Freo's View


Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, heritage, history, local government, roundhouse, tourism by freoview on August 22, 2019


As the Fremantle Roundhouse volunteers embark on the biggest project ever with a $ 200,000 interpretive historic new display project it is urgent time for Fremantle Council to stop its arm’s length dealing with one of our most important tourist attractions and leaving it all to a small group of well-meaning amateurs.

While there is no issue with volunteers doing the day to day grind of opening the Roundhouse for visitors, the City should take over the management of the operations and be a very active part in the decisions of what the new displays will look like and what the historic content of it will be.

The Roundhouse is the oldest remaining public building in Western Australia and attracts around 150,000 visitors yearly, so it is a significant attraction for our city that needs to be managed professionally and by our local council.

The City of Fremantle has heritage experts who know more about the Roundhouse and Arthur’s Head than most people, so they should be involved dealing with the curator and designer instead of letting the volunteers make decisions on what will be a significant improvement of what the Roundhouse will offer tourists from all over the world, Australia, and local school groups.

Roel Loopers






I bumped into the City of Fremantle heritage officers and a lady from the Heritage Council this morning who were inspecting the repainted heritage facades along historic High Street, after the stunning Felice Varini yellow art work had created difficulties in removing it.

But out of a bad thing good things happened and other property owners, such as the Finishing Touch Gallery, also wanted to give the facades of their buildings a facelift, and the building next to the RSL club is now also getting a new coat of paint.

High Street has never looked better, so while the snowball effect has not been intentional it is certainly welcome!

Roel Loopers





The future of the heritage listed Royal George hotel in East Fremantle remains in doubt with owners Saracen Properties telling East Freo council that a seven-storey limit for the site is not financially viable for them to develop because they need a minimum plot ratio of 2:1 to make it work. Saracen had proposed a 21 storey residential tower behind the old hotel.

The Town of East Fremantle Council passed amendments last week with new restrictions for development and a maximum height of seven storeys.

It is great to hear though that Saracen has confirmed they will go ahead with the $ 6 million restoration of the beautiful building and will start with that next year.

W.A. Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has the final say in this, so let’s wait and see what the outcome will be.

Roel Loopers





Walking around Fremantle it is always good to see when building owners do maintenance or apply a new coat of paint on heritage buildings, as has been happening all along historic High Street, so nice that more scaffolding is going up for more beautification where the Record Finder shop used to be.

At the same time it is sad to see quite a few heritage buildings neglected, such as the former Terminus Hotel on the corner of Pakenham and Short streets.

At Kings Square the window cleaners have been abseiling for a few days on the new Sirona Capital buildings.

Roel Loopers



AH 1


Twenty two long months ago the City of Fremantle erected fences all around historic Arthur’s Head to protect the public from rock fall, but not much has been done since at one of Fremantle’s most popular tourists precincts.

An engineer’s report was tabled at a Council meeting with an estimated cost for stabilisation works of $ 1,8 million, but that report failed to monitor if the vibrations of the heavy container trains have any impact on the deterioration of the cliff face and the Roundhouse building.

I hear that heritage and local government minister David Templeman met with senior CoF officers and that he indicated the State Government was willing to help, but that the City would not get the $ 1,8 million needed. And another at least half a million dollars is required for the restoration of the Roundhouse walls.

There is no money in the budget for Arthur’s Head for this financial year, but for a small amount to install new lights along the dune path at Bathers Beach, so does that mean tourists and locals will just have to put up with the ugly fences for another year at least? It’s pathetic when one considers that Fremantle Council is constantly bleating about wanting to activate Arthur’s Head, but our Councillors are not walking the walk.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on August 2, 2019




Nice to see the facade of the historic Fremantle Manning building at Market Street being stripped off the paint and back to its former beauty.

I hear that owners Silverleaf Investments will paint the top ornaments to a colour that will better match the facade.

At the back of the building in Paddy Troy Lane a major development is happening to create a tavern, brewery and distillery.

Roel Loopers




I enjoy talking with architects, city planners and developers about Fremantle’s future and have found it educational and inspiring to have discussions with City of Fremantle heritage coordinator architect Alan Kelsall about how we should try to grow Fremantle.

Alan and I agree that in general the Fremantle community recognises that the need for regeneration of the city is necessary and that it is desirable if done well: if it is managed, planned and implemented in ways that reinforce and sustain the sense of Fremantle’s distinctiveness embodied in it, such as the rich mix of built heritage and unique urban character.

However, without broad, long-term public support and commitment to the planning vision for Fremantle it is unlikely to be successful. As a community we therefore need to have a clear understanding of what we mean when we try to articulate it. The ultimate outcome will set the standard for good design within Freo’s heritage areas and getting it right is essential to securing the future of our heritage buildings.

