get a business starting to grow mushrooms from coffee waste? It was successful for just over a year and has now disappeared.

We have successful creative businesses such at Greg James, Jenny Dawson and Jina Lee at J Shed, and Kidogo Arthouse, and the Glen Cowans photo gallery at Captain’s Lane who pay full commercial rates, but their future is uncertain because Fremantle Council has failed to appreciate how important these art businesses are for Fremantle, so any new ideas need to first deal with giving these artists the certainty of tenure they deserve, before heading of yet again into dreamworld.

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, city of fremantle, creative, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on October 17, 2019


Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt has published a discussion paper on the City’s Economic Development Interim Action Plan that I believe is worth sharing with Freo’s View readers in a slightly edited shorter version. I post it here:

The Economic Development Interim Action Plan 2020 – 2022 that has been developed in order to provide a temporary plan for the delivery of city led economic development activities while a new economic development strategy is developed for beyond 2020.

The creative sector is at the heart of what makes Freo special from the This is Fremantle brand to  what attracts people to Fremantle as an authentic and creative city.

Over the past two economic development strategies we have focussed on – and been successful in – attracting investment, jobs and people back into Fremantle. But these have primarily been centred on attracting mainstream industries and jobs such as state government jobs. In addition to this we have successfully enabled primary mainstream housing options – with the exception of projects like SHAC.

That has provided as strong basic economic foundation for Fremantle but what it doesn’t support, protect or enhance is the diversity of our creative industries, arts community and with this uniqueness of our brand and offering.

Now that we have got these economic fundamentals back on track there needs to be a focus over the next few years on supporting the kinds of economic activity that makes Fremantle unique and special – which is spaces and programs for our creative community to thrive and ways to expand and enhance this creative sector when the above economic resurgence will in all likelihood push up property process and rents.

Over the past two economic development strategies we have focussed on – and been successful in – attracting investment, jobs and people back into Fremantle. But these have primarily been centred on attracting mainstream industries and jobs such as state government jobs. In addition to this we have successfully enabled primary mainstream housing options – with the exception of projects like SHAC.

That has provided as strong basic economic foundation for Fremantle but what it doesn’t support, protect or enhance is the diversity of our creative industries, arts community and with this uniqueness of our brand and offering.

I strongly support assisting the creative sector, but Fremantle Council needs to be careful not to subsidise small creative businesses that are not viable in the long run and only last until the financial support finishes, as has often been the case with pop up shops and other ventures. There have been far too many ‘unrecoverable debts’ in the past in that regard.

Fremantle Council recently signed off on a film friendly city policy to encourage more film and TV crews to film in our city and one pro-active initiative they might want to consider is a location image library that is accessible on line and will save time for the often lengthy and expensive location scouting film teams engage in.

The library should especially include the hidden treasures of Fremantle; the cellars, bars, backyards, spaces such as PSAS, Fibonaci, the garden suburb of Hilton, semi industrial area around Wood Street, and also O’Connor, etc. Finding those special locations could be as simple as asking the community to report them to the location library.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, art, city of fremantle, culture, development, local government, property, Uncategorized by freoview on October 16, 2019


An interesting article by Kim Macdonald on the Property Pages of the West Australian reports that some developers do not believe that public art is value for money and that the percentage for the arts scheme some councils, such as Fremantle, have is arbitrary and does not give enough consideration to location.

Good public art, that provokes debate and public engagement enhances our streets, but sometimes public art is only decorative and not of very high creative standards, but that of course is about personal taste as well.

Some of the huge mural paintings in Perth are outstanding, and I regret that the stunning artwork on the Fremantle Myer building as Kings Square could not be saved because I really liked it.

Developers do not like the percentage for the arts scheme because it adds cost to the building, but in Fremantle’s case the Manning building development by Silverleaf Investments for example has been allowed to use the percentage for the arts contribution to reinstate the old veranda along William Street.

Flexibility is what is needed, and I believe it is a sensible idea from Richard Pappas of Celcius Properties, who told the West that the public art money should be put into a pool, and not necessarily be part of a new development. Money could be spent instead on public spaces, amenities, playgrounds, extending the tree canopy, etc.

