Freo's View


Posted in book, city of fremantle, convicts, fremantle prison, history, publishing, Uncategorized by freoview on April 24, 2019




I highly recommend the just released new book The Catalpa Rescue by famous Australian author Peter FitzSimons.

The very well written and easy to read book is about the historic escape from Fremantle Prison by Irish convicts, who took horse&cart to Rockingham where they boarded the whaling boat Catalpa that had been sent from the USA.

But the book is much more that only the escape, as it also explains The Rising, the rise of the Irish Brotherhood in Ireland and its USA equivalent the Fenian Brotherhood.

I love history and knew very little about the Irish uprising against the English and can’t wait to continue with the book, which I have only read the first 50 pages of so far. I am mesmerised already.

Go and buy it for $ 35.00 at New Edition in High Street! It is well worth it.

The story of the Fenians is also told at Fremantle Prison, so take the kids there!

Roel Loopers



“It is well beyond our capacity of funding” said Councillor Andrew Sullivan about the Council agenda item to do a $ 50.000 feasibility study for a Fremantle Aboriginal Cultural Centre at the preferred J Shed location at Bathers Beach.

And that is unfortunately the huge problem, because indications from the WA State Government are that they want to built the Aboriginal centre in Perth, ideally in Burswood, the electorate of Ben Wyatt, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and the Treasurer.

While I would absolutely love to have an Aboriginal Centre in Fremantle, and have been calling for it for many years, I believe it is unrealistic for the City of Fremantle to do a feasibility study before getting funding commitment from the State. Should we spend $ 50,000 of ratepayers money on what might only be a pipe dream that will never be realised because the State Government is so bloody Perth-centric?

If I were wealthy I would be very happy to donate my own money for an Aboriginal Centre in Freo because the story of our indigenous people needs to be told, and international tourists need to and want to have an Aboriginal experience.

Now how can we convince the Premier and Cabinet that Fremantle deserves another tourist attraction?

Roel Loopers




A team from Channel Seven-Today Tonight spent most of the morning in Fremantle to film a story about the neglect of historic Arthur’s Head and WAs oldest public building the Roundhouse.

They interviewed a structural engineer about stabilisation solutions for the rockfall problem and a Roundhouse tourguide about the historic significance of the area.

It will be screened tomorrow, Wednesday at 6.30pm so make sure to watch it, and hopefully WA State politicians will watch it as well and put their hands in their pockets and fund the essential maintenance and repairs as a priority.

Send an email to Heritage Minister David Templeman, Premier Mark McGowan, Tourism Minister Paul Papalia and Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk, and urge them to preserve one of Western Australia’s most significant historic precincts!

Roel Loopers


Posted in book, city of fremantle, fremantle prison, history, publishing, Uncategorized by freoview on April 15, 2019


Catalpa book


Famous Australian author Peter FitzSimons has written a new book and it is about the intriguing escape from Fremantle Prison by six Fenian prisoners in 1876.

The Catalpa Rescue tells the story of Fenians in the USA collecting money to buy the whaling boat Catalpa that then sailed to Rockingham to pick up the escapees. There is a great Wild Geese artwork on the Rockingham foreshore about it.

The book will be released on April 23, so make sure to get a copy as this is one of Freo’s great historic stories.

Roel Loopers






I rest my case about the WA State Government being Perth-centric. The West Australian today published an “exclusive” by Peter de Kruijff about the money needed to maintain the Fremantle Roundhouse and historic Arthur’s Head and that the City of Fremantle wants to do a feasibility study for the creation of an Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Bathers Beach.

But Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt hits that straight on the head by stating that an Aborigonal Cultural Centre should be as close to the centre of Perth as feasible. Why?

Fremantle was the first point of contact between the Whadjuk Noongar people and the British settlers and surely the second city in Western Australia deserves a new tourist attraction, when Perth got Elizabeth Quay, the new WA Museum, the Burswood Stadium, etc.

The question now is if Fremantle should be spending $ 50,000 on a feasibility study when it appears unlikely they will get financial support from the State Government, and two Aboriginal centres would probably not a good idea either.

I would love to see a significant Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Freo, but the City is financially not doing well at all, so should they spend $ 50,000 of ratepayers money for something that is unlikely to be built in Fremantle?

Roel Loopers





J Shed at Bathers Beach has come up as the preferred location for a new Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Fremantle, with the possibility of the relocation of J Shed and building a site specific centre at Manjaree(Arthur’s Head).

In November 2017 Council agreed to do a feasibility study for a dedicated Aboriginal centre in Fremantle and engage in extensive consultation with the Whadjuk Noongar people.

Three locations were considered; Pioneer Park, Victoria Quay and J Shed, and the latter came out as the preferred option.

The new centre would be celebrating Aboriginal history and Noongar culture with focus on tourism.

The J Shed location has been chosen due to its cultural significance, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage and walkable connection to key visitor points within Fremantle’s historic foreshore. The programming of the Cultural Centre would be developed around three spaces, being public, private and transitional. These spaces allows for cultural sensitivities through to outright public display/tourism. Although programming of the Cultural Centre is recognised as flexible there is a focus on ‘the keeping’ and ‘sharing’ of cultural knowledge including promotion and practising of the arts. This provides a solid framework from which the project can develop.

