Freo's View

VANDALS SET FIRE AT FREO’S J SHED

Posted in art, arthur head, city of fremantle, crime, fire, j shed, Uncategorized, vandalism by freoview on July 18, 2019

 

J Shed fire

 

There was again serious vandalism at Fremantle’s Arthur’s Head last night with idiots setting fire to the northern wall of the J Shed art studios.

No major damage was done but the power had to be cut off for safety reasons. It is just lucky that the fire brigade arrived early as otherwise the entire shed and some very important artworks could have been destroyed.

Although vandalism is frequent in the area there are still no CCTV cameras in the historic precinct.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE’S OLD SHEDS

 

J Shed 1

E Shed in B Shed

C Shed in B Shed

 

The story of four old sheds in three photos. Late afternoon light created the J Shed art studios exterior, while the windows of the B Shed cafe offered great reflections of C Shed and the E Shed markets.

Yes indeed, This is Fremantle! 😎

Roel Loopers

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FREO’S WEST END LAKES DISTRICT

 

ah 1

ah 2

 

The wet weather is leaving its marks in Fremantle. It is impossible to get through the Whalers Tunnel because of a deep puddle on the west end of it, while the foot and bicycle paths on either side of Arthur’s Head also have huge puddles.

There is a sink hole starting to develop on the corner of High and Little High Street next to Chalkys cafe and there is a lake in front of J Shed.

It’s not a good look for visitors to our city.

In that context, what is the progress with the stabilisation works required at Arthur’s Head, City of Fremantle?

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE COMPETITIVE LEASING POLICY UNFAIR TO ESTABLISHED BUSINESSES.

Posted in art, arthur head, city of fremantle, local government, retail, shopping, traders, Uncategorized by freoview on June 11, 2019

 

Item 1906-1 on Wednesday’s FPOL Committee agenda of Fremantle Council raises interesting questions as to why the City of Fremantle has a ‘competitive manner leasing policy’ for its properties.

The item is about renewing the lease of the Fremantle Public Golf Course at Montreal Street and officers suggest that Councillors agree to an exemption of the competitive manner leasing policy because the Lessee has a proven record.

I believe it is pretty fair to extend the lease for the present Lessee but question why that does not apply to other Lessees or License Holders in Fremantle, such as the artists of the Bathers Beach Art Precinct.

It is not as if the competitive policy allows the City to get more money for its properties, because the City sets the rents, so it can only be about wanting change for no practical reasons.

Why does the City want established artists who have been professionally and successfully operating to engage in a competitive process, when there is no guarantee that new artists will be equally successful and able to pay the rent? There have been several failures at Arthur’s Head where at the end the City had to write off outstanding rent because it was not recoverable.

There are not many sculptors who still do traditional life-size bronze sculptures the way Greg James does at J Shed, so that should qualify as unique as well.

Jenny Dawson has run her ceramic art business successfully for twenty years at J Shed and pays full commercial rates to the city, which are determined by an outside consultant.

I have heard the argument from Councillors that if the artists pay commercial rates at Arthur’s Head it won’t be difficult for them to pay full rates elsewhere in Fremantle, but that is bollocks, and even more so for retail art galleries such at Glen Cowans and David Giles.

Establishing a small business is bloody hard work, and starting somewhere else all over again sets back a business by years, so it is time Fremantle Council reconsidered its competitive manner leasing policy because all it does is penalise successful established businesses, and that is very unfair.

Roel Loopers

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J SHED ARTISTS CREATE OWN SIGNS

 

j shed 3

 

The Fremantle J Shed artists at Bathers Beach have had enough of Council constantly talking about activating the historic precinct while they ignore their own placemaking advise of low hanging fruit of supporting and promoting existing businesses, instead of just pipe dreaming about the big projects for Arthur’s Head.

So the arty J Shed mob have started to put their own way finding signs around to make visitors aware there is creative light at the end of the Whalers Tunnel, and by the way, also a gorgeous beach.

Roel Loopers

LET’S GET REAL ABOUT WEST END ACTIVATION

I missed the Fremantle Council FPOL Committee meeting on Wednesday due to the Candidate Debate being at the same time, so could not observe myself what went on about Arthur’s Head.

What I hear is that that tired buzzword ‘activation’ was thrown around a lot and that Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt talked about a “Grand Vision” with substantial development, ideally in the form of a National Aboriginal Cultural Centre at the location where J Shed is at the moment.

The one major issue here is that such a building would probably cost $ 40-50 million, which Fremantle has not got, and staff cost and maintenance Fremantle cannot afford either, and…. the State Government wants to build the centre somewhere in Perth and Fremantle is not a preferred location unfortunately.

So should we risk $ 50,000 of ratepayers money on a feasibility study for an Aboriginal centre Fremantle can’t afford to build, manage and maintain, when there is hardly even a remote change that it would be approved and funded by the McGowan government?

Grand visions are great, but they need to be realistic and achievable if we are going to throw money at it.

Now let’s talk a bit about activation. First there was the idea for the Bathers Beach Art Precinct that was meant to activate the area, but did not, and galleries who tried it up on Arthur’s Head closed.  Only the Glen Cowans photograpy gallery established itself well. Now the residential cottages will become artist studios and that will do absolutely nothing to activate the area and attract more people there because the artist studios do not have to be open to the public.

Then Fremantle Council had the brilliant brain flash that a large tavern with an even larger live outdoor music venue would activate Arthur’s Head, against the wishes of the community. They proceeded anyway, to finally be told by the WA Planning Committee that it was inappropriate use of the area, after Sunset Events had wasted a lot of money and Council had managed to frustrate many Freo people. Who cares, we’ve got a grand vision!