There is quite a bit of sameness in public art, especially 3D art where big steel beams appear to be the favourite for local and state development. The one thing the percentage for the arts need to do is enhance the quality and lifestyle of the community, so if that is a new park a few kilometres away from a new development that is an alternative councils should consider.

Roel Loopers



Posted in art, bathers beach, city of fremantle, crime, law&order, police, Uncategorized by freoview on October 15, 2019




Fremantle POLICE wants to question this man as a person of interest about the stolen Bella sculpture from Bathers Beach, so if you recognise this person please do call Police!

At about 3.30am on Wednesday 9th October 2019, offender/s stole the ‘Bella’ statue valued at $50,000 from Mews Road, Bathers Beach, Fremantle.
The male depicted below is wanted for questioning in relation to the stealing. He was last sighted travelling in an Easterly direction along the cycle lane, parallel to the Fremantle Station rail line with the distinctive bicycle trailer.
If you have any information please contact Fremantle Detectives on 9431 1228.
Incident Report 091019 1315 89131 refers.

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, city of fremantle, disability, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on October 15, 2019


dadaa 1

dadaa 2


Good to see more work going on at the former Boys School in Princess May Park.

DADAA will open a new gallery in the building next week and there are also plans for a new cafe with a lovely alfresco courtyard, so stay tuned.

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, city of fremantle, photography, Uncategorized by freoview on October 13, 2019




The winner of FIPP-the Fremantle International Portrait Prize-was announced on Saturday night at the Moores Contemporary Art Gallery in Henry Street.

It is Titanium Man by Malcolm Peacock of Cheshire, United Kingdom. Titanium Man was the unanimous choice of the panel of three FIPP judges. Malcolm Peacock receives AU$8000 cash and trophy.

Peacock said about his photo ‘This Triathlete wanted a different type of action shot. “So we set up the photo shoot in his garden. We involved his mother, who took great delight in throwing buckets of water at him. The water was heated to start with but by the end of the shoot it was freezing cold!! Hence the intense expression on his face.”

Roel Loopers


Posted in bar, city of fremantle, food, hospitality, Uncategorized by freoview on October 10, 2019





More exciting news for Fremantle! Benny’s bar and cafe on the Cappuccino Strip is extending out into Paddy Troy Lane with an alfresco area that will be served by a bar in a seacontainer. Art by Row is working on a large mural.

Owner Ivan Dzeba told me they hope to open the new area before Christmas, so stay tuned.

Paddy Troy Lane could well become a great new hospitality offering for Fremantle with the development of the Manning building, the opportunity for the Newport Hotel to also open up the back, and the Federal Hotel already having extended its alfresco there.

There is also the Kebab cafe and Grumpy Sailor cafe, so Fremantle Council might like to consider developing the lane into a real asset with better lighting, planter boxes, seats and trees, and only allowing service vehicles in the lane before 11am and no private cars.

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, bathers beach, city of fremantle, culture, sculpture@bathers, Uncategorized by freoview on October 9, 2019



I have reported this previously a couple of monts ago, but it is getting closer to SCULPTURE AT BATHERS, so here the media release from the City of Fremantle.

The popular Sculpture at Bathers exhibition will return to Bathers Beach in February with support from the City of Fremantle.

The biennial exhibition, which commenced in 2013, will present over 90 works by emerging and recognised West Australian sculptors. 

Local artist and Sculpture at Bathers committee member Tony Pankiw has exhibited works in the two previous editions in 2015 and 2017. 

He said the exhibition was both a great opportunity for artists to showcase their creations and a chance for the public to enjoy sculpture in a dynamic coastal setting.

“This is really a great space for it, and all those artists that don’t get a chance to show very often can come down here and have a different experience in a really public space,” Mr Pankiw said.

“That’s the great part of it because it takes the art out of the studio, puts it into the open where it should be and brings so many people down to have a look.

“It’s a very expensive event to run so the sponsorship we receive from the City of Fremantle provides a significant boost and enables us to develop more opportunities. We can be extraordinary now.”

