Freo's View

IS THERE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE WHALERS TUNNEL?

 

 

Vandals have caused more than $ 10,000 damage to the small solar lights along the coastal path at Bathers Beach between Kidogo Arthouse and J Shed since they were installed.

The City of Fremantle stopped repairing the lights over the last 18 months because of the constant and excessive vandalism, but officers have put a request to Council to include in next financial year’s budget replacement lights mounted on tall poles.

Such lights were proposed before by officers but deemed not in keeping with the heritage character of Arthur’s Head, but already two taller lights have been installed just south of J Shed in the vicinity of the former whaling station.

I took photos of the vandalism on Monday morning.

Roel Loopers

PRAGMATISM REQUIRED FOR FREMANTLE ABORIGINAL CENTRE

 

 

Fremantle Council minutes that deal with J Shed must be reaching biblical proportions when one considers how often the art shed at Bathers Beach comes before Council and Council committees.

It is on again this Wednesday at the FPOL Committee where officers recommend not to engage in new lease negotiations with the current artists there but continue the existing leases, with a 12 month termination-of-lease clause because of Council’s desire to built an Aboriginal cultural centre in that location.

Perth is well overdue for a WA Aboriginal centre and it should be in Fremantle, but it is highly premature to not extend the artists’ leases as it will be many years, if at all, when such a centre will be built at Bathers Beach.

A Western Australian Aboriginal centre is well beyond the scope of the City of Fremantle and should be a State facility; financed, curated and managed by the WA Government.

It will require extensive and very lengthy consultation with our indigenous people from Wyndham to Albany and Fremantle to Kalgoorlie and beyond, so that is going to take years.

Then there should be an architecture competition for a remarkable and outstanding building, plus detailed curatorial work that will require years of research with the support of the WA Museum, Bernd Museum, WA’s Aboriginal people, historians, art experts, etc.

Once the historical, cultural and art content has been agreed on the design of the displays will need to be dealt with, and that won’t be done overnight either.

It will be brilliant to have a stunning Aboriginal centre at Bathers Beach, as Manjaree/Arthur’s Head is where the first contact between the British colonists and local indigenous people took place. It is also the location of the Roundhouse, WAs oldest remaining public building, and the location from where many Aboriginal men and boys were transported from to the horrible Quod prison on Wadjemup/Rottnest Island.

And if this becomes a State project Fremantle’s feasibility study might be superfluous as the State will have to go through a process first of identifying preferred locations for the new centre and decide if it will actually be in Fremantle, or Elizabeth Quay, Burswood, or elsewhere. That is not going to happen  in just a few years, so why not give the J Shed artists at least a two-year lease that can be extended by 12 months from thereon. It’s the realistic and pragmatic course to take.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE ABORIGINAL CENTRE A GREAT IDEA

 

I reported about a purpose-built Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Fremantle before, but it is important to start the conversation here in Freo and with the State Government, so I copy and past the entire media release I just received:

Aboriginal Centre

 

The City of Fremantle is pushing for the state government to build a major new Indigenous Cultural Centre adjacent to the Round House at Fremantle’s Arthur Head.

The original plans for Elizabeth Quay in Perth included an iconic Indigenous Cultural Centre but to date those plans have not progressed.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said Fremantle was the obvious choice to be home to Western Australia’s pre-eminent showcase for Aboriginal art and culture.

“The Manjaree site around Arthur Head and Bathers Beach is of tremendous cultural significance to the local Whadjuk Nyoongar people,” Mayor Pettitt said.

“As an important crossing point of the Derbarl Yerrigan – the Swan River – it was a meeting place, a trading place, a ceremonial place and a spiritual place.

“It was also the site where the first British colonists landed in 1829, and where thousands of Aboriginal people from across Western Australia were locked up in the Round House before being shipped to the notorious prison on Wadjemup – Rottnest Island.

“It would be a powerful statement of reconciliation to have a world-class Indigenous Cultural Centre built in a place of such significance for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal history in WA.

“The WA Maritime Museum on Victoria Quay is a fantastic facility, but at the moment it’s isolated from other heritage attractions in Fremantle like the Shipwreck Museum and the Round House.

“An Indigenous Cultural Centre at Arthur Head would help make that connection between the Maritime Museum and Bathers Beach and give that whole area the critical mass it needs to be a major tourism drawcard.

“The underlying principle of the Cultural Centre will be to create a place for living culture, which will not only mean interactive experiences for tourists but also a meaningful place for all Aboriginal people.”

Fremantle Council recently endorsed the concept of establishing an Indigenous Cultural Centre of state and local significance in Fremantle, with a focus on tourism, Aboriginal culture and heritage and being a place to experience Aboriginal cultural practices.

The concept was outlined in a visioning report prepared in consultation with the Aboriginal community and other key stakeholders.

The council agreed Arthur Head was the preferred location, subject to further investigation and community consultation.

The existing J Shed building on the site could be used as a temporary facility before being relocated to make way for a new purpose-built centre.

