Freo's View

CLEAN UP THE ARTHUR’S HEAD MESS!

 

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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

 

FREMANTLE PORTS’ DISGRACEFUL HERITAGE NEGLECT

 

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Every time I walk past A Shed on Victoria Quay I get-excuse the language- totally pissed off about the disgraceful state of disrepair and heritage neglect by Fremantle Ports.

Fremantle Ports is a WA state agency that makes millions of dollars of profit each year and they have an obligation to the community and our history to look after the heritage buildings under their care.

One might well ask if this is another one of those deliberate demolition by neglect attempts by the port authority because they want to develop Victoria Quay. They put out an EOI last year to lease the building, but why would anyone want to move into a building that has been so disgracefully neglected. Will we get to read an consultant engineer’s report soon that will claim the building is structurally unsafe and will need to be demolished?

Where is the Heritage Council and David Templeman, the Minister for Heritage, who seems to be going out of his way to avoid coming to Fremantle? Why is this allowed to happen?!

Roel Loopers

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FREO’S RENT A FENCE DOES NOT WIN TOURISM AWARD

 

 

It will not come as a surprise to the Fremantle community and overseas and interstate visitors that Freo’s Rent A Fence attraction at Arthur’s Head did not win a Tourism Award nor a Heritage Award.

Two years ago Fremantle Council decided to fence off large parts of historic Arthur’s Head because of danger of rockfall from the limestone cliff. It took a very long time before an engineer’s report was commissioned and that told us that there is interior erosion because of rain water and that repairs to the cliff on which Western Australia’s oldest public building the Roundhouse stands will cost approximately $ 1,8 million.

While the report recommended solutions it failed to test if vibrations from the heavy container trains that run within a few metres of the cliff face have any impact on the deterioration of the heritage precinct.

As I understand it the City invited the Minister for Mandurah, …err Heritage, David Templeman to do a site inspection but he could not be bothered, and so the ugly fences remain and absolutely nothing is done to repair the damage and make one of our state’s most significant historic areas an attraction again.

At present new solar lights are being installed along the coastal path but looking at fences is not a tourist attraction and does nothing to activate the West End of our gorgeous city.

It is a total disgrace that the Western Australian McGowan government does not care one bit about it!

Roel Loopers

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

URGENT CARE NEEDED FOR FREMANTLE ROUNDHOUSE

 

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While the possibility of a brand new Aboriginal cultural centre at Fremantle’s Arthur’s Head would be great the entire area needs a lot of TLC and large financial investment, as the officers’ report in the FPOL Committee agenda for this Wednesday shows.

As a volunteer at the Roundhouse and someone who visits Arthur’s Head daily I have found the neglect of the heritage precinct a disgrace and an insult to our history. If we do not respect the past we ignore our roots and that is not acceptable to me.

A few months ago I questioned in a letter to the West Australian and on Freo’s View why the Roundhouse, Western Australia’s oldest public building, does not receive annual funding from the State and Federal governments, and that extends to entire Arthur’s Head, because a city with a small ratepayers’ base like Fremantle simply does not have the money required to properly maintain the old building and limestone cliff area. That needs to change with urgency and priority!

Here some of what the FPOL agenda states:

The condition of the cliff faces and man-made walls at Arthur Head Reserve were found to range from poor to good. The recommended remediation for different areas varies from minor works such as removal of vegetation and repairs such as repointing of existing masonry walls through to major works including the extension of the Whaler’s Tunnel portal in areas where there is significant potential for collapse and risk of harm to visitors.

The condition of the limestone walls of the Round House has been deteriorating for some time. Major conservation and restoration work is required to maintain this important historical building.

Previous conservation and stabilisation works undertaken between 2001 and 2018 were completed in a piecemeal manner. Some of these works included shaving the cliff faces to address safety issues of rock fall did not consider or address the issue of erosion and only accelerated the retreating of the cliff face towards some significant heritage buildings.

The Round House which is recognised as being Western Australia’s oldest public building and is one of this State’s most significant heritage buildings is one of the biggest attractions in Fremantle with an estimated 100,000 persons per year visiting the building annually.

The last major conservation works of the Round House were undertaken in 2004. Since then small amount of maintenance works have been carried out each year under the City’s building maintenance budget.

Due to the exposed marine environment, vandalism and the well-intentioned but damaging repairs carried out during the twentieth century the building is now in need of some urgent conservation works. In particular, works are urgently required for the remediation and repair of the limestone walls.

Given the heritage significance of Arthur Head and its buildings, a long term solution to stop the erosion of the cliff faces and repair of the Round House walls is required to ensure that the assets in the Arthur Head Reserve survive for future generations to enjoy.

The pre-tender estimate completed in March 2019 which was developed from the completed designs and contract documentation indicates the total project cost for all remediation works to the cliff faces to be in the order of $1.8 million (Exc. GST).

The remediation works can be undertaken in stages which could be sequenced based on risk.

