Freo's View


Posted in art, city of fremantle, j shed, Uncategorized by freoview on August 12, 2017


Jenny Dawson ceramic classes


Jenny Dawson, one of Western Australia’s best ceramic artists is holding workshops at her J Shed studio at Bathers Beach in Fremantle later this month.

Learn how to design and make your own ceramic wall piece.

Classes are on Thursday August 29 from 2pm to 4.30 pm, Thursday August 31 at the same time, and also on Sunday September 10 from 2-4.30 pm.

Jenny is very well known for her public artworks, such as the one at the water playground at Perth’ Elizabeth Quay.

I don’t know what the workshops cost, so contact Jenny Dawson on 0417 911 078 or email


Roel Loopers




Posted in aboriginal, art, elizabeth quay, fremantle, western australia by freoview on February 4, 2017



It is always good to hear that Fremantle artists are involved in major public art projects so I went to Elizabeth Quay in Perth on Friday to have a look at the water playground designed by Aboriginal artist Sandra Hill with the ceramic work done by Freo J Shed artist Jenny Dawson.

They were testing the water again when I was there at 10 am so no kids enjoying the water spouts.

Roel Loopers



Posted in art, fremantle, western australia by freoview on April 13, 2016

gallery 1


Fremantle has a new small art gallery which will only sell the work of local artists. Galleria d’arte West &nd is at 38A Marine Terrace, close to the Esplanade Hotel and will officially open on April 21 at 6 pm.

Works by artist such as Greg James, Janet Nixon, Jina Lee, Jenny Dawson, Lesley Barrett, Roberto Balsamo and others will be for sale, so check it out and support our local artists and small businesses.

Roel Loopers



Posted in art, city of fremantle, concerts, heritage by freoview on March 11, 2016

J Shed 3 J Shed 2 J Shed 1


So this is what the City of Fremantle understands as activation of Arthur Head, our State’s most significant heritage area, and this is what Sunset Events director David Chitty believes is respectful to the area.

It is an absolute disgrace that we now have a junk yard at J Shed with stinking portaloos and sea-containers that make the area look like an industrial site and discourage tourists from visiting the J Shed art studios.

This has become a serious joke where nothing Sunset Events promised has been implemented. Where is the art theme of the venue? Where are the international food trucks for the Sunday BBQ? Instead they stick a small bbq closest to Greg James’ sculpture studio so the sea breeze blows his work space and gallery full with smoke and food fumes.

Who at the City of Fremantle actually takes responsibility to see that tenants comply with what they promise to do when they sign a lease or license? Who gave Sunset Events the permission to occupy public space 24/7 with ugly seafood containers and a junk yard?

This is a shambles Mayor Brad Petttitt, and it is now time to actually be true to your promises of heritage protection and clean this mess up as it is unacceptable!

Roel Loopers

P.S. Nice to hear that my suggestion to put the word heritage in the Bathers Beach Art Precinct is now being debated and might be implemented.


Posted in elizabeth quay, fremantle, perth by freoview on January 30, 2016


I made my epic journey from Fremantle across the mighty roaring Swan river this morning to have a look at the Elizabeth Quay development in Perth and must say I am underwhelmed. It appears to be a whole lot of money for not that much at all, but that is just my first impression.

To be fair to the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority EQ is still a work in progress and will benefit from more buildings around it and more hospitality venues. There is also still a major ceramics artwork by Sandra Hill and Jenny Dawson to be installed, so I will reserve my final judgment for a few years.

The thing that impressed me most was the giant bird man in a boat by Aboriginal artist Laurel Nannup. It’s stunning!

There was not much food on offer so why did the MRA not put signs around EQ to point out that the Swan River Community Market was on only metres to the east of the development? After all they pay to have the markets there so why not do some decent marketing to support the stallholders.

Roel Looper


Posted in city of fremantle, LAW&ORDER by freoview on December 21, 2015


Drunken idiots left a trail of damage and empty beer and liquor bottles at Fremantle’s historic Arthur Head on the weekend that had local artists shaking their head and asking how much longer this will continue until the City of Fremantle installs CCTV and additional lighting in the area.