The council will give consideration to an allocation of $50,000 as part of the 2019/20 budget process to prepare a detailed feasibility study and business case for the centre.

Roel Loopers

FREO’S ONE DAY EVENT NEEDS INVIGORATION

Posted in aboriginal, australia day, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 1, 2019

 

 

Some of the feedback given at the RAP Working Group about the One Day in Fremantle event and Smoking Ceremony is worth considering as both events lacked the same spark as the very first year the alternative Australia Day celebrations were held.

The first Smoking Ceremony on top of Manjaree/Arthur’s Head and in the Roundhouse was nothing short of powerful and inspirational, but the subsequent years it was watered down to a much smaller event with a lot less impact and next to the Kidogo Arthouse boardwalk at Bathers Beach.

The area is too small for all the people attending and the event is not significant enough anymore because only a small number of Aboriginal people conduct it, and none of them are women. It needs to get back to the powerful ceremony it was the first year of One Day in Fremantle.

There is also a disconnect between the Smoking Ceremony, which starts at 8am, and the One Day concert, which only starts in earnest at 5pm. There needs to be either more on offer between 10am and 5pm, or the Smoking Ceremony needs to be much later in the day.

While the symbolism of the Smoking Ceremony at Bathers Bay is important the connection to the One Day concert would be much more apparent if both events were held in the same location. Would Fremantle Oval be an option?

The lack of shade on the Esplanade forced people to hide under the trees, which gave the area a deserted impression when I arrived at 4.30pm this year, so shade structures need to be erected and there needs to be entertainment on the stage all day, not just from 5-7.30pm, because it lacked energy.

Some Aboriginal people at the RAP meeting on Monday believed that the One Day in Fremantle event is an Aboriginal event and they complained it had become too multicultural, but the alternative Australia Day entertainment was moved from January 26 out of respect for Aboriginal culture because many believe that Invasion Day should not be celebrated, but that does not mean the alternative day should not be about multiculturalism.

Important though to make visitors from outside Fremantle aware that it is the alternative Australia Day, although Fremantle Council no doubt does not want to make it too political and controversial. I am confident a good compromise can be found.

So a few adjustments are needed to improve the day. A more inclusive Smoking Ceremony in a better location, and more visual recognition during the concert of the Bibulmen, Whadjuk, Noongar culture and history would be a good outcome.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE BEST LOCATION FOR ABORIGINAL CENTRE

 

“It is well beyond our capacity of funding” said Councillor Andrew Sullivan about the Council agenda item to do a $ 50.000 feasibility study for a Fremantle Aboriginal Cultural Centre at the preferred J Shed location at Bathers Beach.

And that is unfortunately the huge problem, because indications from the WA State Government are that they want to built the Aboriginal centre in Perth, ideally in Burswood, the electorate of Ben Wyatt, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and the Treasurer.

While I would absolutely love to have an Aboriginal Centre in Fremantle, and have been calling for it for many years, I believe it is unrealistic for the City of Fremantle to do a feasibility study before getting funding commitment from the State. Should we spend $ 50,000 of ratepayers money on what might only be a pipe dream that will never be realised because the State Government is so bloody Perth-centric?

If I were wealthy I would be very happy to donate my own money for an Aboriginal Centre in Freo because the story of our indigenous people needs to be told, and international tourists need to and want to have an Aboriginal experience.

Now how can we convince the Premier and Cabinet that Fremantle deserves another tourist attraction?

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

 

STILL LIFE AT FREMANTLE’S BATHERS BEACH

 

water

 

There is always something different to photograph in photogenic Fremantle when one walks around and is observant.

I took this photo on the beach in front of the Bathers Beach House where Perth’ first and only beach alfresco location is.

Great views of the Indian Ocean, the arrival and departure of ships from Fremantle Port, and of course those gorgeous sunsets.

Roel Loopers

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COUNCIL SUPPORT FOR NEW FREMANTLE ABORIGINAL CENTRE

 

 

Plans for an Aboriginal cultural centre at J Shed were talked about in detail at last night’s FPOL Committee of Fremantle Council.

Although I first suggested we could keep J Shed and the cultural centre could be built on Victoria Quay, I quite agree  with Councillor Rachel Pemberton that Manjaree/Arthur’s Head is very significant, as it was the first point of contact between the British settlers/invaders and the Whadjuk Noongar people.

Pemberton said this would be an opportunity to make the precinct a place of healing where we could move forward together and share our cultures.

Councillor Andrew Sullivan said the officers’ report was amazing and much better than what Councillors had received previously. The area was important for all Aboriginal and local people, not just the Noongars and that a cultural centre should have the appropriate State level importance and not be a Freo City facility.

Sullivan also warned about rising sea levels that might impact on a new building at Bathers Beach and was skeptical about relocating J Shed-again.

Councillor Sam Wainwright said this was the right direction in consideration with the relationship Bathers Bay has with Wadjemup/Rottnest Island, while Councillor Doug Thompson called for further investigation and community consultation.

