Freo's View



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There appears to be a peace agreement in the Fremantle yellow art war with former Mayor Peter Tagliaferri agreeing that the City of Fremantle remove the yellow foil and repair and repaint his building on the corner of Cliff and High streets.

I am not sure if Tagliaferri has withdrawn his $ 50,000 writ against the City but that seems logic.

The removal of the fantastic and highly popular Felice Varini Arcs D’Ellipse, which was installed for the 2017 Fremantle Festival, proved far more difficult than anticipated and forced Fremantle Council to increase the removal/repaint budget from $ 15,000 to $ 220,000, but I have been told the final cost will be much less than that.

The repainted buildings along High Street look better than they have in 20 years and the workers are now painting the entire facade of the building that houses the Roma restaurant and Blink cafe.

The City will also install four large planter boxes along High Street from Cliff Street to Chalkys cafe to hide the unattractive Notre Dame University carpark there. As a quirky reminder of the great Varini artwork and controversy removing it the boxes will have a yellow stripe on them. Great idea!

Roel Loopers



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I was a wee bit skeptical about the claims by Fremantle Society president John Dowson that the City of Fremantle did not want to take back to its original tuck pointing the building on the corner of High and Cliff streets that is at the centre point of the yellow art removal controversy, and Dowson’s assertion that tuck pointing the building would cost about the same as repainting the entire facade.

City of Fremantle Director of Infrastructure and Project Delivery Graham Tattersall says that many buildings in High Street have condition problems; for some, the multiple coats of paint over the years have taken its toll and in some instances this has also damaged the sub-strata.

Director Tattersall told me that in reality the cost of repairing and returning the building to its original tuck pointed style would be considerably more costly than that of the planned works related to the foil removal.

Tattersall said “The City is wholly supportive of owners electing to take this opportunity to contribute for further works to restore or further improve their buildings (where requested, we agree to contribute the value of the yellow foil works towards the cost of an owners revised scope) and would not decline requests of this nature.”

“A number of property owners have taken the opportunity to engage the City’s contractor to carry out additional work on their properties at their own expense, which has greatly improved the appearance of the street, but as these are privately owned buildings it’s up to the property owner to make that choice.”

I think it is important to clarify this and also point out that building owner, former Freo Mayor Peter Tagliaferri, has taken out a writ against the City for $ 50,000 and that this legal action is continuing.

I have been watching how very time-consuming it has been to remove the paint of the brick building in Pakenham Street that will became the home of the Fremantle Republic gin distillery and micro brewery, and hence wondered if the claims by the Fremantle Society that the cost of tuck pointing and painting were similar could be correct. The Freo City director says they are not.

Roel Loopers



yellow art


I am surprised to hear that the City of Fremantle did not want to entertain the idea of stripping back the entire paint of the building, owned by former Mayor Peter Tagliaferri, on the corner of Cliff and High streets to its original tuck pointing, as part of the removal of the yellow artwork.

Fremantle Society President John Dowson sent a comment to Freo’s View that FS had suggested to the former Mayor to do that and not repaint the facade, but that the City had rejected the idea. If that is a fact that is disappointing because architect Michael Patroni, the owner of 10 High Street diagonally opposite Tagliaferri’s building, will take that building back to its original tuck pointing.

The owners of the Fremantle Republic gin distillery, micro brewery and tavern in Pakenham Street received a State heritage grant to take the facade of that building back to its original tuck pointing, so I would have thought the City of Fremantle would have embraced the idea of the Fremantle Society and do the same with the Tagliaferri building.

The Society president claims they did get a quote for the tuck pointing work that was approximately the same as repainting the building, so cost don’t appear to be a factor.

Roel Loopers



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Fremantle is an intriguing place with a fascinating community. Many of us mainly see the beauty and the special unique character of our city, but when one reads Freo Massive one could believe we live in a war zone where everything is wrong, especially ‘those bloody hopeless Councillors and administration of the City of Fremantle’.

