Freo's View


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.


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


Posted in fremantle, heritage, retail, shopping by freoview on March 1, 2017


High Street in Fremantle’s historic West End is the most beautiful street in Western Australia in my opinion.

It is also a fantastic old-style high street shopping experience that has a sense of wonderment about it. If it had a roof over it it would be one of the world’s most stunning shopping arcades.

There is such a large variety of traders in the Goldrush period buildings that I thought to mention them all, because there are probably quite a few you don’t know about:

  • The National and Orient hotels, Lapa Brazilian restaurant, Roma Cucina Italian restaurant.
  • Chalkys, Blink, Hush, Breakers, High Street Dispensary, Piccolo, Cafe 55, Quinlans, and Common Grind cafes.
  • Japingka, Adam Monk, Artisan Store galleries.
  • New Edition and the Second Hand bookshops

and there is a whole lot more!

Clara Beauty, Remedy, Bousfield, Adulshop, the Police station, Notre Dame University, Enzo D’Allessandro hairdresser, Djurra, Ugg Australia shoes, Three Stories fashion, Common Ground fashion, Fremantle Beach and the Sundance backpackers, Printline, Bitches Brew framers, Unique Hair, Bodkins Bootery, Anjel MS fashion and Fremantle Art Space, Kartique. Ame Belle fashion, Port Stationary, Dreske Somoff leather, Tuart Place social services, Australian Maritime Officers Union, West Coast Cruise&Travel Centre, High Street Chemist, Haute on High fashion, Lee’s newsagency, Compendium, Ancient Earth, Lavita hairdresser, Finishing Touch gallery, Rialto Apartments, The Record Finder with two shops, Port Jarrah furniture, Absolutely Adult, the Buffalo and Navy clubs, ACAI Bros raw food, Brazilian Butterfly beauty, Miss Chats Bar.

You still want to argue there is no shopping variety in Fremantle? This is just one street full with it!

To top it all off Freo’s most gorgeous street ends at WA’s oldest public building the Roundhouse and the lovely Bathers Beach.

It is anyone’s guess why the City of Fremantle and BID don’t do more to promote High Street as a great shopping experience that has character, is very Freo, and very different from the sterile shopping boredom in the major centres.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle, fremantle prison, heritage by freoview on January 23, 2017

old prison fremantle


Fremantle Prison will be unlocked tomorrow, Tuesday January 24 from 2-6 pm to celebrate 25 years of being open to the public.

Get a FREE  sneak peek  inside the World Heritage listed old gaol that was built by convicts when the Swan River Colony became a penal colony for England in 1850.

Explore the large main cell block, check out the art exhibition and have a cold drink in the cafe.

Roel Loopers



Posted in art, fremantle, heritage by freoview on January 16, 2017

There are new art studios in Fremantle in the old police station in Henderson Street. Some already rented by artists who will have to leave Many 6160 at Kings Square once the development of the civic square starts mid year.

TRIPLE ZERO is not an emergency but the creative name of the new art complex that is owned by Fremantle development company Silverleaf, which bought the Henderson Street courthouse and police complex last year.

Roel Loopers



Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, tourism by freoview on December 29, 2016




Historic Fremantle Roundhouse, the oldest public building in Western Australia, is extremely popular with visitors from all over the world this week.

By 1.30 pm today, so after only three hours of being open, we already had over 900 visitors through the door. Yesterday they had well over 900 visitors and the day before just under 1,000 visitors.

Over 100 people watched the firing of the cannon today.

It is an amazing effort by the mainly elderly volunteer tour guides to keep the Roundhouse open every day of the year but for Christmas day and Good Friday.

Next year the Roundhouse will be part of the Fringe Festival with performances in the old gaol, so stay tuned.

The volunteer tour guides operate on donations from guests only so if there are corporate sponsors out there which would like to donate, don’t be shy and contact the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides!

Roel Loopers


Posted in bathers beach, bathers beach house, city of fremantle, hospitality, local government by freoview on December 23, 2016



While there is public and political outrage about the proposed privatisation of Fremantle Port and Western Power the privatisation of Fremantle’s historic Bathers Beach is well under way.

The Bathers Beach House became the first hospitality venue in Australia that is allowed to sell alcohol on the beach, but today they simply extended the beach chair bar with tables and umbrellas for alfresco dining on the sand. That is not on!

How many events and functions will this hospitality operator now hold on our public beach and will they simply extend the alfresco area onto the beach during busy periods. Who then could stop Kidogo Arthouse/Kelp Bar from doing the same?

Who at the City of Fremantle signed the permission for BBH to set up tables on the beach? What are they charged for using OUR beach?

Roel Loopers




Posted in architecture, art, city of fremantle, development, heritage by freoview on December 19, 2016



It was about three years ago I think that I addressed Fremantle Council on behalf of the Fremantle Society and objected to the proposed additional height for the Quest hotel development on the corner of Pakenham and Short streets.

When the agenda item was debated the then Director of Planning Phil StJohn specifically addressed the issues I had raised and convinced me that by granting discretionary extra height the interior heritage identity of the building would be best preserved.

Having had a look inside the just opened serviced apartment hotel I now believe I got sucked in with empty promises, as there is little evidence of heritage preservation inside the building.

The foyer is modern and bland and has no reference to heritage that I could see, while the courtyard has a few of the old metal pillars reinstated, after the building was gutted for the development, but it shows nothing of the former warehouse character.

The huge glass entrance door and the oversized Quest sign in Pakenham Street are also disrespectful of the heritage building.

The ‘Manning’s Folly’ blue artwork on the facade is out of character and the wrong colour for the building. The concept behind the work is irrelevant when it does not compliment the rest of the building.

Is this the best we can do when we talk about heritage preservation, and what again what the reason for the additional-and inappropriate!-height allowance?

Roel Loopers


Posted in christmas, fremantle, heritage, roundhouse, tourism by freoview on December 16, 2016


It is all Ho Ho Ho at the historic Fremantle Roundhouse today with volunteer guide Ken dressing up as Father Christmas while guides Phil, Frank, Robert, Steve and James dressed up as Santa’s not so little helpers.

By the way, Ken drives all the way from Darling Downs every Friday to be a tourist guide at the Roundhouse!

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, city of fremantle by freoview on December 8, 2016



The iconic North Fremantle dingo at the former Dingo Flour Mill is back at Stirling Highway but painters are still working on it.

Nice to see a young man taking time lapse photos for days to show the progress of the work. A big commitment to sit there day after day and take a photo every 30 seconds. Maybe the City of Fremantle can purchase the final work to reward the man’s dedication to recording it?

Roel Loopers


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