Most of the solar lights along the Bathers Beach dune path were vandalised, a car had its back, site and windscreen windows smashed and several windows of the J Shed art studios were damaged by rocks. Jenny Dawson who is working on a huge public artwork for Elizabeth Quay in Perth was clearly worried that the work she and Sandra Black have been working on for many months might get vandalised before it is being installed early next year.

One door of the brand new cute change rooms next to Kidogo Arthouse was also damaged by the mindless morons who get a kick out of vandalism.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on June 19, 2015

The long-term lease of the Naval Stores at Cantonment Hill to the relatively new and unknown ENKEL group is a bit of a risk for the City of Fremantle, since no one knows if it will succeed and last, while CIRCUSWA who also applied for the lease are well-known and have been successful in the ARTSOURCE building in Phillimore Street for a long time.

ENKEL say about themselves on their website that they:

Provide more relevant and open learning services to the community-at-large, locally and state-wide; through more accessible and adaptive approaches to education and skill-building.

Facilitate and host the discovery, development and implementation of innovative ideas; stimulating the economy and activating the community; through workshops, coworking spaces, cafe and garden.

Empower and Inspire socially innovative and ecologically sustainable enterprise; through networking, skills sharing, ideation, mentoring and transmedia advocacy services.

Engage and activate the local community; through interactive, thoughtful and creative events which cultivate the courage to make more positive changes for the future of WA.

It is disappointing that a group who is so open to new and change could not come to a space sharing arrangement with CIRCUSWA that only wanted a relatively small part of the building to use for their youth education, as it feels to me that is also what ENKEL is about.

ENKEL does interesting workshops and forums and here are a few of them, so you get to know them a bit better: Build your own robot, Foresight cafe breakfast, Handy summer workshop on concrete, u.lab mooc:transforming business, society and self, Enkel ideas clash, Living Labs forum, User innovation-mooc study group, Food future guerilla conference, Homeoffice day, The future of learning and education, etc.

It sounds exciting, new and different, and in a way also very Freo as it is alternative and creative and challenging, but that such a creative and accepting group can not accommodate and work with CIRCUSWA in the same building is very disappointing and might force CIRCUSWA to leave Fremantle.

The call by some Councillors for the City to now start talking with ARTSOURCE to convince them to let CIRCUSWA stay is far too late and should have happened two years ago when the State’s arts organisation expressed they wanted to open a cafe and gallery where the circus school is.

Fremantle has lost too many community and art groups. Kulcha and the FTI are gone, the Fly by Night was forced to move to Victoria Hall, art galleries have closed, and there will be a huge shake up and change at J Shed when Sunset Events build a tavern and outdoor music venue there, with the likelihood that established artists like sculptor Greg James and ceramic artist Jenny Dawson will pack their bags and leave Freo.

Fremantle City needs to deal better with these issues and be more supportive of those who have worked hard to establish themselves in Fremantle, instead of giving preference to new and unknown ventures. CIRCUSWA deserves unconditional support from Council and the administration and a fast solution needs to be found to keep them in Fremantle.

To hear Councillors say you can’t force people to marry and ENKEL to share the Naval Stores with CIRCUSWA is inconsistent from what they decided to do at J Shed, where the established artists did not want a tavern and music venue in the building, but all they got was tough titties and their objections were ignored. Why does that not apply to ENKEL also?

The Cantonment Hill Masterplan is all about activating the area as a community space and CIRCUSWA would be ideal for that, so instead of Council accepting ENKEL’s lack of collaboration, but wanting ARTSOURCE to change their mind, Council should insist on a space sharing arrangement of the Naval Stores, or ENKEL should look for somewhere else in Fremantle where there is plenty of vacant space for their requirements, while CIRCUSWA needs a very heigh space, like the Cantonment Hill shed, to work in.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on February 20, 2015

I had a chat at Chalkys cafe yesterday with the owner of one of the beautiful apartments at Little High Street in the former warehouse so beautifully designed for adaptive re-use by architect Ralph Hoare. Greg asked why BID had not continued with lighting up all of High Street and although electricians worked many days on putting cables underground at his building and the former Tram building opposite, there were still no lights, so maybe someone at BID can explain why the money was spent and people inconvenienced for nothing.