With that in mind, I was stunned to see the painting contractors for the City removing the yellow foil on the High Street building owned by former Mayor Peter Tagliaferri, since he has issued a writ against the City of Fremantle, and that legal battle is still ongoing.

The City tells me “The City in still in legal action with the property owner, however he has agreed to allow the City to undertake the removal work.” That  sounds to me as if the owner is having a bob each way.

It will always remain hypothetical if Tagliaferri would also have taken legal action if his preferred Mayoral candidate Ra Stewart had won the last election, but for now he alleges that the City allowed the yellow Felice Varini Arcs D’Ellipse  artwork to be applied to his building without his approval. The court will in due course rule on that and we’ll all know more.

Freo, great one day, a total bloody mess the next one, hey! 😩 😍 😆

High Street is looking better than ever though, and there are still quite a few buildings where the yellow foil needs to be removed before it becomes a total picture paradise.

Roel Loopers





There are a few rumours around town and on (anti)social media about the removal of the yellow foil of the Felice Varini artwork and the patching up and painting of the facades of the heritage-listed buildings along Fremantle’s historic High Street.

I wanted to find out first hand what is going on as claims were made about additional work costing the city a lot more money, etc. so I asked Graham Tattersall, Director of Infrastructure and Project Delivery of the City of Fremantle to clarify what is happening, so that we are all on the same page, as they say, and all white elephants are taken care of.

Here is what he emailed me:

“I can clarify that we received council approval to allocate a budget of $211K (for all removal works and associated tidy-up…inc buildings….and roofs, pavement, lampposts etc…).

Our (internal) measured pre-tender estimate for the building removal works was $130k. This included a 10% contingency for potential additional painting to ensure match-ups.

The tendered works for removal of Art-work (from the High St buildings) was ultimately won by BUDO; the agreed contract sum actually being $113k. There have been some minor variations to this figure (to ensure façade match-ups) but we are still well within our contingency allocation.

At this point I am confident that all works related to remove the yellow foil from buildings will be covered by the contract and contingency.

Some additional work to buildings on High Street is being carried out by BUDO under instruction from the owners (for example, numbers 8, 12 and 32 have opted for a full façade paint). In these cases, the City is funding the removal of the yellow paint and remediating paint work where the foil has been (as specified and tendered) and the owners are funding the rest.

We are also looking to refresh some of the City’s existing assets down High Street (painting of lampposts, tree pruning, relocation of benches to High Street, potted trees). However, this work will be covered by operational, maintenance budgets.”

I walk by the repair works a couple of times a day and am very impressed with the new look High Street, so I hope the work will all get done within budget and on time.

Roel Loopers




A lot of people have commented to me on how good Fremantle’s historic High Street is starting to look now that the City of Fremantle is in the process of removing the yellow foil of the Felice Varini Arcs D’Ellipse artwork and partly or totally paint the facades of the gorgeous buildings.

The building at 10 High Street still does have the yellow foil attached but that is because architect Michael Patroni, who owns the building, wants to take it all the way back to the original tuckpointed facade, and no worries, the City won’t pay for that.

It’s great to see heritage building beautified, but that does not mean I condone the mess  the city administration made out of the fantastic public artwork and not doing their homework about how to safely remove the foil. That should not have happened.

I hear that the City also wants to install more seating along High Street and that no doubt will be welcomed by tourists, locals and Notre Dame university students

Roel Loopers



Posted in architecture, art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on January 25, 2019


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I bumped into the owner of one of the apartments at 2 High Street and had a chat with him about the removal of the yellow foil of the Felice Varini Arcs D’Ellipse artwork. He said the owners of the building are very happy with the way the work has been done professionally by the BUDO group and are delighted about the result.

The owner, a former president of FICRA, also said that we should not forget that once affected buildings along historic High Street have been repainted the street will look better than ever before, and I believe he is absolutely right.

