Freo's View



When the Prime Minister of Australia, in reaction to the George Floyd protests in the USA, says that Australia should not import those problems because we are a fair country, it is clear we still live in denial about racism in Australia. Australia is a fair country for fair-skinned people, but not for our indigenous people, or for our Asian and African people, and anyone with dark skin.

Racism started in this country the day Captain Cook set foot on land in the east and when Captain Fremantle and Captain Stirling arrived here in Fremantle at Bathers Bay.

The ‘wild black savages’ were hunted, killed, raped, abused, used as slaves, taken away from their parents, locked up and treated with absolute disrespect by most of the early settlers, who had no respect for the culture of the traditional owners.

The real history of Australia is rarely told. How many high school students in Western Australia are really aware of the stolen generations, the Pinjarra massacre, the killing and beheading of Yagan, the persecution of Jandamara in the Kimberley, the abuse that happened at the Moore River, Sister Kate, New Norcia, etc? How many have been told the truth about the awful Quod prison on Rottnest Island, where ten per cent of the 4,700 male prisoners died?

Just nine years away from celebrating 200 years of the start of the Swan River Colony Western Australia still does not have and Aboriginal Cultural Centre that tells the history of our state from the indigenous perspective.

We still do not have a significant memorial for those men and boys from all over WA who died on Rottnest Island, and many tourists leave the island without even being aware of it.

At the Roundhouse at least the volunteer guides acknowledged that they need to also tell the Aboriginal story and they have been working on new interpretive displays, but that will need state funding, so will they get the financial support from the McGowan government?

Racism is rampant in Australia and only many of those who are fair skinned believe it does not exist, but every dark coloured person in this country is subjected to it daily, sometimes it comes subtly and often it is blatant. Since 1991 432 Aboriginal people have died in custody in Australia!

We are lucky to have one of the best Treasurers WA has ever had in Ben Wyatt, a brilliant Aboriginal man. There are many of them, but they often do not get a chance to shine because of institutional racism in our governments and industries.

A country where Aboriginal people on average die ten years younger than non Aborigines, where Aboriginal kids often do not finish education, and where only a few study at universities, is not a fair country. We should be better than that! BlackLivesMatter!

Roel Loopers






It is WA Day long weekend and the calls for an Aboriginal cultural centre are loud and clear. We want it, and ideally it will be built in Fremantle!!

But the neglect of historic Arthur’s Head and the expensive rented fences in the area really annoy me, but no one in Fremantle or Western Australia appears to care much about the awful neglect of one of WA’s most significant heritage precincts. It is a disgrace and the Western Australian government should hang their heads in shame about not caring!

What is also not acceptable is putting wrong information on tourist signs, such as this one at the entrance of the Whalers Tunnel, that claims that convict labour was used to build the tunnel.

The tunnel was built in 1837 and convicts only arrived in WA in 1850! What is probably meant is that prison labour from the Roundhouse jail was used to build the tunnel, but that is a different story.

Clean up this mess, Premier Mark McGowan. This is one of the most important public works you should push forward as a priority!

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, Uncategorized by freoview on May 9, 2020




The Timeball above the gun deck of the historic Fremantle Roundhouse had a brother this morning just after sunrise with the full moon joining it.

Roel Loopers



The news that the WA State Government wants to fast track major public works, such as the planned new Fremantle traffic bridge, are welcome, but Freo needs a lot more than that and some serious big picture thinking and spending from the McGowan Government.

Talks about the development of Victoria Quay and the Fremantle Council South Quay ideas have just been chatter and nothing has happened but a few plans here and there.

Some 15 years ago, or maybe even longer than that, I walked in a group with then Minister Alannah McTiernan from the Fremantle Ports building to the railway station and the media got told about the big plans for Philimore Street, a new railway court, and a much improved roundabout at Cliff Street, but alas, it was empty talk and no action. I hear this is again on the menu of the State Government, but will it ever eventuate?

The idea that the Indian Pacific train journey could start and finish in Fremantle would be wonderful, but it would need much more than a very long platform to accommodate the tourist train. It would require serious planning for how to connect Victoria Quay and the Passenger Terminal with the Fremantle CBD, and it might just have to be something as big as what happened in Perth with the sinking of the railway line and creating a new precinct over the top of it…… and pigs do fly.

