Freo's View

FREMANTLE CONSERVATION WORK GOING TO PLAN

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on May 10, 2017

 

Union Stores

 

Freo’s View reader Kel sent me some photos and complained about the condition of the historic Fremantle Unions Stores building on the corner of High and Henry streets, saying he feared the conservation work the City had conducted was not done properly and the same deterioration might happen to the Townhall.

I asked the Heritage Department of CoF for a detailed response and received this reassuring explanation:

UNION STORES
Since 2012 there has been an ongoing programme of works to conserve the Union Stores, to address various compliance issues and to upgrade services.
– 2013 – A safe roof access system was installed to allow for regular maintenance of the roof, gutters and air conditioning and also for undertaking conservation works in the following year.
– 2014 – Urgent structural repairs carried out to the parapets and gables. Parapets and gables conserved along with the deteriorated projecting flat surfaces of window sills, cornices and parapet copings. Street verandahs (reconstructed 1987) repaired and strengthened.
– 2015 – Electrical distribution board and fire systems upgraded and the rear verandah (1987) repaired and strengthened.
– 2016 – Ventilation of the basement improved to reduce damp and humidity to protect ground floor timbers and reduce problems with rising damp.

These works are part of the orderly process for the conservation and care of the City’s portfolio of heritage assets. The intention is to address building conservation in a manner that considers levels of urgency, economies of scale, correct sequence and good conservation practice. Many of these items of work will not be conspicuous but are vital to the conservation and long-term sustainability of these important heritage buildings for present and future generations.

Future works are planned to continue the conservation of the building facades once the moisture has evaporated from the walls and the damaging salts have migrated to the surface.

2014 Urgent Conservation Works
During 2012 and 2013 the poor condition of the rear of the parapets of the Union Stores was discovered and remedial works were planned for 2014. These parapets had become unstable due to the deterioration of the soft clay bricks – deterioration that had been exacerbated by well-meaning but inappropriate repairs in the 1980s as well as the painting of the building facades from the 1960s onwards.

Like the Fremantle Town Hall, damaging salts and moisture had seeped into the walls through hairline cracks and were trapped in the walls by cement render and plastic paints. The entrapped salts and moisture led to the deterioration of the soft clay bricks and lime mortar of the wall itself and caused embedded iron pins in decorative mouldings and structural bolts and plates to rust and expand causing cracking in the walls. To address this problem the paint and cement renders were removed to allow the walls to breathe and new repairs made use of breathable lime mortars, hydraulic lime renders and lime wash finishes.

However, the construction and condition of the Unions Stores was different to the Town Hall and required a different approach for its conservation. Removing the paint from the parapets was more difficult because the stucco surface was softer and in poorer condition. Also the early use of calcimine paint and lime wash on the building meant that although the walls could breathe well, not all of the pigment could be successfully removed.

The biggest difference however, was the volume of salt escaping from the walls. Almost immediately after the removal of paint and cement render from the parapets of the union stores large amounts of salt began to crystallise on the surface of the parapets. Within the same timeframe there was only a small amount of discolouration from salt at the Fremantle Town Hall. While the appearance of salt on the surface is good because it shows that the walls are healing themselves, when there is a large amount of salt it needs to be managed to minimise damage to the surface of the stucco. For this reason a sacrificial coating of lime wash was applied to the surface of the conserved areas so that the salt would crystallise on the lime wash causing it to decay rather than the stucco. The building was then left to gradually dry out expel the salts before any further works were undertaken.

Now in 2017 the salt crystals and some of the decayed lime wash has been washed off the Union Stores leaving the parapets looking somewhat patchy but in much better physical condition. This means that when further conservation works are undertaken in the future they will not be affected by salt damage.

We expect that the Fremantle Town Hall will suffer some deterioration from escaping salts as the walls breathe again but it will not be as significant as the Union Stores. Also, because the removal of paint from the stucco at the town hall was more successful, when there is some deterioration it will be less obvious as it will be the same colour as the surrounding stucco.

