Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, conversation, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on May 26, 2017


townhall 3



The Fremantle Heritage Festival starts today with the unveiling of the sublime conservation work of the Townhall at 11.30 am. All are welcome and a historic group photo will be taken, so come along!

In the 32 years I have been in the west I have never seen the Townhall look so splendid. It is now an eye-catching icon for visitors and locals to enjoy.

When in two years the Kings Square development has been finished our city square will be a modern showcase that embraces the beautiful Townhall.

The Heritage Festival program is extensive so get a printed copy at the library or Roundhouse, or check it on the City’s website and Facebook.

Great historic Freo photos at the relaunch of Old Fremantle, a book by Fremantle Society President John Dowson. They are on display at Kidogo Arthouse at Bathers Beach. Don’t miss it! Perfect coffee table book and good presents for all who love Fremantle and history.

Roel Loopers



Posted in book, crime, fremantle, reading, western australia, writing by freoview on August 2, 2016



Fremantle author and Notre Dame University lecturer Leigh Straw is launching her latest book at the Orient Hotel today at 6.30. The Worst Woman in Sydney: The life and crimes of Kate Leigh is a fascinating book about one of Sydney’s leading crime figures in the 1900s.

Kate Leigh was only 155 cm tall but a larger than life figure feared by many. Sydney newspapers would write about her often as she was involved in prostitution, drugs, sly grog etc. Hence she was considered by police as the worst woman in Sydney.

There is also a Fremantle connection in the Kate Leigh story as she married Fremantle criminal Shiner Ryan in 1950, but because neither of them were willing to move to another state the marriage only lasted six months.

Come and listen to Leigh Straw tonight when she tells more about her book. I hope her crime fiction books will also be available at the event organised by New Edition bookshop as one of them plays out in Fremantle with murders all over the West End.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on December 15, 2015

Congratulations to Fremantle author Joan London who was awarded the $ 80,000 2015 Prime Minister’s Literary Award in the fiction category for her novel The Golden Age. The book was also short-listed for the Miles Franklin.

It is a real honour that Fremantle has a few outstanding writers who receive national and international acclaim.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, committee for perth by freoview on September 10, 2015

There was an interesting Future Freo public forum by the Committee for Perth at Notre Dame University today with speakers UWA Professor Matthew Tonts, city development expert and author of Urbanism without Effort Chuck Wolfe of Seattle, COP chair Marion Fulker and Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt.

It is about the “diversity of thought” Fulker said and that is a good base to start from I believe.

Chuck Wolfe is an international speaker but I thought in some ways quite David Engwicht-like, although he did not use the words place making once in his presentation.

City building is acupuncture with lots of little pricks, small achievable projects and goals and the rediscovery of simplicity we were told, and that we need to create places of comfort and scale. That is very much what the Freo community would like to see happen. Even more Freo was Wolfe’s suggestion that we need to recall the historic patterns of our cities and that the fundamental relationships between humans and cities need to be addressed in our planning.

Brad Pettitt presented his thought on the Liveable Cities tour he did a few months ago and observed that they were about density done well, cities of short distances, and that cities should not be designed around cars. In the German city of Freiburg for example car use is only 35 cars per 100 inhabitants while in Perth it is 60/100 so substantially more.

Brad said that higher density is best done when accompanied by green spaces and that the new European suburbs had a diverse range of affordable housing for all ages. It was important to “Building on your uniqueness.”

Marion Fulker compared facts and perceptions and said that crime in Fremantle was about the same as everywhere else in the metro area. The problem with parking was not insufficient parking bays but the accessibility to them, she said. There was also no clear evidence that Fremantle’s environmental role was any more significant than that of other regions.

The education sector is a major employer in Fremantle she told us, and that young people and renters were more satisfied to live in Fremantle than people over 40 and property owners, but that 86% of residents are satisfied to live here.

UWA Professor Matthew Tonts told us there is a steady population growth in Fremantle but it is well below that of the Perth metro. We have a slowly ageing population, are a critical hub for import and export, and have a higher rising unemployment rate than Perth. Freo people are stayers Professor Tonts said with half of the population staying in the same location between 2006-11.

I came out of the forum wondering if over-planning cities harms the natural organic growth of them because we are in such a rush for change, and if we should not let progress evolve and let it simply happen because of inevitable change.

Fremantle is only 187 years old while European cities have often grown organically for centuries, and most have a real connection to the past and past culture. Freo’s latest building have little reference to our heritage and don’t connect with the past. They fill up spaces with density but not with culture and don’t look at all like “density done well’ the Freo Mayor talked about.

Roel Loopers

Facebook: ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.

Authorised and written by Roel Loopers. 5 Maxwell Street. Beaconsfield 6162.


Posted in fremantle, sally morgan by freoview on July 24, 2015

The Fremantle New Edition Bookshop and Sally Morgan have teamed up to help raise money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. New Edition has pledged to donate to the foundation a percentage of all books sold at the launch of Morgan’s new book Sister Heart.

Entry is free on August 5 at 6 pm but places are limited and must be reserved in advance by contacting or 9430 6331. Only those who RSVP will be allowed entry on the night.

A verse novel in hardcover, Sister Heart details the journey of a young girl taken from the far north of WA to an institution in the south, familial connection and the power of kinship.

