Freo's View

ROUNDHOUSE COMMITTEE REFUSES MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL

Posted in city of fremantle, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized, volunteers, western australia by freoview on July 9, 2019

 

In a stampede of dented egos the committee of the Fremantle Roundhouse volunteers have rejected the renewal of my membership, after I have been a member and volunteer tourist guide for nine years.

The letter I received today states that ‘In the interest of the FVHGA committee and its members we reject your application for renewal of membership.’

This is of course only sour grapes from a committee that did not like it that I reported here on Freo’s View the recent ad hoc and unacceptable closures-4 in 11 days!- of the Roundhouse.

Committee also did not like my suggestions for improvements and changes, but in a previous email last week, when they erroneously thought I had resigned as a member they said:

‘The FVHGA Committee and volunteer guides would like to thank you for the work you have done for the FVHGA and the Round House for many years.

You have been the instigator of many ideas and have achieved a lot.

We will treasure all your outstanding photography of the Round House and the committee work you have successfully undertaken.  Your work will be part of the long term history of the Round House.’

Because of my pro-active dedication to the volunteer organisation we received many thousands of dollars of sponsorship from Fremantle Ports for the firing of the 1pm cannon, and volunteers from the City of Fremantle Visitor Centre have now also started to try out at the Roundhouse after I suggested that when I addressed the Ordinary Council. I also made sure Fremantle Council pledged $ 20,000 for the new interpretive displays project, that is now finally going ahead after I started a sub-committee last year.

In the nine years I have volunteered at the Roundhouse I have been an excellent visitor guide for people from all over the world and primary and high school students.  I have also enabled private functions, festival events etc. as early as 7am in the morning and have been at the Roundhouse till late in the evening many times to accommodate concerts, theatre plays, festival events, smoking ceremonies, fundraisers, art exhibitions, fashion shows, film productions, etc.

I have also saved the FVHGA many hundreds of dollars by doing the photography they needed for promotional material.

It is irresponsible from the FVHGA committee to not renew my membership in a time where they are short of volunteers, especially those who have the permit to fire the cannon.

The WA Association Advisor advised that associations can not arbitrarily refuse to renew memberships, so the decision by the committee is illegal.

What a shame that egos are prioritised over what is best for the volunteer organisation. That shows a clear lack of professionalism.

Roel Loopers

ROUNDHOUSE CLOSED AGAIN ON SUNDAY

 

Roundhouse

 

It is an outrage that one of Fremantle’s most significant tourist destinations, the historic Roundhouse, is closed again today on Sunday, which is one of the busiest days of the week.

The weather is perfectly alright with some very dark clouds around but it is pleasantly warm and there are a lot of people wandering the streets.

The oldest public building in Western Australia was also closed last week on Friday, Saturday and Monday and that is not acceptable at all.

The Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides who manage the Roundhouse sent a statement to the Fremantle Herald that before every winter an assessment is made, but that is nonsense of Trumpian proportions.

Fact is that traditionally the Roundhouse was only closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day and open to the public every other day of the year. If the weather is too inclement the team on the day might decide to close an hour or so early, but never have volunteer guides turned up and decided not to open this historic jail at all.

It is not good enough and it is reassuring to know that the City of Fremantle  is finally showing some interest to manage the tourist destination more professionally.

The unscheduled closures could well jeopardise the grant application with Lotterywest for new interpretive displays in the Roundhouse, which is a superb project just waiting for funding.

When is the State Government going to show interest in historically significant Arthur’s Head and the Roundhouse?

Roel Loopers

 

FREMANTLE PORTS SPONSORS ROUNDHOUSE CANNON FIRE

 

cannon-fire

 

It is personally rewarding for me to see that my call for support for the Fremantle Roundhouse has not been just weeing in the wind, but that Fremantle Ports responded generously and are now official sponsors of the One O’Clock Cannon Fire at the Roundhouse.

That the Fremantle Ports sponsors WA’s oldest public building is special to me since I did 14 years of photography for the Ports, so I very much feel like being part of the crew there.

When I complained in a letter to the West Australian and on this Freo’s View blog a few months ago about lack of support for the Roundhouse Fremantle Ports contacted me and asked how they could support the Roundhouse heritage guides.

The gun deck overlooks the site of the first Fremantle port, the long jetty, and also the current port, so it is very much part of our maritime history.

The cannon was fired and the time ball lowered for the early mariners to adjust their clocks, so that the calculation of longitude would be precise. The Roundhouse volunteers fire the cannon 363 days of the year, unless inclement weather prevents it.

People can book the firing of the cannon on http://www.fremantleroundhouse.com.au and are given a certificate to show they were the honorary gunner of the day. I suggest we reprint the certificates with the Fremantle Ports logo on it.

As part of the Fremantle Ports sponsorship the Roundhouse volunteer guides will participate in this year’s Maritime Day on Victoria Quay. I’ll see you there!

I hope the State and Federal governments will now also financially assist with the Roundhouse maintenance and management and the much needed stabilisation of Arthur’s Head and the Whalers Tunnel.