Greg also questioned why the City of Fremantle had spent all that money on lighting up the cliff face of Arthur Head but closed the Whalers Tunnel at 7 pm. Councillors constantly talk about reactivating the area but for some reason the 10 pm closing time of the tunnel has been put forward to 7 pm. Please explain COF!

That brings me to another point about reactivation and the Bathers Beach Art Precint. Homeless people invade the verandas and backyards of the cottages at Captain’s Lane at night because the place is a dark unoccupied ghost town after 5 pm. The gallery at no 11 now only has one single artists left instead of the 4 who started it and Wild Twig is trying very hard but lacks professional appearance. The two galleries open infrequently while the Aboriginal centre is only open on weekdays till 1 pm and not on weekends. That is not activation!

The only professional outfit on top of the hill is the great looking Glen Cowans Photo Gallery but how long can he battle on on his own? The Bathers Beach Art Precinct has been badly handled by COF and Council needs to revisit this and come up with better solutions to activate the area, even more so now that it appears that Sunset Events is in no hurry to start a pub and live music venue at J Shed any time soon.

J Shed artist Jenny Dawson said yesterday that DAADA is fitting in really well next to Greg James in the studio earmarked for Sunset Events. Delighted to hear also that she is involved with artist Sandra Hill in a large artwork around the water feature at Elizabeth Quay. Unfortunately confidentially prevented her from telling me more or showing me what it is going to look like.

Arthur Head is a fantastic heritage area and I am glad to see many more people at Bathers Beach sun baking and swimming. The SCULPTURE@BATHERS  show in March will bring thousands of people to the area for a few weeks so let’s make it one huge beach party to celebrate Fremantle’s and Western Australia’s creative talent and artists’ initiative!

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on October 31, 2014

The Fremantle Aboriginal Cultural Centre will be open this Saturday 1st November, between 12pm-4pm, as part of the Bathers Beach Art Precinct Open Day.

THE ORIGIN OF DOTS AND DIDJERIDOOS. Perhaps the most recognisable components of Aboriginal culture are Dots and the Didjeridoo, but where did these cultural art forms originate? Come visit the Aboriginal Cultural Centre, view our artefact display and Aboriginal Art or take a tour and the richness and diversity of Aboriginal Culture including the origin of dots and didjeridoos. Tours start at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.

Next door the David Giles, Wild Twig and Glen Cowans art studios will also be open and down at beach level the J Shed mob of Greg James, Janet Nixon, Jenny Dawson and Peter Zuvela also have open house, with live music and sausage sizzle.

It’s all part of the 2014 Fremantle Festival!

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle by freoview on October 8, 2014

Round House 1



The Fremantle BATHERS BEACH ART PRECINCT  is one-year-old and has failed to do what it set out to do; activate the area. That only comes as a surprise to those naïve Councillors who came up with the flawed concept that artist studios would be huge attractors to the Freo community and tourists. They were never going to be and the small residential heritage Pilot’s Cottages were never going to attract top W.A. artists, simply because they are unsuitable and too dark for studios and too small for serious art galleries.

The BBAC is also always flawed because it tries to incorporate three significantly different areas. There is the top of Arthur Head at Captain’s Lane, the J Shed down at Bathers Beach, and Kidogo Arthouse at the Old Port Project. The historic significance of the area was ignored because some young Councillors decided it would be perfect for an arts precinct. It never was and never will be.

The only business that has worked up at Captain’s Lane is the Glen Cowans Photography Gallery, and one only has to walk in to see why. The place just oozes professionalism and class. This is as good a gallery as one can get in a tiny cottage, with great displays, furniture and outstanding photos, all printed and framed to very high quality. Wander next door though to the Wild Twig artist collective and one is in a different world. Yes, they try hard but they lack the style and class the Cowans gallery has.