A conceptual agreed direction has been reached which followed the principles developed through the process. This is focused on providing appropriate space for multiple programs, including outdoor space. The Visioning Report takes into account economic as well as cultural sustainability issues with a strong focus on preservation and sharing of the knowledge and culture of the Traditional Owners.

The scope of such project demands funding from the State and Federal Governments as the total cost would be beyond the City’s capacity to fund, so a strategic approach is recommended to funding and partnerships for the construction and operation of the centre.

I am delighted that we are finally at this stage as I have been among many who have been shouting out for an Aboriginal centre in Fremantle, however I believe it needs to be a WA Aboriginal centre that tells the history of Yagan in the South West to Jandamara in the Kimberley.

It would also be essential for City officers and Councillors to do a study trip to look how and why other centres, such as Mowanjum, Warmun and Mangkaja work well, and even have a look at the excellent Visitor Centre at Karrinjini for reference.

It is important to make sure the centre is independently and professionally managed to avoid family feuding. While is should be a meeting place for local Noongars, it should also become a meeting place for all Fremantle people, Western Australians and overseas and interstate visitors. That will require a lot of money, so it needs to be a WA facility and not a Fremantle one. If it is not inclusive it will not be successful.

This is going to be a long-term project, but I am very hopeful that Fremantle will get funding and management support from the WA Labor Government and the Labor Federal Government after the May election.

The item is on the agenda of this Wednesday’s FPOL Committee.

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, community, multicultural, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on March 21, 2019


Harmony Day


It is HARMONY DAY today, so let’s make a start and make Australia that tolerant and change-embracing country again.

Let us all stop politicians from using race, religion and culture for fear mongering and political gain and tell them we are better than that.

We live in a peaceful multicultural society and should not fear new migrants or claim they take jobs away from those who have lived here longer.

The contributions migrants have made to Australia is enormous. The Ghan, Indian Pacific railway lines and other major projects would not have been built without the Afghan camel caravans. Muslims have lived in Australia peacefully since the 1830s!

We live in a good country full of freedom and opportunities and we should by now have enough self-esteem to no longer fear those who come from foreign countries. Hatred, racism and ignorance are the enemies, not different cultures and religions.

Today is a day to smile and look back at our achievements and how all of us together made Australia the great country it is!

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, community, history, immigration, multicultural, Uncategorized by freoview on March 13, 2019



The long-hair dude is me in 1982 and the short-hair one is me now, so just a bit of nostalgia and history

Today on March 13, 1982, 37 long years ago, I arrived as a new migrant in Sydney, after having lived as a migrant in Germany for 13 years as well.

My life has been an amazing adventure and I loved every city I lived in; first The Hague in the Netherlands, then Nuremberg in Germany, then Sydney and from September 1985 it was WA. Our first house in Como, the move to Swanbourne, and when I became single after twenty years I moved to Fremantle and discovered this is the place I really love.

I have seen many changes in my 25+ years in Freo, some good, some bad, but I fear I am running out of time to see an Aboriginal Cultural Centre purpose-built here, and new interpretive displays at the Roundhouse.

I am 70-years-old so I am worried that there might not be much time left for me and that I could not be here for the opening of the new Civic Centre, and to see if Fremantle Council’s decision about the Kings Square Redevelopment Project was the right one and created all the inner city activation so desperately needed.

Will urban infill kill Freo, as some critics claim, or will it help to create vitality and rejuvenation of a tired city? Will I ever find out?

Whatever the outcome and different opinions about it, I love good old Freo. It is a very special place that has so much to offer to so many people. It has given me a home where I have a very strong sense of belonging to a caring community with many great people. I feel blessed. Thank you all!

Roel Loopers




Posted in city of fremantle, local government, navy, Uncategorized by freoview on March 9, 2019




It is a bit wet in Fremantle this morning, but that of course did not deter the 220 crew of the HMAS Success to parade through the Cappuccino Strip where they were granted Entry to the City by Mayor Brad Pettitt and CEO Phil St John.

Senior Sergeant Brad Warburton, the officer in charge of the Fremantle police station, challenged the crew by standing in the centre of the road holding up his hand to stop them.

Entry to the city is a tradition that goes back to ancient Rome, where it was considered to be the highest honour a city could give a military unit.

The HMAS Success will be decommissioned at Garden Island in June this year after 33 years of service to the Australian Navy.

Roel Loopers



Posted in BOOKS, city of fremantle, culture, festival, heritage, history, Uncategorized by freoview on February 25, 2019

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Sunday was a bit of an epic day for me following The Moondyne Walk as part of the Fremantle Fenians Festival. It celebrated the great escape 150 years ago by John Boyle O’Reilly from Fremantle Prison to Rockingham where he and other escaped Fenians boarded the whaling ship Catalpa and sailed to Boston,USA.

Moondyne is probably the first novel ever written about Western Australia.

75 readers each read a part of the book in one of the 16 locations around Fremantle.

I started my day at 8 am the Fremantle Arts Centre and from there the Townhall, the moody Aardvark bar under the Norfolk Hotel, the Hougoumont hotel, B Shed, Maritime Museum, Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Roundhouse, Lionel Samson cellars and Kidogo Arthouse, where the festival finished with a concert with Lucky Oceans and many others, and where I finished my epic journey at 8pm.

What a fantastic way to celebrate Fremantle’s history with multicultural readers of the Moondyne book in some of our city’s great buildings.

Roel Loopers


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