Roel Loopers

 

FREO ROUNDHOUSE DESERVES FEDERAL AND STATE FUNDING!

Posted in aboriginal, arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on January 29, 2019

 

 

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The complaints about the lack of funding for the Duyfken Replica Foundation, expressed today in the West Australian by Graeme Cocks, are shared by the Fremantle Roundhouse, Western Australia’s oldest public building.

Prime Minister Scott Morison has committed $ 6,7 million to let the Endeavour replica sail around Australia next year to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Captain’s Cook first journey to this continent, but Western Australia’s most significant historic building does not receive any annual Federal, State or City of Fremantle funding.

The Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides manage the tourism aspects of the Roundhouse and with just 30 volunteers open the historic jail 363 days a year and fire the cannon behind the building every day at 1pm, all just on meager donations from tourists.

Arthur’s Head, on which the Roundhouse stands, was vested in the City of Fremantle by the State Government, but with a small ratepayers’ base the City does not have the funds for the ongoing expensive maintenance of the area. Where is the State funding for that?!

The Roundhouse volunteers are in the process of getting all new modern interpretive historic displays, which will also tell the important Aboriginal story of the area, but the main funding of the estimated $ 200,000 project will have to come from Lotterywest, so we hope for the best as first indications have been promising.

As a Roundhouse volunteer myself I am asking why there is no yearly State and Federal funding and why the City of Fremantle does not spend more on this important tourist destination.

Why for example do Fremantle Ports not sponsor the Roundhouse when we fly their flag every day? Even paying for the explosives(Maroons) for the cannon would help, but that too has to be paid for from the few donations, and so do the summer and winter uniforms for the mainly senior guides, promotional leaflets, etc.

I find it unbelievable that such a significant historic building and tourist attraction does not receive support from our governments on an annual basis.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE ROUNDHOUSE GUIDES 20TH ANNIVERSAY

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, history, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized, volunteers by freoview on December 14, 2018

 

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RH 2

RH 1

 

It’s lucky I had a very quiet start of the day volunteering at the Roundhouse yesterday, as I browsed through some of the information displays on the wall and discovered that the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides, who look after WA’s oldest public building, were established 20 years ago in 1998.

I am no doubt a bit biased, as one of the volunteers, but I still believe it is significant that a small group of mainly seniors for twenty years have opened the Roundhouse every day of the year, but for Good Friday and Christmas Day, for visitors from all over the world, and fire the cannon every day as well.

I have been volunteering for eight years now and loving it, but there are quite a few who have been there much longer. One of them is my good old mate Nan Jackson. I often tell visitors that Nan actually built the old jail. She is the one in the photo close up at the stocks

Happy anniversary FVHG and thank you to everyone who participated in the last two decades. It would not have been possible without you!

Roel Loopers

HERITAGE GUIDES MISREPRESENTED AT PLANNING COMMITTEE

Posted in arthur head, bathers beach, city of fremantle, heritage, j shed, roundhouse, Uncategorized by freoview on September 5, 2018

 

A disturbing fact turned up in the minutes of the most recent WA Statutory Planning Committee, that dealt with the application for a tavern at J Shed on Bathers Beach.

It is recorded in the minutes and clear that former Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides president Cheryl Greaves misrepresented herself to the state government committee as a spokesperson for the Roundhouse volunteer guides organisation, when she was not authorised to do so.

7.3 Proposed Change of Use to Tavern and Additions to Existing Building at Lot 2051 Fleet Street, Fremantle (J-Shed) (Item 8.5) Presenter: Ms Cheryl Greaves – Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides Association Ms Greaves made a presentation to members on behalf of the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides Association in support of the recommendation by the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage. Ms Greaves discussed the historic importance of the Arthur Heads Reserve and that it is a dedicated A Class reserve because of its heritage significance and that the nature and scale is not fit for the reserve and the application should be refused.

While the on-line minutes of the WASPC still have to be authorised at the next committee meeting I assume that they are correct.

Current Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides president Frank Duffy confirmed yesterday to me that Ms Greaves had asked for permission to speak on behalf of the volunteer organisation but that request had been refused.

Cheryl Greaves was a very controlling president of the Roundhouse volunteers group and a stickler for rules and regulations when she was in charge. Everything had to be done by the book, so it is astonishing that against the express directions of the present committee she decided to address the WASPC without the authority to do so.

No matter how passionate we all are about protecting Fremantle’s heritage and character, we can not walk around and claim to speak on behalf of an organisation and its members, when all we do is express a personal opinion. It is very bad form, unprofessional and not acceptable.

 

Roel Loopers

 

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ROUNDHOUSE VOLUNTEERS SUPPORT FREMANTLE’S TOURISM

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, Uncategorized by freoview on May 29, 2018

 

Nan at Roundhouse

 

This is Nan Jackson who today appeared in the Fremantle Gazette and in a Facebook promotional video. Nan has been a volunteer tourist guide at the Fremantle Roundhouse for ten years and deserves to be applauded during National Volunteer Week and the Fremantle Heritage Festival.