The conservation and remediation works to the Round House are estimated at between $500 000 and $1 000 000.

I am surprised that the officers put an estimation of 100,000 visitors for the Roundhouse as the exact visitors numbers are available. They are recorded each and every day by the team leader of the day, who has a clicker counter to record everyone who enters the Roundhouse and that comes to 140,000 -150,000 annually, which is well above the estimated number.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE HERITAGE CRANES ENDANGERED SPECIES

Posted in fremantle, fremantle ports, heritage, maritime, tourism, western australia by freoview on September 21, 2016

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I went to take some more photos of the demolition of the historic luffing crane on Victoria Quay this morning.

It’s a disappointing sight that is even more concerning when the excuse is that there is an identical crane next to the Maritime Museum, because a source at the museum tells me that the crane is a so-called State asset but the State does not supply the museum with funding to maintain it. This means we could hear the same story in a few years that for safety reasons the cranes at the Maritime Museum also have to be demolished.

I also hear the Maritime Museum suggested to Fremantle Ports to relocate the E Shed crane to a location near A Shed and the museum but that was rejected by Fremantle Ports.

I am sure this is all due to Fremantle Ports’ plans for the development of Victoria Quay and a hotel on the Challenger TAFE site near the South Mole.

When money talks heritage protection has no voice!

Roel Loopers

RESPECT FOR THE PAST CREATES A BETTER FUTURE

Posted in fremantle, fremantle ports, heritage, historic, maritime, state government, western australia by freoview on September 20, 2016

Maybe I am just a sentimental old fool but it makes me really sad to watch the demolition of the old luffing crane near the E Shed Markets on Victoria Quay in Fremantle.

It is outrageous that the crane was not offered for sale years ago when Fremantle Ports decided it was going to let it rot and not maintain it. The excuse that it now has to be demolished for safety reasons is rubbish. It could have been put in front of the Shipwreck Museum or at J Shed for example to add another attraction for tourists.

I am all for progress and have nothing against good change, but the disgraceful demolition by neglect in WA needs to stop, or we’ll soon see the old George Hotel in East Fremantle go down for “safety” reasons as well.

If we don’t respect our past we have no hope in hell creating a better future!

Roel Loopers

 

WESTBRIDGE PROPERTIES LOOKING AT ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL

Posted in fremantle, heritage, town of east fremantle by freoview on September 22, 2015
Heritage protection is a serious challenge and needs to be done with utmost care.

Heritage protection is a serious challenge and needs to be done with utmost care.

East Fremantle residents and heritage advocates have been worried about the demise of the old Royal George Hotel for many years, as there appears to be little action to remedy the decline and neglect of the building.

We now however have been informed that there is  a Working Group that includes State Heritage Office, the Town of East Fremantle and the National Trust to work with Westbridge Property Group towards a conditional purchase lease over the Royal George Hotel.

Westbridge is putting together a package of information that will be used to brief the Minister for Lands. The Working Group recently visited the site, local residents were told by the department.

The Westbridge Property Group combines Saracen Properties and Sirona Capital and the group is involved in the Quest Hotel development in Pakenham Street, Fremantle, Habitat Nth in North Perth, the Glass House in South Perth, Tenth&Beaufort in Inglewood, and properties in West Perth and Perth.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent. 

Written and authorised by Roel Loopers. 5 Maxwell Street. Beaconsfield 6162

THE GOOD AND BAD OF HERITAGE

Posted in development, fremantle, heritage by freoview on August 26, 2015

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It is a real shame how cavalier we sometimes treat our heritage. The beautiful George Hotel in East Fremantle is still vacant and neglected although we have been promised for years that it will be renovated and occupied. Graffiti tagging has started to reappear while next door the former Lauder&Howard building got its guts ripped out and only the heritage facade is still standing.

On a positive note it is good to see the renovations of the Married Quarters cottages at Cantonment Hill, the Warders cottages in the Henderson Street mall, the Boys School at Princess May Park and the facade painting of the Evan Davies building on the Cappuccino Strip, and work under way at Gino’s as well.

And the Manning building all along the High Street mall and Market and William Street looks absolutely magnificent again. Nice also to see new businesses moving into the mall in that building.

Along High Street in the West End several buildings are being renovated or get paint jobs done, so Fremantle’s recovery is well under way.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Truly independent

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WARDERS COTTAGES PROMO WASTE OF MONEY

Posted in fremantle, heritage by freoview on May 23, 2015

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No matter how bad our WA State’s finances are and the coffers near empty, there always is money to be wasted to promote the work government is doing, even when it is only the half-hearted and totally insufficient work at the Fremantle Warders Cottages. The State is spending just one million dollars on a project that requires more than $ 7 million to renovate and upgrade all the cottages, but it has not stopped them from putting a long sign on the fence telling us about the great heritage work they are performing. Yes Minister!

Roel Loopers

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