The Fremantle Townhall will officially be unveiled on Friday May 26 at 11.30 am at the start of the Heritage Festival. It looks absolutely stunning!

STUNNING TOWNHALL CONSERVATION WORK

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, conversation, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on May 3, 2017

Fremantle Townhall

 

Someone should get a heritage award for the stunning conservation work that has been done on the Fremantle Townhall.

The last details are being attended to before the entire building will be revealed at the start of Fremantle Heritage Week.

The buildings is now so delightfully beautiful and a real icon in our city.

If parts of it look patchy that is good, as it is a sign the building is now healing itself and getting rid of accumulated salt.

Well done everyone involved and a big thank you to the City of Fremantle heritage department!

Roel Loopers

FREO HISTORY FOR SALE

Posted in architecture, fremantle, heritage, housing, Uncategorized by freoview on May 3, 2017

 

The historic Warders Cottages next to the Fremantle Markets in the Henderson Street Mall still have not been sold and the Heritage Council hopes these six will be sold to one owner.

The Police and Court precinct, including the cottages next to it were sold to Freo developers Silverleaf.

The cottages that have been sold so far fetched on average $ 600,000.00  each.

They are very tiny and definitely not suitable for a small bar as the steps to the first floor are very steep and the rooms claustrophobically small.

I wonder though if the new security gate is really the best solution at these heritage buildings and if not something more suitable and sympathetic to the old style could have been installed. Pretty bad taste!

Roel Loopers

THE FEDERAL THREE WAYS

Posted in fremantle, hospitality, Uncategorized by freoview on April 29, 2017

f 3

 

Perspective and seeing things from different points of view is important to keep balance in life, so I took these Fremantle Federal Hotel three ways photos this morning.

The interesting fact about this is that it is a one-eyed view of the world through the camera’s viewfinder. ; >)

Roel Loopers

NO CITY SUPPORT FOR FREO TOURIST IKON

Posted in city of fremantle, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on April 28, 2017

Roundhouse

 

I am very disappointed and extremely annoyed to hear that Fremantle Council has yet again not budgeted to get power into the very popular Roundhouse tourists destination, so that the volunteer guides can move forward with their plans for new and modern displays.

It does not cost the City of Fremantle a cent to keep the Roundhouse open 363 days a year, as it is run by just 40 volunteers, who also open the historic building up after hours for weddings and event.

Fremantle Councillors constantly lament that they want to activate Arthur Head when the Roundhouse receives 130,000+ visitors a year, but they are not willing to support the tourism industry.

I am totally flabbergasted about that when Tourism WA keeps telling us that tourism is a huge growth industry.

It only needs $ 10,000 to run power into the cells for interactive displays, so that the guides can start to get the funding for the $ 200,000 project for which the professionally designed plans are ready.

I often criticise the lack of priorities at Fremantle Council that seems to always be able to find money for greeny projects, but when it comes to support one of the most visited tourist destinations in our city it just can’t be bothered.

No, let’s just donate another $ 14,000 for a tiny parklet in Wray Avenue that only a handful of people use, but stuff a volunteer organisation that looks after 130,000 tourists a year.  It’s pathetic and I am disgusted!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE TOWNHALL BACK TO FORMER GLORY

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage by freoview on March 29, 2017

 

How beautiful it is to see the Fremantle Townhall restored back to its old former glory. It looks magnificent!

Scaffolding is very slowly coming down and revealing more of the great conservation works daily, so walk down to Kings Square and have a look at it.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE PRISON MEMORIES

Posted in fremantle, fremantle prison by freoview on March 28, 2017

 

I used to walk past Fremantle Prison almost daily when I lived in Bellevue Terrace, but that is now many years ago, so when I had to go to a meeting in the old Drillhall late yesterday afternoon I went and had a look at the World Heritage listed building and took this photo.

