Freo's View

ROUNDHOUSE CLOSED AGAIN ON SUNDAY

 

Roundhouse

 

It is an outrage that one of Fremantle’s most significant tourist destinations, the historic Roundhouse, is closed again today on Sunday, which is one of the busiest days of the week.

The weather is perfectly alright with some very dark clouds around but it is pleasantly warm and there are a lot of people wandering the streets.

The oldest public building in Western Australia was also closed last week on Friday, Saturday and Monday and that is not acceptable at all.

The Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides who manage the Roundhouse sent a statement to the Fremantle Herald that before every winter an assessment is made, but that is nonsense of Trumpian proportions.

Fact is that traditionally the Roundhouse was only closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day and open to the public every other day of the year. If the weather is too inclement the team on the day might decide to close an hour or so early, but never have volunteer guides turned up and decided not to open this historic jail at all.

It is not good enough and it is reassuring to know that the City of Fremantle  is finally showing some interest to manage the tourist destination more professionally.

The unscheduled closures could well jeopardise the grant application with Lotterywest for new interpretive displays in the Roundhouse, which is a superb project just waiting for funding.

When is the State Government going to show interest in historically significant Arthur’s Head and the Roundhouse?

Roel Loopers

 

FREMANTLE ROUNDHOUSE CLOSURE DISGRACE!

 

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The closure of the Fremantle Roundhouse today is the third day out of four the very popular tourist attraction has been closed to the public. It was closed on Friday and Saturday, supposedly due to bad weather, although the weather was in no way extreme and intolerable, and today the sign states that WA’s oldest public building is closed  due to a shortage of volunteers.

Fact is that the current president and some committee members of the volunteer group have been procrastinating instead of tackling the major issues of funding and volunteers.

I was a volunteer at the Roundhouse for nine years and loved talking with tourists from all over the world, but I resigned two weeks ago after a rude email from the president in reply to my email suggestions for improvements and changes. I was told that my emails to committee were a waste of energy and he reminded me I was not on committee, indicating I should just shut up.

It is now time for the City of Fremantle to immediately take over the management of the Roundhouse as this significant building has to be open to the public.  I am happy to get involved again under new more progressive and committed management.

A school group that arrived at 1.30pm today stood in front of the closed doors and that is very disappointing.

Roel Loopers

THE FREO ROUNDHOUSE EVEN ROUNDER

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 3, 2019

 

Roundhouse

 

I borrowed the round hand mirror from the Glen Cowans Photography Gallery yesterday to take this unusual photo of the Fremantle Roundhouse and High Street.

I always like the looking backward and forward of reflections, so here is another one for you.

It was very busy up on Arthur’s Head yesterday with a very large number of Asians visiting Fremantle, so we are very popular with our neighbour countries.

Roel Loopers

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CASHLESS DONATIONS AT FREO ROUNDHOUSE

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 2, 2019

 

Roundhouse cashless donations

 

Western Australia’s oldest remaining public building, the Fremantle Roundhouse, has embraced the cashless society by installing a card reader that will take $ 2.00 out of one’s account when one taps a credit or debit card when visiting the old jail.

Visitors often claim that they have no coins on them, or that they did put them all in parking meters, and disappointingly often visitors simply do not want to make a donation.

Of course coins and bank notes will still be gratefully accepted as well.

What most visitors do not know is that the donations are essential to keep the Roundhouse open to the public because the volunteer organisation does not get any financial support from the State and Local Governments, so they rely on the donations to buy uniforms, print brochures, etc.

It is now URGENT for Fremantle Council and the State Government to start financially supporting the Roundhouse if it wants the very popular historic tourism destination to remain an attraction in our city and state!

If there are any corporate organisations which would like to support the volunteers financially please give them a call.

Roel Loopers

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FREO ROUNDHOUSE DESERVES FEDERAL AND STATE FUNDING!

Posted in aboriginal, arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on January 29, 2019

 

 

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The complaints about the lack of funding for the Duyfken Replica Foundation, expressed today in the West Australian by Graeme Cocks, are shared by the Fremantle Roundhouse, Western Australia’s oldest public building.

Prime Minister Scott Morison has committed $ 6,7 million to let the Endeavour replica sail around Australia next year to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Captain’s Cook first journey to this continent, but Western Australia’s most significant historic building does not receive any annual Federal, State or City of Fremantle funding.

The Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides manage the tourism aspects of the Roundhouse and with just 30 volunteers open the historic jail 363 days a year and fire the cannon behind the building every day at 1pm, all just on meager donations from tourists.

Arthur’s Head, on which the Roundhouse stands, was vested in the City of Fremantle by the State Government, but with a small ratepayers’ base the City does not have the funds for the ongoing expensive maintenance of the area. Where is the State funding for that?!

The Roundhouse volunteers are in the process of getting all new modern interpretive historic displays, which will also tell the important Aboriginal story of the area, but the main funding of the estimated $ 200,000 project will have to come from Lotterywest, so we hope for the best as first indications have been promising.

As a Roundhouse volunteer myself I am asking why there is no yearly State and Federal funding and why the City of Fremantle does not spend more on this important tourist destination.

Why for example do Fremantle Ports not sponsor the Roundhouse when we fly their flag every day? Even paying for the explosives(Maroons) for the cannon would help, but that too has to be paid for from the few donations, and so do the summer and winter uniforms for the mainly senior guides, promotional leaflets, etc.

I find it unbelievable that such a significant historic building and tourist attraction does not receive support from our governments on an annual basis.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE ROUNDHOUSE GUIDES 20TH ANNIVERSAY

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, history, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized, volunteers by freoview on December 14, 2018

 

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RH 1

 

It’s lucky I had a very quiet start of the day volunteering at the Roundhouse yesterday, as I browsed through some of the information displays on the wall and discovered that the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides, who look after WA’s oldest public building, were established 20 years ago in 1998.

I am no doubt a bit biased, as one of the volunteers, but I still believe it is significant that a small group of mainly seniors for twenty years have opened the Roundhouse every day of the year, but for Good Friday and Christmas Day, for visitors from all over the world, and fire the cannon every day as well.

I have been volunteering for eight years now and loving it, but there are quite a few who have been there much longer. One of them is my good old mate Nan Jackson. I often tell visitors that Nan actually built the old jail. She is the one in the photo close up at the stocks

Happy anniversary FVHG and thank you to everyone who participated in the last two decades. It would not have been possible without you!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE PRISON LIGHTS UP AT NIGHT

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, fremantle prison, heritage, historic, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on November 21, 2018

 

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Christmas has started early at Fremantle Prison with the old entrance building now all lit up in different colours at night. It looks great!

Thank you to Ivan Dzeba from Benny’s bar&cafe for making me aware of it!

Roel Loopers

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FRANKENSTONE AT FREMANTLE ROUNDHOUSE

 

 

FRANKENSTONE will be an exciting global pop fundraiser at the Fremantle Roundhouse on November 30 and December 1, so make sure to book your tickets now!

2018 marks the 200th anniversary of ‘Frankenstein’ and the birth of science fiction. Celebrate this important date with the performers of Genrefonix at one of WAs most significant colonial landmarks.

Frankenstone is a live multimedia performance that will reanimate one of WAs most historic sites and reveal little-known connections between the ‘panopticon’ style former prison and Mary Shelleys gothic masterpiece.

Expect the unexpected, along with fresh Freo-Frankstein film sequences, rocking live music, chilling soundscapes, true facts and reimagined fiction, and much over the top theatrics!

The Roundhouse, WA’s oldest remaining public building, is a 12-sided panopticon prison and WA’s first permanent structure, will once again stand alone. Bare and ominous; a gothic lightning rod atop an outcrop of solid misery, drawing true romantics to unspoken secrets within its walls and inviting the stout of heart to contemplate frightening truths lying in long-lost dungeons below.

In the show Roundhouse architect Henry Reveley (1788-1875) is cast as key protagonist in a gothic tale so wild that only WA’s most infamous building could contain in it. Henry’s lifelong bonds with Mary Shelley, both emotional and intellectual, are exposed through a theatrical retelling of the recorded facts, revealing a contorted sketch of a dark, talented genius – presented, tongue in cheek, as WA’s own Dr Frankenstein……

Henry not only brought the spirit of Shelley’s “novel of ideas” with him from Europe to the Swan River Colony, he co-owned it. He drank from the deep reservoir of radical thinking that Mary’s circle had created through her influential father, mother, husband, friends and acquaintances. He lived, loved and worked in their vortex, his soul trapped, his actions untempered. Like Mary he too was stalked by family secrets, death, sadness and financial worries. Henry escaped however, to establish a remote outpost down under where his program of public works could conceal his true passion for natural philosophy and investigations into animal electricity.