To top it off Fremantle Council does not give a rat’s arse about the only place that actually activates Arthur’s Head 363 days a week, the Roundhouse. This major tourist attraction that gets 150,000 visitors a year has not received a single cent of Fremantle Council funding since I have been a volunteer there, which is nine years. But who cares about that tiny activation when one has a grand vision for the area. Maybe we should just demolish WA’s oldest public building and get on with an ever bigger grand vision of a twenty-story hotel on the site. Now that would activate the area.

If this is good governance, Mayor Brad Pettitt, Elected Members and Minister David Templeman than we might as well keep supporting unrealistic pipe dreams instead of supporting those who have put the hard yards in for twenty years without any help from the local, State and Federal governments. You have disrespectfully been taking the Roundhouse for granted for far too long!

You can’t see the activation of Arthur’s Head because you are blinded by your grand visions. Grow up! Mature! Inject some reality into your thought bubbles instead of talking nonsense.

Maintain Arthur’s Head better and make it more attractive. Support the Roundhouse volunteers financially and substantially, and market the old prison more and better. Get rid of the artist studios and offer tourism merchandise along Captain’s Lane, hold a monthly art&craft market on the A Class reserve at J Shed, include it in more festival events such at the Street Arts Festival, and PLEASE stop believing you need to build a monument to be remembered by. It’s not working.

Roel Loopers

 

PRAGMATISM REQUIRED FOR FREMANTLE ABORIGINAL CENTRE

 

 

Fremantle Council minutes that deal with J Shed must be reaching biblical proportions when one considers how often the art shed at Bathers Beach comes before Council and Council committees.

It is on again this Wednesday at the FPOL Committee where officers recommend not to engage in new lease negotiations with the current artists there but continue the existing leases, with a 12 month termination-of-lease clause because of Council’s desire to built an Aboriginal cultural centre in that location.

Perth is well overdue for a WA Aboriginal centre and it should be in Fremantle, but it is highly premature to not extend the artists’ leases as it will be many years, if at all, when such a centre will be built at Bathers Beach.

A Western Australian Aboriginal centre is well beyond the scope of the City of Fremantle and should be a State facility; financed, curated and managed by the WA Government.

It will require extensive and very lengthy consultation with our indigenous people from Wyndham to Albany and Fremantle to Kalgoorlie and beyond, so that is going to take years.

Then there should be an architecture competition for a remarkable and outstanding building, plus detailed curatorial work that will require years of research with the support of the WA Museum, Bernd Museum, WA’s Aboriginal people, historians, art experts, etc.

Once the historical, cultural and art content has been agreed on the design of the displays will need to be dealt with, and that won’t be done overnight either.

It will be brilliant to have a stunning Aboriginal centre at Bathers Beach, as Manjaree/Arthur’s Head is where the first contact between the British colonists and local indigenous people took place. It is also the location of the Roundhouse, WAs oldest remaining public building, and the location from where many Aboriginal men and boys were transported from to the horrible Quod prison on Wadjemup/Rottnest Island.

And if this becomes a State project Fremantle’s feasibility study might be superfluous as the State will have to go through a process first of identifying preferred locations for the new centre and decide if it will actually be in Fremantle, or Elizabeth Quay, Burswood, or elsewhere. That is not going to happen  in just a few years, so why not give the J Shed artists at least a two-year lease that can be extended by 12 months from thereon. It’s the realistic and pragmatic course to take.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE’S ARTY ARTHUR’S HEAD

Posted in art, arthur head, city of fremantle, j shed, photography, Uncategorized by freoview on April 17, 2019

 

J Shed

J Shed 2

 

Two arty photos I took this morning in Fremantle. The top one is new art by J Shed sculptor Greg James in front of the door to stone artist Jina Lee‘s studio there.

The bottom photo is of footprints in the Whalers Tunnel.

Roel Loopers

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COUNCIL SUPPORT FOR NEW FREMANTLE ABORIGINAL CENTRE

 

 

Plans for an Aboriginal cultural centre at J Shed were talked about in detail at last night’s FPOL Committee of Fremantle Council.

Although I first suggested we could keep J Shed and the cultural centre could be built on Victoria Quay, I quite agree  with Councillor Rachel Pemberton that Manjaree/Arthur’s Head is very significant, as it was the first point of contact between the British settlers/invaders and the Whadjuk Noongar people.

Pemberton said this would be an opportunity to make the precinct a place of healing where we could move forward together and share our cultures.

Councillor Andrew Sullivan said the officers’ report was amazing and much better than what Councillors had received previously. The area was important for all Aboriginal and local people, not just the Noongars and that a cultural centre should have the appropriate State level importance and not be a Freo City facility.

Sullivan also warned about rising sea levels that might impact on a new building at Bathers Beach and was skeptical about relocating J Shed-again.

Councillor Sam Wainwright said this was the right direction in consideration with the relationship Bathers Bay has with Wadjemup/Rottnest Island, while Councillor Doug Thompson called for further investigation and community consultation.

Councillor and FPOL Chair Hannah Fitzhardinge also pointed out the opportunities to collaborate with what is planned for Rottnest Island and that there should be a Walyalup Wadjemup dialogue about that. Great idea!

I wonder though if J Shed is going to be relocated, and that is still many years away, if the present artists there could not also relocate with the shed or be offered alternative studios in A Shed on Victoria Quay or elsewhere in Fremantle, instead of just letting them go, as their contribution to our city has been significant.

Roel Loopers

PS: The yellow circle in the photo is of an art studio for lease at Captain’s Lane.

 

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J SHED PREFERRED FOR ABORIGINAL CULTURAL CENTRE

 

 

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

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