A new police station if Fremantle would be a nice start, but it needs to be done in context with the masterplan  Fremantle Council is creating for Fremantle Oval, and the realisation that the former Stan Riley site might not be the best location for it as it would not go well with the plans Fremantle City has for the oval precinct.

Another major public work the State Government needs to prioritise is the stabilisation work of Arthur’s Head and urgently needed maintenance work on the Roundhouse. Once the state and country’s borders are reopened tourism will be one of the major ways to help Freo back on its feet, but there is no money at local council level to do any major public works. The State Government and our local member Simone McGurk need to step up and start getting serious about supporting Fremantle. Talk alone is not good enough!

Roel Loopers


Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on March 15, 2020




The Fremantle volunteer Roundhouse guides have made the sensible and right decision to close WA’s oldest public building for the time being, due to Covid-19 concerns.

The old jail on Arthur’s Head gets hundreds of visitors every day, and very many of them come from overseas, so there is a threat to the health of the mainly elderly guides.

Will Fremantle Prison, the Shipwrecks Museum and the Maritime Museum follow suit?

Roel Loopers




I hear the Fremantle Society has set up a sub-committee that will concentrate on lobbying and trying to get funding for the urgent repairs of Arthur’s Head, so good on them!

What Fremantle Council has been doing about it is pathetic and absolutely inadequate. The area is vested in the City, but they wash their hands off one of our state’s most significant historic and tourists areas and just wait to see if the state government, or anyone else, will cough up the $ 2 million needed. That is not good enough!

I have been told the action by the Fremantle Society will be bipartisan and trying to get as many people on board as possible, so I will be happy to promote anything the group will be doing in that regard.

I have a suspicion that the WA Labor government is not going to do anything about it until the next state election, but that is too far away.

Arthur’s Head has been looking awful for two years now with all the ugly fencing around it. The look at the Whalers Tunnel and the cliff face from Bathers Beach is a total eyesore, but it has been put in the too hard basket by Fremantle’s elected members. I find that extremely disappointing.

So go for it, Freo Society! Lobby politicians from all parties at state and federal level, look for grants, try to get financial support from the resources industries, etc. because Fremantle deserves better than having to accept a major problem that is not being addressed with the urgency it demands.

Roel Loopers



Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, local government, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on January 14, 2020


Arthur's Head


Well done, City of Fremantle for cleaning up the mess and the large weeds at the Arthur’s Head carpark, but it should not have taken a blogger though to make you aware of it.

Roel Loopers





The fenced off carpark below the Roundhouse now looks like this. Disgraceful!


I reported previously about the state of neglect at the fenced off carpark below the Fremantle historic Roundhouse tourist attraction (2nd photo), with weeds of a metre-high popping up, but now an idiot has thrown down a rubbish bin that belongs to 10 Captain’s Lane, and it looks even worse for all those who walk and cycle by.

Roel Loopers


Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, local government, roundhouse, Uncategorized by freoview on November 23, 2019

The City of Fremantle is seeking your stories, connection and curiosity about the Round House, to help guide the future conservation and care of this important building.

The City is preparing a conservation management plan for the Round House building. A conservation management plan helps us to understand the place and its heritage values and provides policies to enable its significance to be retained in its future use and development.

We’re seeking your stories, connection and curiosity about the Round House to guide the direction of this work. Your input is an important part of ensuring the heritage values of the Round House are appropriately recognised, assessed and conserved.

The Round House building is located on Manjaree (Arthur Head) and the City will also consult specifically with Traditional Owners as part of our Aboriginal Engagement Plan.

How can I contribute?

Everyone with a connection to, or interest in, the Round House is welcome to contribute. The Round House has had many uses over the years including a gaol for the settlement, a holding point for Aboriginal prisoners being sent to Rottnest, a lock-up, house and for storage. Many workers have also been involved in repairs or works over the years. Today it operates as a significant tourist destination manned by the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides, who are preparing an interpretation project.

Your stories and historical photographs (particularly incidental images) will supplement the City’s History collection or may help identify particular aspects of the building fabric which would assist with management and interpretation. Information on your curiosity will help build a picture of what our community and visitors would like to know more about.

You can:

  • Share your stories or upload information online (below), or
  • Complete a photographic donation form (click here or find in the document library) and drop in to the Fremantle Library 70 Parry Street Fremantle (Fremantle Oval) with your material.

Submit your stories on line at My Say Fremantle, or at Fremantle Library by Sunday 22 December 2019.


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