Around 150,000 overseas and interstate visitors yearly visit the old building at Arthur’s Head. Many school groups visit to find out about the history of the former jail, so the guides are being kept busy, and Nan’s knowledge about the history of Fremantle is amazing..

The Roundhouse was built by free settlers, not convicts, who came to establish the Swan River Colony in 1829, and because of excessive drunkenness, stealing and disorderly behaviour it was decided in 1830 to build the small eight cell jail, which opened in January 1831.

Every day at 1pm the cannon on the gun deck that overlooks Bathers Bay is being fired by a visitor, who receives a certificate, and the time ball above the deck is lowered. The guides who are in charge of firing the cannon need a dangerous goods and a pyrotechnic license, and that costs the not for profit organisation quite a bit of money

It is quite remarkable that fewer than 30 mainly senior volunteers keep the Roundhouse open every day, but for two, of the year. Only on Good Friday and Christmas Day is the museum closed. Volunteers come from as far away as Darlington, Joondalup, Kelmscott and Rockingham, which shows the real dedication and love for the job of talking one on one with people from all over the world.

The Roundhouse guides are often the first port of call for tourists in Fremantle, so they point them to other attractions, the best cafes, fish&chips, bars, concerts, events, etc. and also give them tips for their travels through WA and Australia.

The building is also used for wedding photography, and it has housed night concerts, functions, theatre plays, movies, art exhibitions and other events, etc.

It is a constant battle to keep the Roundhouse open because of the limited guide numbers, as it is difficult to find new volunteers willing to spend a day a week at the old building from 10am to 3.30pm. It is a very positive experience. Most visitors tell the guides how much they love Fremantle and its character heritage buildings.

The Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides would love to have more volunteers, so go and have a chat with them!

Roel Loopers

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ROUND HOUSE GUIDES 20TH ANNIVERSARY

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on March 23, 2018

 

 

The Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides, who look after WA’s oldest remaining public building the Roundhouse, are celebrating their 20th anniversary.

It is a remarkable effort and great service to the tourism industry that around forty mainly senior volunteers open the Roundhouse to the public every day of the year, rain or shine, and fire the cannon each day at 1pm. They only close on Good Friday and Christmas Day.

Guides come for their shift from as far as Darlington, Kelmscott, Joondalup and Rockingham and engage mainly on one on one basis with visitors, but also receive many large school group who get a tour.

I have been part of the FVHG for over seven years now and really love engaging with all the international and national visitors, who are 99.99% positive about Fremantle and WA.

FVHG are always looking for new volunteers willing to work for a day each week from 10am to 3.30pm so don’t stay at home and feel bored!

I took these photos while on duty yesterday. We had heaps of visitors from the Golden Princess cruise ship and others from all over the world, including six men from the port city of Gdansk in Poland.

FVHG are at the concept stage for new interpretative displays and it is going to cost a lot of money. We welcome sponsors very much so if you won Lotto on Thursday or win it tomorrow, just send us a big donation please! Thank you!!!

Roel Loopers

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DELIGHTFUL VOLUNTEERING AT ROUNDHOUSE

Posted in fremantle, roundhouse, tourism by freoview on February 18, 2016

What an absolutely brilliant, positive and interesting day we had at the Fremantle Roundhouse today! It is such a delight to talk with people from all over the world who all love Freo and have got nothing negative to say. Only a few might mention that it is expensive in WA.

Volunteering as tourguide at the state’s oldest public building really makes you appreciate people and how nice, funny and delightful most of them are.

We had school kids from the Manjimup area, groups from Malaysia and Brasil, many German, Dutch, French and Swiss people, and Chinese, Korean, Italian, Belgian, USA, Canadian, Japanese, Ukrainian, Kiwis, English, Scottish, Irish, Aussies from all over the country, and more from elsewhere.

If you are thinking of doing volunteer work, contact the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides and bring international positivity into your life!

Roel Loopers

MODERNISATION AT FREMANTLE ROUNDHOUSE

Posted in fremantle, heritage, roundhouse by freoview on September 1, 2015

The historic Fremantle Roundhouse is on the road to modernisation. The oldest public building in Western Australia has just embarked on an interpretive design project for new displays with a $ 17.440 grant from Lotterywest, supported with a grant of $ 5,000 from the City of Fremantle. The Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides who manage the building also put $ 5,000 of their money toward the process.

The new committee is keen to make the Roundhouse an even better experience for visitors and tourist guides and new office systems are being introduced for on-line bookings for schools, weddings and events.

We are contemplating introducing new uniforms, maybe some night-time openings in summer and improving our services to the tourist industry.

All guides at the Roundhouse are volunteers and we need some more, so if anyone is interested come and introduce yourself  to us. We are open every day of the week from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm.Training is provided. It is one of the most relaxing and positive days to do a shift at the old jail and talk to people from all over the world. I can highly recommend it!

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Truly Independent.

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