Councillor and FPOL Chair Hannah Fitzhardinge also pointed out the opportunities to collaborate with what is planned for Rottnest Island and that there should be a Walyalup Wadjemup dialogue about that. Great idea!

I wonder though if J Shed is going to be relocated, and that is still many years away, if the present artists there could not also relocate with the shed or be offered alternative studios in A Shed on Victoria Quay or elsewhere in Fremantle, instead of just letting them go, as their contribution to our city has been significant.

Roel Loopers

PS: The yellow circle in the photo is of an art studio for lease at Captain’s Lane.

 

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J SHED PREFERRED FOR ABORIGINAL CULTURAL CENTRE

 

 

J Shed at Bathers Beach has come up as the preferred location for a new Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Fremantle, with the possibility of the relocation of J Shed and building a site specific centre at Manjaree(Arthur’s Head).

In November 2017 Council agreed to do a feasibility study for a dedicated Aboriginal centre in Fremantle and engage in extensive consultation with the Whadjuk Noongar people.

Three locations were considered; Pioneer Park, Victoria Quay and J Shed, and the latter came out as the preferred option.

The new centre would be celebrating Aboriginal history and Noongar culture with focus on tourism.

The J Shed location has been chosen due to its cultural significance, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage and walkable connection to key visitor points within Fremantle’s historic foreshore. The programming of the Cultural Centre would be developed around three spaces, being public, private and transitional. These spaces allows for cultural sensitivities through to outright public display/tourism. Although programming of the Cultural Centre is recognised as flexible there is a focus on ‘the keeping’ and ‘sharing’ of cultural knowledge including promotion and practising of the arts. This provides a solid framework from which the project can develop.

A conceptual agreed direction has been reached which followed the principles developed through the process. This is focused on providing appropriate space for multiple programs, including outdoor space. The Visioning Report takes into account economic as well as cultural sustainability issues with a strong focus on preservation and sharing of the knowledge and culture of the Traditional Owners.

The scope of such project demands funding from the State and Federal Governments as the total cost would be beyond the City’s capacity to fund, so a strategic approach is recommended to funding and partnerships for the construction and operation of the centre.

I am delighted that we are finally at this stage as I have been among many who have been shouting out for an Aboriginal centre in Fremantle, however I believe it needs to be a WA Aboriginal centre that tells the history of Yagan in the South West to Jandamara in the Kimberley.

It would also be essential for City officers and Councillors to do a study trip to look how and why other centres, such as Mowanjum, Warmun and Mangkaja work well, and even have a look at the excellent Visitor Centre at Karrinjini for reference.

It is important to make sure the centre is independently and professionally managed to avoid family feuding. While is should be a meeting place for local Noongars, it should also become a meeting place for all Fremantle people, Western Australians and overseas and interstate visitors. That will require a lot of money, so it needs to be a WA facility and not a Fremantle one. If it is not inclusive it will not be successful.

This is going to be a long-term project, but I am very hopeful that Fremantle will get funding and management support from the WA Labor Government and the Labor Federal Government after the May election.

The item is on the agenda of this Wednesday’s FPOL Committee.

Roel Loopers

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HAVE YOUR SAY ABOUT FREO’S BEACH MANAGEMENT

Posted in beaches, city of fremantle, community, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on February 23, 2019

 

Planning to manage Fremantle’s coastline from the risk of erosion is about to enter a new phase.

The state government’s planning policies require local governments across the state to appropriately plan for coastal hazard risk management and adaptation.

During 2016 and 2017 the City of Fremantle – in partnership with the Town of Mosman Park and the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage – completed a Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaptation Planning (CHRMAP) process to assess the vulnerability of the coastline along Port, Leighton and Mosman beaches.

The CHRMAP process identified the Port Beach area, including Sandtrax Beach, was vulnerable to immediate and future coastal change.

The next step is for the City to investigate a range of risk management options for Port Beach and provide the community with a defined concept plan for managing coastal erosion.

Last year Fremantle were successful in obtaining a Coastal Adaptation and Protection grant from the Department of Transport, which has allowed the City, in conjunction with Fremantle Ports, to engage specialist consultants to investigate different risk management options.

Those options may include beach and dune nourishment – which basically means trucking in sand to replenish the beach, the relocation of beach infrastructure like the car parks and changing rooms, building groynes or seawalls or a combination of all of these things.

But it is not going to be easy or cheap, e.g. beach nourishment may maintain the amenity of the beach but it will be an ongoing and expensive exercise. Alternatively, a seawall will protect important coastal assets but may result in the loss of the beach from time to time.

That’s why Fremantle Council  need to hear from people who use the beach, to understand what they most value about the beach and what trade-offs they would be prepared to accept in coming up with suitable risk management measures.

As part of its community engagement the City has established a reference group with representatives from local and state government agencies and community groups including the Port Beach Polar Bears, Leighton Action Coalition, North Fremantle Precinct Group and Fremantle Surf Life Saving Club.

Community members can provide their feedback until Sunday 24 March 2019.

For more information about coastal adaptation planning for Port Beach and to have your say, visit the City of Fremantle’s My Say Freo website.

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