Freo's View





The report today in the property pages of the West Australian about the new Pickle District art development in the west end of the City of Vincent made me think-again-about how inadequate the City of Fremantle’s concept for the Bathers Beach Art Precinct has been.

While Vincent is encouraging the organic growth of art and culture in the historic warehouses and factories in the Newcastle, Loftus and Charles Street precinct, Fremantle has been disrespectful to the long-established artists at J Shed and have tried to move them on by permitting a tavern and live music venue on the A Class reserve at historic Arthur’s Head. That was only stopped by the WAPC.

The City of Vincent shows that one needs creativity and confidence in artists to just let things happen and grow, with small infrastructure support from the council.

Fremantle Council unfortunately often wants to micro manage development and that has shown to be counter productive at Arthur’s Head because Council lacks good ideas for the area and the unwillingness to invest there.

And while the dedicated artists just want to keep creating Freo City can’t even provide the No 1 studio at J Shed with power, so stone sculptor Jina Lee can’t use power tools and start working on new sculptures. I did not hear that from her by the way as she dedicates all her energy to her art.

It is time for the City to sit down with some really creative people in Fremantle and come up with a good concept for an arts precinct, and ideally that should include lovely Slip Street in Fremantle Port.

Roel Loopers


Posted in aboriginal, arthur head, city of fremantle, culture, indigenous, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 25, 2019


The desire by Fremantle Council to build an Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Arthur’s Head is more a pipe dream than reality because the State Government wants the centre to be part of the East Perth power station development.

Treasurer Ben Wyatt prefers an Aboriginal arts and culture centre to be close to Perth, so one has to wonder why Fremantle Council insists on continuing with an expensive feasibility study when the only way the centre could be built here is with the financial backing of the state and federal governments. There is no way the City of Fremantle can afford to build the centre from ratepayers’ money only, so it’s either private sponsorship or government.

While the City is spending $ 50.000 on the feasibility study Arthur’s Head has been a total mess for nearly two years with large sections of it fenced off due to rock fall danger, so why not prioritise the stabilisation of one of our most popular tourist destinations first.

Roel Loopers



Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on September 21, 2019




High Street in Fremantle’s historic West End is my favourite street, as the beauty of the old Gold Rush Period architecture never disappoints.

Just before 7am this morning, on my way for coffee at Chalkys cafe, I took this reflection in the windows of the Roma Cucina.

Roel Loopers



Posted in BOOKS, city of fremantle, local government, reading, Uncategorized by freoview on September 2, 2019




The City of Fremantle Library celebrates 70 years of operation in September with an exciting line-up of community events.

The Fremantle Free Lending Library was opened on 5 September 1949 by state librarian Dr James Sykes Battye. Located at 13 South Terrace Fremantle – the cappuccino strip building today occupied by Dome café – the library was on the first floor. Its shelves contained 5000 books and became the first wholly rate–supported public library in Western Australia.

The library had nearly 25,000 members and saw more than 130,000 people walk through the doors last financial year. More than 50,000 people visited the library online, and while books are still the library’s major stock in trade, over 20 per cent of our loans are for digital content.

The library also plays a critical role in supporting community learning and social engagement, and had more than 12,000 people participate in  events and programs last financial year.

Fremantle Library also provides a meeting space for social clubs and start-up businesses, access to the latest technology including 3D printers and robotics.

Kicking off the library’s 70th anniversary event program is Fremantle – A Page Turner, an author panel talk welcoming Alan Carter, Craig Silvey, Amanda Curtin and Leigh Straw to the stage.

It will be held on 4 September at Fremantle Arts Centre, audiences will have the opportunity to get to know these authors who are behind some of Australia’s inspiring works and see how Fremantle has, and continues to, inspire and support literature and the arts.

The Library is also partnering with Fremantle Arts Centre to deliver a book sculpture exhibition, from 19 September–10 November, which takes discarded library books and turns them into vivid pieces of art.

A second author talk on 13 September will see Australia’s funniest and best loved writer for young people Morris Gleitzman pack out Fremantle Town Hall. Audiences will hear Morris talk about his life from being a writer of feature films and live stage material to being the wonderful children’s author everyone knows and loves.

Closing out the celebrations is the big 70th birthday bash at Fremantle Library on 26 September where the whole community is invited. There’ll be music, entertainment, games and, of course, a birthday cake.

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, dutch, family, fathers, fathers day, history, maritime, seafarers, Uncategorized by freoview on September 1, 2019


Shipwrecks 40th


HEY KIDS! Take your dad out to the Fremantle Shipwrecks Museum that is celebrating its 40th anniversary and teach dad a bit about the Dutch history of Western Australia.

There is part of the Batavia shipwreck in the gallery and even a ghostly skeleton.

It is a great museum with fantastic displays and just over the railway line from the Fishing Boat Harbour, so buy dad a fish&chips lunch after all that history.

Happy Fathers Day all you bonza dads out there!

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, history, maritime, museum, Uncategorized by freoview on August 28, 2019




Come and celebrate the WA Shipwrecks Museum’s 40th Birthday (1979-2019) at a special late night opening event on Friday 6 September.

The Museum will be brought alive for the night with a wonderful range of free entertainment throughout the historic, heritage listed Commissariat building.

Enjoy candlelit tours, roving musicians and performers, children’s giveaways, a series of short and highly interesting curatorial talks, and stay cosy with fire pits and food trucks on the lawn.

Everyone is welcome to this free event—come along and help mark this special occasion. Please RSVP via the website.

The WA Shipwrecks Museum is recognised as the foremost maritime archaeology museum in the southern hemisphere. And it is my favourite one in Fremantle!

Steeped in history, the galleries house hundreds of relics from ships wrecked along WA’s treacherous coastline, including the original timbers from the Batavia (wrecked in 1629), the de Vlamingh Dish, and also countless artefacts from the Dutch shipwrecks Zuytdorp, Zeewijk and Vergulde Draeck.



Posted in city of fremantle, maritime, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on August 7, 2019




Not much news in Fremantle so I went for a leisurely walk on this beautiful morning and noticed the group of visitors on the submarine at the Maritime Museum.

If you have not visited the Owen sub or Maritime Museum put it on your bucket list. Free entry on Tuesdays.

Did you know that Fremantle was the biggest submarine port in the southern hemisphere during WWII?

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 art, city of fremantle, culture, fremantle festival, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on July 16, 2019




FOGOTTEN by Genrefonix was on for the last few nights as part of the Fremantle Festival so I went to the Shipwrecks Museum on Tuesday evening to take some photos.

Kids love the fog and come to play in it without realising this is about the great sea storm of 1899 when the Carlisle Castle and the City of York ships sank in the devastating storm.

Check out the Fogotten Facebook page for more performances which include projections and music.

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, community, history, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 15, 2019


Sullivan Hall


Cute Sullivan Hall in White Gum Valley is 60 years old and organisers plan to celebrate its birthday on August 11 and 12 with cake stalls, singing, dancing the release of racing pigeons, and more.

To commemorate the history of the community hall organisers are keen to get hold of memorabilia, photos, stories, etc. to put on display.

Early residents of White Gum Valley were interviewed recently so that their stories can be included in the Fremantle Library history collection.

If you have anything to contribute please contact Brian Smith on 0419 191432 asap.

Roel Loopers


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