Next door to that Mutima tried very hard and had a lovely gallery but their concept was bewildering because they also sold clothes. But at least they did have music and movie events that actually attracted new people to the area.

The Aboriginal Cultural Centre is also struggling to attract sufficient visitors’ numbers to warrant existence and I am not surprised about that. It was always just Wadjela-white people- patronising tokenism to put something as significant as our City’s indigenous centre in a shitty little residential cottage that formerly was the office of the harbour pilots. Our Nyoongar brothers and sisters deserve something much better and more prominent, in a better inner city location, and I feel sorry for the delightful Brendan Moore who is trying to make the Centre a success.

It shows how serious the City of Fremantle is about our Aboriginal Centre that the yearly funding for it is less than the money spent on the once a year four-hour Wardarnji Festival. Appalling!

J Shed at Bathers Beach has housed successful professional artists for over twenty years, so why was there suddenly the eagerness that sculptor Greg James and his artists in residence, and ceramic artist Jenny Dawson and her collaborating artists had to become performers, open to the public? These are professional business people who work throughout the year on public and private art projects worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, but that was not good enough for those who don’t understand the arts industry.

The main attractor at Arthur Head is the Round House, our State’s oldest public building. More than 110,000 people come through the door there every year.

It is kept open by less than 40 Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides, who have an office, lunchroom, kitchen and toilet in a small cottage at Mrs Trivett Lane. These mainly elderly volunteers open the Round House-hail or shine-363 days of the year from 10.30 to 3.30 and fire the cannon at 1 pm, but that is not good enough for the COF officers who have told them that to get a new lease on the cottage they will have to share it and one of the rooms of the cottage needs to be activated and opened to the public. Why?!

Before the Bathers Beach Art Precinct started there was 24/7 activation of the area. The Harbour pilots did their day and night shifts, the Crookes family kids brought friends home from Lance Holt school to play on the grass, the family had friends over and barbeques and engaged with passing tourists. Many overseas visitors were introduced by the kids to our local bush tucker when the lilly pilly were in abundance.

The Fremantle Society held their meetings, let other organizations use the cottage, created heritage festival events at Arthur Head, community Boche nights, Australia Day fireworks BBQ, etc. and I lived there as the care-taker, but they, like the Crookes family and Fremantle Port Pilots, were not good enough for the City of Fremantle. The area needed to be reactivated with artists studios, and what a flawed concept that is.

Where are the activation events of BBAP? Where is the art market, why is Wardarnji not held up there but at the Fremantle Arts Centre, why are the community Boche nights in collaboration with FICRA not re-introduced?

Instead of activation of the area we now have a nightly ghost town up there that attracts anti-social behaviour. Most cottages are only open from 11-5 Thursday to Sunday, the Aboriginal Centre is not open on weekends, and on weekdays only from 9am to noon. On the long Queens Birthday weekend only the highly professional Glen Cowans Photo Gallery was open on the Monday, and of course the Round House.

Activation does not happen, it has to be inspired and organised and real money has to be spent by the City of Fremantle to make it work. Why not have a pop-up bar one evening a week as they do in Lemon Lane in Claremont, for example.

The one summer event that really and highly activates the area is the Saturday Bathers Beach Sunset Food Markets. It attracts many thousands of people who are all loving it, and it is of course a private enterprise because at Freo Council they wait and see and do the same old, same old festivals each and every year, and none of these festivals embrace the west end of town with any significance.

I love art and I have been advocating for an indigenous centre in Freo for many years, but unfortunately the Bathers Beach Art Precinct is another one of Council’s  flawed ideas. And now the new silly idea is to put a live music venue and micro-brewery at J Shed. Yep, let’s ignore the heritage significance, yep, let’s ignore it is an art precinct, let’s now try an entertainment precinct instead. Do you have any more bright ideas, Freo-thought bubble-Council?

Roel Loopers

Disclosure: I am a volunteer guide at the Round House and also involved in the Bathers Beach Sunset Food Markets.

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