Not long after I migrated to Australia I read Sally Morgan’s first book My Place and the sad reality of racism blew me away. I also read her second book Wanamurraganya, and later when she started painting and print making I bought one of her first prints, a B&W one of dancing women.

Indigenous literacy is extremely important to try to help reach a level playing field for our Aboriginal people, so pop into the New Edition Bookshop in a couple of weeks and stock up on Sally’s latest book. They’ll make great presents, so don’t just buy one for yourself.

Roel Loopers


Posted in book, fremantle, reading, writing by freoview on July 14, 2015


It’s not often we see a crime novel published that is set in Fremantle, so I was of course interested to find out about LIMESTONE by Leigh Straw. The story starts in Bar Orient in High Street and a murder in Mouat Street that turns out to be the third murder on women and the work of a possible serial killer. I won’t tell you more. Go buy the book!

Dr Leigh Straw is a lecturer at Notre Dame University in Australian history and Aboriginal studies and the book cover is the Round House. The book reads well and there is a sense of belonging reading about all the local places, even when finding dead bodies of women in our town is not very uplifting. But it’s fiction and Freo is a relatively safe place still.

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle, kim scott, notre dame university, writing by freoview on April 23, 2015

The University of Notre Dame Australia – Kim Scott – Public

The University of Notre Dame will host multiple Miles Franklin Literary Award winning Indigenous author, Kim Scott, to its Fremantle Campus for a public lecture about the background and inspiration behind his novel, That Deadman Dance.

The book explores the first contact between the Noongar people, European settlers and American whalers in a 19th century setting in the Great Southern Region of Western Australia.

It follows the story of young Noongar man, Bobby Wabalanginy, and decisions that lay before him which could have potentially affected not only the lives of his ancestors, but also the lives of his new-found settler friends in Australia.

That Deadman Dance won several awards in 2011, including the Miles Franklin Literary Award for the best Australian novel or play which portrays the beauty, challenges and characteristics of Australian life. It also collected the Premier’s Prize and the Best Fiction Book prize at the WA Premier’s Book Awards.

Event Details: Public Lecture – That Deadman Dance with WA author Kim Scott

Date: Tuesday 28 April 2015

Time: 5.30pm

Venue: St John of God Hall (ND 21, Room 102)
Henry Street, Fremantle
The University of Notre Dame Australia

RSVP: Please contact Madhu Mitra on +61 8 9433 0567 or email


Posted in art, fremantle, spare parts puppet theatre by freoview on April 7, 2015

spareparts 1



Fremantle Spare Parts Puppet Theatre presents its new production Moominpappa at Sea, an adaptation of celebrated Finnish author and illustrator Tove Jansson’s book, from April 4 to 18 for the school holidays.

Moominpappa at Sea follows a family of Moomintrolls who embark on a great adventure to find a new home. As the Moomins explore the mysterious surroundings of their new island home, we get a unique opportunity to see the world through the eyes of these inquisitive creatures and the adventure becomes a compelling journey of self-discovery for us all.

This timeless and delightful story is brought to life by the director and solo performer, Michael Barlow who draws you into the lives of these enchanting creatures as they face challenges with courage, humour and optimism.

Michael Barlow, Associate Director of Spare Parts, who worked with Creative Consultant Noriko Nishimoto to co-create the production, said he was thrilled to share the enchanting world of the Moomintrolls with Western Australian audiences. A highly skilled puppeteer, Barlow breathes life into the enchanting Moomin puppets, designed and constructed by Leon Hendroff and which are faithful to Tove Jansson’s original illustrations.

“The Moomins are exceptional characters and the puppets that have been created by Leon Hendroff are so engaging that it feels like there are many of us on stage. Combined with Lee Buddle’s new music score, Elliot Chambers’ lighting design and the creative collaboration of Noriko Nishimoto, the show is a complete and richly layered theatrical experience that all the family can share together.”

Moominpappa at Sea is the eighth novel in the legendary Moomin series. Jansson’s witty and whimsical Moomin characters have captured the imaginations of millions around the world, inspiring movies, TV shows and theme parks – as well as the naming of the asteroid, Moomintroll.



Posted in art, book, fremantle by freoview on March 23, 2015

nellie crawford

Fremantle artist Nellie Crawford has created a painting that incorporates the books of her favourite crime writer Alan Carter.

Fremantle resident Carter, who can often been seeing doing laps at the Leisure Centre, has just published his third book Bad Seed through Fremantle Press, after his previous books Getting Warmer and Prime Cut became a success.

Alan Carter was born in the UK and migrated to Australia in 1991 and works as a TV documentary director.

Roel Loopers



Posted in art, fremantle, wajipha chongwe by freoview on March 3, 2015

Wajipha exhibition poster

WAJIPHA CHONGWE is returning to Arthur Head with her show Women….like me, an exhibition of pastel and ink paintings and poetry, based on movement and voice, at the Greg James Gallery at J Shed.

Wajipha started the first new gallery-MUTIMA– at 11 Captain’s Lane when the Bathers Beach Art Precinct was established and the name continues as a band with her soon to be husband Freddy Poncin.

The opening is on March 6 at 6.30 with music by Mutima, Danny Pash and friends and a limited edition of prints and graphic poetry books will be for sale.

Roel Loopers


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