Freo's View

FREO VOLUNTEERS ARE SPECIAL

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized, volunteers by freoview on May 20, 2019

 

 

volunteers

 

It is NATIONAL VOLUNTEERS WEEK from May 20-26, so a good opportunity to thank all our Fremantle volunteers who are doing a splendid job day in day out.

Volunteers are essential for many charities which look after homeless and disadvantaged people, and they are also very important for tourists to our city. The Roundhouse and Visitor Centre volunteers provide inside information about Fremantle and our history, and so do those at the Shipwrecks and Martime museums.

It takes a lot of dedication and commitment to stand in oppressive heat or ice cold winds at the Roundhouse, but rain or shine the historic building is open to visitors 363 days of the year.

May I remind the State Government that this important tourist attraction does not receive any funding at all from the State or local council, so it is time to make amends and spend some money on the management of the oldest public building in WA.

I took the photo above of three guides on duty at the Roundhouse this morning when just after opening already large groups of primary students were climbing up the steps to see the old jail.

At the Fremantle Library a photo exhibition about volunteers  Freo Heroes- A Hundred years of Helping is on show till May 24.

Roel Loopers

 

Henty ad

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

 

CHANGES FOR FREMANTLE VISITOR CENTRE

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on May 7, 2019

 

The City of Fremantle is reviewing the Visitor Centre and the role it should play in the future. A consultant reviewed the operations of the centre and engaged with stakeholders and tourists to find out what is good and what is not working so well.

One recommendation is to cease taking bookings and selling merchandise at the Visitor Centre because of strong on-line competition. Bookings have gone down by 66% between 2012 and 2018.

There was also a lot of feedback about the poor web presence of the Visitor Centre that needs to be more relevant and up to date about what Fremantle has to offer.

It cost $ 460.000 yearly to run the centre which is managed by City staff and supported by many volunteers.

One of the things missing are multilingual fact sheets about what Fremantle has to offer, opening times of tourist attractions, etc.

Also missing, and that should also be the role of the Visitor Centre is connecting with stakeholders, so that everyone is aware what goes on in town. For example, at the Roundhouse the volunteers are not being informed about special exhibitions or events at the Maritime and Shipwreck museums or Fremantle Prison. There are also no flyers to hand out about festivals such as the Winter Festival, Hidden Treasures, Street Arts, etc.etc. and that is not good enough.

The Roundhouse very much plays the role of the second Visitor Centre so information needs to be shared better, so that the volunteers there can direct tourists to whatever is on in Fremantle.

Translations of the historic information about the Roundhouse are very popular with overseas tourists, especially those who speak no English at all, such as many Chinese, Korean and Japanese visitors, so fact sheets in many foreign languages should become a base for Fremantle’s information service to visitors.

The item is on the agenda of this Wednesday’s FPOL Committee, which unfortunately clashes with the Federal election Candidates Debate.

Roel Loopers

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MORE ART STUDIOS FOR ARTHUR’S HEAD

 

The Fremantle Bathers Beach Art Precinct will join the City’s Studio Program and the former Pilots Cottages will become home to multiple artists instead of art galleries.

City staff conducted a trial period and believe there are benefits for Arthur’s Head, such as “an increase in the diversity of activation” and “a more dynamic precinct has been created”

This is of course self-serving bollocks as the art studios do not have to be open to the public, so one can hardly claim there is now a more dynamic precinct at Captain’s and Ms Trivett lanes, and while there might be diversity of use inside the buildings there is no diversity of activation outside and not much to attract visitors.

The marvelous and very popular Glen Cowans underwater photography gallery stands out as a beacon of professionalism, and at least the artists in the David Giles gallery open the doors, paint on the veranda and engage with the public.

The matter of the area being a ghost town at night is not addressed, so that will only get worse.

Fremantle Council has been wanting to activate Arthur’s Head for many years but fails to understand that artist studios which are closed to the public are not going to do that. It has also dismally failed to support the Roundhouse volunteers who run a major tourist attraction without receiving any funding at all from the City or the State.

The item is on the FPOL Committee agenda on Wednesday.

Roel Loopers

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A SHORT WALK THROUGH FREMANTLE

 

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freo 3

Here a few photos I took on a short walk through Fremantle on Sunday. I love this city!