Let’s consider Fremantle’s history and what it means in the context of future growth of our city. Fremantle was developed as a port town and a centre of trade, and for most of its history it was prosperous and acknowledged as the second city in the metro area. That underscores the city’s distinct character and its rich heritage.

The prosperity of Fremantle encouraged the construction of its present heritage buildings. These developments were not simply utilitarian or profit based, but showed a desire to display a mix of business confidence and civic pride. That is probably why these buildings have a quality that people continue to find attractive, and why most people in our community believe it is worth conserving them, not only as memorial of the past but also as exemplars of successful, high quality architecture, urban design and city planning.

Fremantle had buildings with a strong association with the working port, but also buildings that provided a diverse mix of uses. These included schools, shops, places to work and socialise, etc. which people living in its densely populated catchment could reach on foot or by public transport. It is what we now consider to be an example of sustainable urban design.

Fremantle Port played a primary role in Freo’s success and its distinct character due to the facts that processing, storage and distribution of export and import commodities took place in buildings located near the harbour. It created the mutual interdependence between the port and the city that generated and sustained our port city character.

However this pattern of beneficial evolution changed in 1969 with the introduction of containerisation, which caused profound changes in Fremantle, not only because it changed the way in which ships were loaded and unloaded but also because storage and distribution of export and import commodities no longer took place near the harbour. These changes completely severed the earlier mutual supporting interdependencies between the harbour, city centre and surrounding residential suburbs. The changes impacted not only on shipping and its associated industries but also affected the commercial, retail, social and residential vitality of the city. In addition it caused deterioration of the quality of public areas and less appreciation of the worth of its heritage buildings.

It is obviously impossible, and probably not even desirable, to try to replicate the primary role played by the port in the past, but it is possible, through new higher density mixed-use development located between Victoria Quay and Kings Square, within reach of the railway station, to reproduce the type of mutually supporting interdependencies that used to exist between the port and the city centre. For this to be successful though it demands that development is guided by integrated strategic planning that is inspired, but not limited, by the past to create the conditions of genuine everyday activities, that should come as a result of more people living and working and enjoying social leisure time in all its diversity within the same area.

It is important to recognise that the role residential development on appropriate sites in the CBD can play is crucial to generating the vitality and resilience needed to cope with future problems and to adjust to changing circumstances. A fundamental benefit of regenerating and revitalising the area in this way is that it would promote positive change and would contribute to re-establishing Fremantle’s city centre as the heart of the community, which has already started with the Kings Square redevelopment project.

If Fremantle’s heritage is not managed carefully because it is considered to be too hard it will be at risk of being lost and with this its potential to enrich the city in ways that give a sense of distinctiveness, meaning and quality to the places in which people live and work, as well as the sense of destination that attracts people to Freo and makes them want to come and spend time in our city and thus contribute to secure its future.

It is a huge challenge to get it right, but with respectful dialogue between developers, city planners and the community we can all positively contribute to Fremantle’s progress and future.

Roel Loopers

A huge thank you to Alan Kelsall for his collaboration with constructing this article!





Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle oval, heritage, local government, sport, Uncategorized by freoview on July 30, 2019



I sincerely hope that the City of Fremantle will give Fremantle Oval a coat of paint soon and will not wait another 5-10 years until they might start the big redevelopment project for the precinct.

It is such an eyesore to look at the back of the pavilion with big patches of flaking paint and that opposite Fremantle’s most popular tourist destination the Fremantle Markets.

The Synagogue tavern development next door to the oval is well under way, so the City should be considerate to its neigbours and paint the back of the historic grand stand.

Roel Loopers





It is always a sad thing to see the beautiful Royal George hotel in East Fremantle so neglected and not knowing what the future of the heritage listed building will be.

Saracen Properties bought the hotel last year and came up with a beautiful restoration plan for the building, but to be able to do the costly restoration they also wanted to build a 21 storey apartment highrise behind the old building. That was refused and the Town of East Fremantle council has now approved a scheme amendment for the site that only allows a maximum of seven storeys, and that is apparently not enough and not financially viable for the developers to go ahead with the restorations.

So what will happen now? The building has been vacant and neglected for far too many years and while the Friends of Royal George were yelling and screaming against Saracen’s planning proposal they are not very vocal about the building remaining unused and not cared for.

Come on East Freo, urgent action should be taken!

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, Uncategorized by freoview on July 16, 2019


white house


A white coat of paint makes the High Street building of Fremantle architect Shane Braddock look so much better.

The bits of yellow art foil were finally removed and the entire facade painted white which is much better than the creamy colour it was. Great outcome!

Roel Loopers


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