We can forever whinge that this should not have happened, but all the negativity will make no difference at all. Solutions have been found to deal with the problems, the Heritage Council is keeping an eye on the repairs, as are the City of Fremantle heritage experts, so by the time April arrives and the work has been done Freo’s most beautiful street will look even more stunning. I reckon that’s a win and good for tourism.

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on January 24, 2019


yellow art


The City of Fremantle has reacted to the ‘exclusive’ in the West Australian earlier this week about the removal issues with the yellow artwork along High Street, so I’ll publish that unedited below:

“The work program for the removal of the artwork and its timing were developed in consultation with the building owners. Works started on 2 January at the Round House end of High Street. Works to numbers 1, 2, 4a and 4 will be complete by 23 January. We will then move to number 6 and work our way up the north side of High Street and back down the other side. Work is currently programmed until mid-March.

A photographic/measured survey has been carried out on each building and the method being applied and area of the works was agreed with each owner prior to commencement. The remediation works not only address the areas that were covered by the yellow foil, but entire ‘panels’ of buildings, so that work does not appear as ‘patching’ but a more complete remediation to ensure an acceptable blended finish.

Step 1 is removal of the yellow foil. Foil is removed by abrasive action. This is similar to normal prep work which might be carried out prior to painting. The contractor is using a couple of different methods. For painted render, painted brickwork, timber frames and metal window bars, removal is through the use of a hand-held grinder fitted with a silicon carbide stripping disk. For more intricate areas such as tuck pointed brickwork and decorative scrolls, a hand-held scraper is used.

Step 2 is preparation. In addition to removing any small remaining pieces of foil (from step 1), the team are filling, carrying out minor repairs, scraping off loose paint, sanding and washing down the building. After that, if any additional cracks are uncovered as part of the wash-down they are also filled and sanded.

Step 3 is painting. Samples of the existing paintwork are taken and matched. A high quality paint is being used.

The approved budget for the removal of the artwork project is $211,000.

The majority of owners have been entirely happy with the process. Owners and tenants are being kept well informed. City officers are on-site daily to ensure works are progressing as agreed. As each building is completed, the City will meet with the owner to ensure they are satisfied with the work that has been done.

The contractor is doing an extremely good job and is very thorough. Officers will continue to actively engage with the contractor throughout the project and are very confident the project will provide a quality outcome. Officers also continue to liaise with representatives of the Heritage Council, who are happy with both the progress, the extent and the quality of the preparation and repainting works.

One property owner has initiated legal proceedings against the City, which the City will defend vigorously.

While the difficulties with removing the artwork – and the additional costs – are unfortunate, they should not overshadow the fact that the artwork was a great success which attracted thousands of people to the West End and contributed to their favourable impression of Fremantle.”


In fairness I need to add that former Fremantle Mayor Peter Tagliaferri claims that he did not give the City permission to use the building he owns at 7 High Street for the public artwork, so if Tagliaferri’s claim is correct the City trespassed and engaged in property vandalism, but the court will rule no doubt on that as well in due course.


Roel Loopers



Posted in architecture, art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on January 22, 2019



The integrity of the West Australian newspaper is on the line with yet again another claim of exclusivity when in fact the article reports absolutely nothing new.

It has been well known in Fremantle for months that former Mayor Peter Tagliaferri has taken a writ out against the City of Fremantle and wants $ 50,000 to repair and repaint the facade of his building on the corner of High and Cliff streets for the removal of the yellow foil of the Felice Varini artwork.

But that has not stopped the only daily newspaper in Perth from claiming today that the article is exclusive. Bull….!

In the meantime painters are working hard to remedy the damage and the first three buildings they have almost done look pretty good to a layman like me.

Roel Loopers




Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on January 10, 2019




The removal of the yellow foil and repainting of 2 High Street has been going very well by the look of it, so it is not all black and bleak reporting about the deconstruction of the Felice Varini artwork in Fremantle.

This is what it looked like around 4pm today.

Roel Loopers


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