Roel Loopers

 

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GOVERNMENT FUNDING ESSENTIAL FOR HISTORIC ARTHUR’S HEAD

 

Arthur's Head

 

Good to see the Fremantle Herald dedicating the front page to the stabilisation issues at Arthur’s Head and preservation works required at the Roundhouse.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the State Government has taken one of our state’s most significant historic precincts and WA’s oldest public building for granted for far too long. Sure, the City has on occasions received a grant to do work there, but there really should be annual funding for the upkeep of the Roundhouse and surrounding cliff face and buildings.

It was uplifting how many visitors to the Roundhouse yesterday had seen the Today Tonight program on Channel Seven with none of them aware that there is no funding for the tourist destination, and that just 30 volunteers keep the building open 363 days a year on the smell of an oily rag, from the few visitors gold coin donations received.

In an ideal world the Roundhouse would have enough volunteers to do two three and a half hour shifts, so that the building can remain open two hours longer each day from 10am to 5pm, in line with the Shipwrecks and Maritime museums.

Annual funding and marketing support from the City of Fremantle is needed to support the popular building, and State and Federal funding is required to maintain Arthur’s Head as the significant historic site it is!

Roel Loopers

HERITAGE PRESERVATION IS NOT OPTIONAL BUT OUR DUTY

 

round house- arthur head

 

Fremantle’s Ordinary Council meeting this evening decided to try to get State and Federal funding for the stabilisation of historic Arthur’s Head. Estimated cost for the preservation work are $ 1.8 million, plus $ 500.000-1million for renovations to the Roundhouse.

1. Endorse the Arthur Head design and documentation package as detailed in the Arthur Head Cliff Stabilisation Final Report, provided in Attachment 1 of this report in the Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee Agenda (10 April 2019).
2. Request the City proceed with referring details of the proposed works to the relevant state government agencies under public works procedures and obtaining all necessary statutory approvals.
3. Request the City seek State and Federal funding in order to progress the required remediation projects.
4. Request the City investigate the impact of vibrations from trains to the topography and buildings at Arthur Head.

I believe this is not far-reaching enough as the City of Fremantle should lobby the State and Federal Governments for ongoing annual financial support to preserve one of Western Australia’s most significant historic precincts.

As French President Emannuel Marcon said yesterday after the Notre Dame cathedral fire “We owe is to our history to preserve it.” And as I said to the Elected Members today that is not optional but a duty we have.

I also pointed out that the Roundhouse is the only one of the four Fremantle museums: Shipwreck Museum, Maritime Museum and Fremantle Prison that does not get any funding, not from the City, not from the WA Government and not from the Federal Government. That is not fair and reasonable.

The oldest public building in Western Australia welcomes around 140.000 international and national visitors a year, but is managed by mainly senior volunteers. Just 30 of them keep the Roundhouse open 363 days a year and fire the 1pm cannon.

The Roundhouse needs and deserves much more support from the City of Fremantle and State Government and it needs to happen as a priority!

Roel Loopers

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TODAY TONIGHT FILMING ARTHUR’S HEAD NEGLECT

 

 

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

FREMANTLE PORTS SPONSORS ROUNDHOUSE CANNON FIRE

 

cannon-fire

 

It is personally rewarding for me to see that my call for support for the Fremantle Roundhouse has not been just weeing in the wind, but that Fremantle Ports responded generously and are now official sponsors of the One O’Clock Cannon Fire at the Roundhouse.

That the Fremantle Ports sponsors WA’s oldest public building is special to me since I did 14 years of photography for the Ports, so I very much feel like being part of the crew there.

When I complained in a letter to the West Australian and on this Freo’s View blog a few months ago about lack of support for the Roundhouse Fremantle Ports contacted me and asked how they could support the Roundhouse heritage guides.

The gun deck overlooks the site of the first Fremantle port, the long jetty, and also the current port, so it is very much part of our maritime history.

The cannon was fired and the time ball lowered for the early mariners to adjust their clocks, so that the calculation of longitude would be precise. The Roundhouse volunteers fire the cannon 363 days of the year, unless inclement weather prevents it.

People can book the firing of the cannon on http://www.fremantleroundhouse.com.au and are given a certificate to show they were the honorary gunner of the day. I suggest we reprint the certificates with the Fremantle Ports logo on it.

As part of the Fremantle Ports sponsorship the Roundhouse volunteer guides will participate in this year’s Maritime Day on Victoria Quay. I’ll see you there!

I hope the State and Federal governments will now also financially assist with the Roundhouse maintenance and management and the much needed stabilisation of Arthur’s Head and the Whalers Tunnel.

Roel Loopers

 

MINISTER DOES NOT WANT FREMANTLE ABORIGINAL CENTRE

 

Roundhouse

 

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

 

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