Mr Pankiw’s work ‘Ship of Stories’, which was created in collaboration with artist Sue Codee, was acquired by the City of Fremantle from the 2015 exhibition and is now a popular fixture at Arthur Head.

Another work that featured in the 2017 edition of Sculpture at Bathers, the magnificent bronze sculpture ‘Chimera’ by WA artist Sue Flavell, has been loaned to the City of Fremantle by a generous art collector and is now situated in Pioneer Park opposite the Fremantle Station.

The 2020 Sculpture at Bathers exhibition will feature sculptures on the beach, lining the timber boardwalks, along the winding paths and in the bushland below the limestone cliffs of Arthur Head. Smaller and more intimate works will also be display inside the historic galleries of Kidogo Arthouse.

Sculpture at Bathers will run from 15 February until 2 March 2020.

For more information visit the Sculpture at Bathers website.


Posted in art, city of fremantle, creative, culture, Uncategorized by freoview on October 3, 2019


I just received this message from SPACEMARKET who will be activating Fremantle’s historic Victoria Hall for at least two years.

Below an edited version of the message they sent out:

Exciting news — this week we’ve been handed the [space activation] keys for the next two-years to one of Fremantle’s most stunning buildings — the historic Victoria Hall on High Street! 

We propose to inject life back into this special building with workspaces for arts & cultural organisations, the re-opening of the tiny bar alongside, and the return of the hall to the community as an affordable venue and event space. This is an interim activation over the next two years, while the new Civic Centre is built in King’s Square. 

Within the building, we have office space for up to six cultural production and creative service businesses. We’ve got a particular focus on film and broadcasting – think production offices, rehearsal space, screenings, workshops and filming – but also music and performing arts, publishing and visual arts, and services such as advertising and marketing, architecture and design, creative software and digital content. Note, this building isn’t suitable for art studios, but we’re on the hunt for new maker spaces as I write this.  

As for the hall itself, it has capacity for up to 280 persons and we’d love the calendar to be bursting with every type of local event you can think of —meetings, fundraisers, school shows, performance, workshops, clothes sales, markets, music, weddings, club meets, dance classes, yoga classes — you name it. It’s going to take a mo to get the venue hire booking system up and running, but we’ll be back to you as soon as we’ve made the online hire process smooth and easy for you to use. 

In the meantime, if you’re a small film biz, design outfit, a production company, a not-for-profit org, an architecture firm, a dance school etc. and looking for a new home (in a stunning space right in the centre of Fremantle) please get in touch. Likewise, if you need a space for reoccurring meetings / get-togethers / rehearsals etc – let us schedule you in before we start booking in the one-off events. 

We’ll be taking expressions of interest throughout October, to apply please fill out an EOI form here and we will be back to you shortly. If you would like to look at booking the hall for a re-occurring event or for more info please email us at at or with VICTORIA HALL RENTAL as the subject line. 

Roel Loopers





The report today in the property pages of the West Australian about the new Pickle District art development in the west end of the City of Vincent made me think-again-about how inadequate the City of Fremantle’s concept for the Bathers Beach Art Precinct has been.

While Vincent is encouraging the organic growth of art and culture in the historic warehouses and factories in the Newcastle, Loftus and Charles Street precinct, Fremantle has been disrespectful to the long-established artists at J Shed and have tried to move them on by permitting a tavern and live music venue on the A Class reserve at historic Arthur’s Head. That was only stopped by the WAPC.

The City of Vincent shows that one needs creativity and confidence in artists to just let things happen and grow, with small infrastructure support from the council.

Fremantle Council unfortunately often wants to micro manage development and that has shown to be counter productive at Arthur’s Head because Council lacks good ideas for the area and the unwillingness to invest there.

And while the dedicated artists just want to keep creating Freo City can’t even provide the No 1 studio at J Shed with power, so stone sculptor Jina Lee can’t use power tools and start working on new sculptures. I did not hear that from her by the way as she dedicates all her energy to her art.

It is time for the City to sit down with some really creative people in Fremantle and come up with a good concept for an arts precinct, and ideally that should include lovely Slip Street in Fremantle Port.

Roel Loopers

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