Frankenstone’ presents an engaging patchwork of influential thinkers and historical figures, morbidly stitched together to deliver compelling conclusions for the true heritage of Western Australia. WA’s Netflix generation will be thoroughly comforted in the knowledge that a real gothic touchstone lies hidden in plain sight in Fremantle’s West End.

The show begins in the relative serenity and abundant hospitality of the Old Custom’s House Atrium, at 9 Phillimore Street Fremantle, before the audience is led up to the imposing Roundhouse to witness its many secrets unleashed through music and film. At the show’s dramatic conclusion audiences can once again seek refuge in the Atrium and raise a glass to our fallen romantic heroes and villains.

The event is a fundraiser written and produced by Genrefonix in partnership with the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides Association. All proceeds from ‘Frankenstone’ will go to the Fremantle Roundhouse to assist with developing special event resources to bring the venue to life once more.

Date: Friday 30 November and Saturday 1 December

Shows: 7.15pm and 8.30pm

Location: Meet at Old Customs House Atrium, 8 Phillimore Street Fremantle

Tickets: Eventbrite

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THE ROUNDHOUSE A VERY SPECIAL PLACE TO VOLUNTEER

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on July 3, 2018

 

Roundhouse school holidays

 

School holidays are a busy time for the Fremantle Roundhouse volunteer guides and it shows the dedication of the mainly seniors who come from wide and far to keep the Roundhouse open for visitors every day of the year.

Gino, who is pictured in the photo above, drives 45 minutes from Sorento to Arthur Head to provide his unique Italian charm. Other guides come from Darlington, Kelmscott and Rockingham to provide the invaluable tourist service. Without them the oldest public building in Western Australia might not have become the tourist attraction it is.

The Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides are in desperate need of more volunteers to do a day shift a week, or a fortnight. If you like to meet people from all over the world contact: enquiries@fremantleroundhouse.com.au

Roel Loopers

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ROUNDHOUSE VOLUNTEERS SUPPORT FREMANTLE’S TOURISM

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, Uncategorized by freoview on May 29, 2018

 

Nan at Roundhouse

 

This is Nan Jackson who today appeared in the Fremantle Gazette and in a Facebook promotional video. Nan has been a volunteer tourist guide at the Fremantle Roundhouse for ten years and deserves to be applauded during National Volunteer Week and the Fremantle Heritage Festival.

Around 150,000 overseas and interstate visitors yearly visit the old building at Arthur’s Head. Many school groups visit to find out about the history of the former jail, so the guides are being kept busy, and Nan’s knowledge about the history of Fremantle is amazing..

The Roundhouse was built by free settlers, not convicts, who came to establish the Swan River Colony in 1829, and because of excessive drunkenness, stealing and disorderly behaviour it was decided in 1830 to build the small eight cell jail, which opened in January 1831.

Every day at 1pm the cannon on the gun deck that overlooks Bathers Bay is being fired by a visitor, who receives a certificate, and the time ball above the deck is lowered. The guides who are in charge of firing the cannon need a dangerous goods and a pyrotechnic license, and that costs the not for profit organisation quite a bit of money

It is quite remarkable that fewer than 30 mainly senior volunteers keep the Roundhouse open every day, but for two, of the year. Only on Good Friday and Christmas Day is the museum closed. Volunteers come from as far away as Darlington, Joondalup, Kelmscott and Rockingham, which shows the real dedication and love for the job of talking one on one with people from all over the world.

The Roundhouse guides are often the first port of call for tourists in Fremantle, so they point them to other attractions, the best cafes, fish&chips, bars, concerts, events, etc. and also give them tips for their travels through WA and Australia.

The building is also used for wedding photography, and it has housed night concerts, functions, theatre plays, movies, art exhibitions and other events, etc.

It is a constant battle to keep the Roundhouse open because of the limited guide numbers, as it is difficult to find new volunteers willing to spend a day a week at the old building from 10am to 3.30pm. It is a very positive experience. Most visitors tell the guides how much they love Fremantle and its character heritage buildings.

The Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides would love to have more volunteers, so go and have a chat with them!

Roel Loopers

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