I am delighted to see scaffolding up and work underway at two of Fremantle’s major heritage sites. At the Married Quarters cottages at Cantonment Hill one can already see some progress, while not much can be seen yet at the Warders Cottages in Henderson Street.
I don’t know what the truth is on the repair status of the Henderson Street cottages with workers telling people they are doing the whole lot, but people in the community saying it is just about repairing the walls and maybe roofs. The scaffolding looks pretty serious so let’s hope the government has found some more money to make substantial renovations there.
The Fremantle Workers Club in a prime inner city West End location in Henry Street has been sold but the club does not want to divulge who the new owner is until settlement has been reached.
Any new development in the West End of Fremantle has to be extremely sensitive to the important heritage of the area, so it will be interesting to see what the new owner wants to do with it.
It’s time to protest loud and clear that the state of disrepair of our heritage buildings is an unacceptable disgrace that shows little respect for Western Australia’s history. Tokenism is the word of the day when it comes to the care of heritage buildings with the State Government barely doing enough to keep the Warders Cottages in Fremantle standing.
Tomorrow-Thursday-morning East Fremantle and Fremantle Councillors and irate residents together with Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk will meet in front of Parliament House to meet the media at 9.10 am. Let’s make it a crowd and shout out loud that we care about our history and heritage!!
Fremantle MP Simone McGurk has started a petition to make sure the heritage-listed Royal George Hotel in East Fremantle is not handed over by State Government to private developers without the guarantee that the heritage of the building will be respected.
The old hotel in Duke street has been under the ‘care’ of the National Trust for many years, who have badly neglected the building whilst promising renovations and occupancy which never eventuated.
Heritage conservation in Western Australia is unacceptable and needs to be addressed by our political parties, because allowing the unique buildings to rot away and to eventually be demolished is unacceptable. History is the roots of our society and needs to be respected and cared for.
Contact Simone McGurk’s office on: Fremantle@mp.wa.gov.au or call by her office in Market Street to get copies of the petition.
It is interesting to note that the stabilisation work on the Fremantle Warders Cottages did not start with those closest to the Fremantle Markets, that are most in the eye of tourists.
The photo shot from the Queensgate carpark roof shows how significant these historic cottages are in the centre of Fremantle and how important it is to get them renovated and occupied as soon as possible.
Neglected heritage buildings in Western Australia are in the lime light again with State Government intending to sell off the Royal George Hotel in East Fremantle and the Warders Cottages in Fremantle.
There always appears to be enough money for anything else but when it comes to looking after our historic buildings the government dismally fails.
The National Trust has taken far too many buildings on and can’t get the funding to do up every building they have in their custodianship. It is quite hypocritical for the Trust’s CEO Tom Perrigo to express concern about the way the City of Fremantle is renovating the former Boys School at Princess May Park, when his own orgnisation is responsible for demolition by neglect situations.
Is private ownership or long-term leasing of heritage the only way out of the limbo or are there other options? It was suggested in a comment to this blog that the City of Fremantle should renovate and move staff to heritage buildings instead of building a new civic centre. Cost comparison would be interesting because heritage repairs are always much more expensive.
Sunset Events has committed to spending over a million dollars to renovate and move into the Artillery Drill Hall that was home of the Fly by Night Club for many years, money the National Trust obviously did not have, so that a good compromise as long as the renovations are done with respect for the history of the building.
Handing over heritage buildings to private developers is dangerous as they always push the envelope and want more than is allowed in planning and heritage schemes. With local and state governments keen to get things going the likelihood of compromise is a bit too tempting for my liking. Maybe crowd sourcing could create a substantial fund to upkeep our heritage?
The Fremantle Herald reports today that the W.A. government wants to sell the historic Royal George Hotel in Duke Street, East Fremantle, after the National Trust allowed it to fall into disrepair as it failed to find funding to repair it and get tenants for the heritage-listed building.
National Trust CEO Tom Perigo was alway a bit too over-confident that he would just have to ask and Lotterywest would give him the millions he needed to repair all the buildings the government agency took on, but reality was far different. I hear Perigo has now vacated the CEO job and has been appointed a consultant to the National Trust.