Roel Loopers

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SUNSET EVENTS’ NEW PLANS FOR J SHED

Posted in arthur head, bathers beach, bathers beach art precinct, fremantle, heritage by freoview on March 27, 2017

Sunset Events is holding a public information session today at 5.30 about their new plans for the number one unit at J Shed at Fremantle’s historic Bathers Beach.

Sunset Events’ previous plans for an 850 patron tavern and 1,500 people outdoor music venue on the A-Class reserve were rejected by Fremantle Council, the W.A. Development Assessment panel and the State Administrative Tribunal, so it will be a tough task to get a smaller tavern approved as that use was deemed inappropriate for the reserve by the two state agencies.

The meeting is at the Drill Hall-former Fly by Night club- at Parry Street at 5.30 pm today, Monday March 27.

Roel Loopers

IMPRESSIVE FREMANTLE TOWNHALL CONSERVATION

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, kings square, local government by freoview on March 18, 2017

Scaffolding will gradually come down from next week on the Fremantle Townhall.

I was given an exterior tour of the conservation works on Friday by City of Fremantle heritage coordinator architect Alan Kelsall and heritage project officer Gena Binet and Zac of the building contractors and was very impressed with the very detailed and substantial work involved in the $ 3.1 million project.

The Townhall project is the largest conservation work the city has ever undertaken and was necessary because of the deterioration of the building due to paint that did not allow the building to breath and suffocated the building, hence salt and moisture had badly damaged large areas.

Don’t expect a brightly-painted building as it has been brought back to its original stucco look of 1887.

About the town hall restoration

Before current restorative works were undertaken it had been almost thirty years since the last major capital expenditure on the Fremantle Town Hall.

Since mid-2016 a large team of skilled stonemasons, plasterers, lead workers and slate roofers with specialist traditional skills have transformed the exterior of the town hall building using traditional building methods.

Key elements such as the roof cladding and drainage systems needed to be replaced urgently to protect the building from ongoing deterioration prevent the loss of culturally significant features and address concerns about public safety.

Gutters and downpipes were too small to cope with current extreme weather events and have led to ongoing damage to the interior of the building. These elements have all been enlarged.

There were also ongoing issues caused by inappropriate surface treatments and repairs to masonry elements carried out in the1950s–60s. At this time there was little understanding of best practice conservation which had unfortunately led to the ongoing deterioration of masonry, embedded steel and timbers and decorative stucco work in the town hall.

During the works, it was discovered some inaccessible parts of the building were in worse condition than expected and extra works were required. To prevent further deterioration of the building and to make use of scaffolding already in place for the current restoration works, it was more efficient and cost effective to complete these additional works now.

Roel Loopers

P.S. Stunning views from the top of the Townhall so I will post some scenic photos of Fremantle next week and have requested a rooftop bar and a granny flat for me to be included in the renovations.

SUNSET EVENTS TRIES AGAIN AT J SHED

Posted in bathers beach, city of fremantle, heritage, hospitality, j shed by freoview on March 6, 2017

I hear Sunset Events intends to take up their 25-year lease of the No 1 studio at J Shed from July 1 and build a reduced-capacity tavern for 400 patrons.

It also wants to cater for wedding functions with a large marquee on the grassed area in front of the J Shed art studios.

The concert organisers’ attempt at getting approval for an 850 patron tavern and 1,500 people live outdoor music venue was rejected last year by Fremantle Council, the WA Planning Committee and the State Administrative Tribunal.

If my memory is correct the state agencies rejected the tavern because it was deemed inappropriate for the A Class Reserve at Bathers Beach, and not because of the number of patrons.

I have no doubt that inner city residents and community and heritage groups will also fight this new proposal, and it will be interesting to see if Fremantle Council will support a smaller tavern in one of WA’s most significant historic areas where the first British settlers set up home.

Roel Loopers

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