The George Street area is very gorgeous and the old hotel is a real feature there that deserves much better than the neglect and vandalism it has received. Time will tell if a private operator will look after the building well enough and make parts of it open to the public.
Dear City of Fremantle officers,
Tomorrow, Friday March 13-Black Friday!-SCULPTURE@BATHERS, Fremantle’s biggest art show starts at Bathers Beach. On Saturday the 14th the Captain’s Lane Fest will be on to promote the Bathers Beach Art Precinct. The City invested thousands of dollars to light up the Arthur Head cliff face, and BID invested to light up the heritage facades of High Street.
CAN SOMEBODY AT COF PLEASE TELL WILSON SECURITY THAT THE WHALERS TUNNEL GATES HAVE TO STAY OPEN TILL 10 PM AS A PERMANENT ARRANGEMENT, SO THAT PEOPLE CAN VIEW THE ARTWORKS, ENJOY THE FESTIVAL AND THE LIT-UP CLIFF FACE!!!! IT’S A TOURIST PRECINCT. DON’T CLOSE IT AT 7 PM!
It won’t be good enough to hear next week that someone stuffed up again.
Thanks you very much.
Scaffolding has finally gone up at the historic Warders Cottages next to Fremantle Markets. It will probably take many years but at least something is happening and someone is looking after the derelict buildings that have been an eyesore for years.
The Married Warders cottages at Cantonment Hill are now also been renovated so finally Freo’s heritage is getting some well-overdue attention.
I don’t swear often but last night at the artists-organised Captain’s Lane Summer Fest I said What the f… is wrong with the City of Fremantle?!
Here we had real activation of the Bathers Beach Art Precinct with open studios, an art market and live music, while down at beach level the Bathers Beach House and markets were packed full and Kidogo Arthouse had the underwater film festival, but at 7 pm the Whalers Tunnel, the natural connection between the events had been closed! This just two days after the City launched its Transformational Moves document that highlights the desire to activate and improve that area of the West End of Fremantle!
But that is not all! While every one of the Pilot’s Cottages was open and participated in the Arthur Head art fest, the City- managed and funded Walyalup Aboriginal Culture Centre was closed and dark, when this would have been the opportune occasion for them to highlight they are there, especially since there were many Nyoongar people at the fest.
The Centre is a dud, a clear sign of COF colonial tokenism to just give those black people their own centre in a totally inappropriate small cottage. It gets yearly funding that is less than the funding for the six-hour Wardarnji Aboriginal Festival during the Fremantle Festival! The Centre is so under financed that it is only open on weekday mornings till 1 pm and is not open at all on weekends and public holidays. What a whole load of crap! And don’t get me wrong. I lay absolutely no blame on Centre manager Brendan Moore who is a great guy and who tries his best with limited funding and support.
The early closure of the Whalers Tunnel is ridiculous in an area that is developing very well with many more people using the beach. The City of Fremantle spent tens of thousands of dollars on lighting up the cliff face of Arthur Head, but when one walks down High Street to get there one finds the tunnel closed after 7 pm. It stayed open previous years till 10 pm so why did the City change that?
The good concept of an arts precinct has been managed very badly by COF, with Captain’s Lane being a ghost town after dark and studios only required to be open from Thursday-Sunday 11am to 4 pm. Now homeless people sleep on the verandas and in the back yards and leave nice parcels of their defacations behind for the occupants to clean up.
What the City of Fremantle needs is someone who oversees what the different departments are doing. Most of us would ignorantly assume this is the job of the CEO, but it appears Graeme McKenzie has better things to do than making sure departments coordinate their actions and that those who close the Whalers Tunnel know that the tourist destination should stay open to attract visitors to the costly lit-up Arthur Head.
Fremantle does not need glossy Transformational Moves documents and media spin, but common sense, coordination and for some highly-paid officers to get off their arse and actually check out what goes on in the streets of this city!
The Captain’s Lane artists deserved much better support than just the BID funding they got last night. They are doing it again in a fortnight, so let’s hope that is enough time for the City of Fremantle to organise the permanent opening of the tunnel till 10 pm and participation by the Walyalup Aboriginal centre.