Freo's View


Posted in bathers beach, city of fremantle, fremantle prison, history, Uncategorized by freoview on January 10, 2018



The commemoration of the arrival of the Hougoumont in Fremantle started with a smoking ceremony by Whadjuk Noongar people on Bathers Beach this morning and ended in the convict-built Fremantle Prison with Irish music and good speeches.

The Hougoumont was the last convict ship to Australia, and brought with it over 70 Fenian political prisoners from Ireland.

Fremantle Prison is the largest convict establishment in Australia, and the best kept convict prison in the southern hemisphere, Fremantle Prison director Paula Nelson told the audience, among them acting premier Roger Cook, Irish Consul Marty Kavanagh, Minister Simone McGurk, Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and descendants of the Fenians.

Fremantle Prison will have a special Convict Tour from late February, so go and join one.

Also at the prison is a very good exhibition about the Fenians and the remarkable Catalpa escape.

It is time for Screenwest to initiate a feature film about the story of the Wild Geese and the Fenians in Western Australia. It would be a great movie!


Roel Loopers

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Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle prison, history, Uncategorized by freoview on January 10, 2018


A new exhibition opened at the Fremantle Prison to commemorate the arrival 150 years ago, on January 9, of the Hougoumont, the last ship to bring convicts to Fremantle.

Among the prisoners was a large group of Fenians, political prisoners from Ireland, of which some became very (in)famous for the daring escape from Fremantle Prison to Rockingham where they boarded the USA vessel Catalpa.

The Fenians Festival is still on till the 14th so check the Facebook page and website for updates and events.


Roel Loopers

Fenians Festival poster


Posted in city of fremantle, culture, history, Uncategorized by freoview on January 5, 2018


Fenians 1


The Fremantle FENIANS FESTIVAL starts today so make sure to check out their Facebook page for the dates and times of events, or wander into Kidogo Arthouse at bathers Beach and ask for info.

FENIANS festival events calendar


Posted in fremantle, history, Uncategorized by freoview on June 9, 2017





The Irish festival planned for Fremantle to commemorate the arrival of the Hougoumont in Fremantle on January 9, 1868, the last convict ship to sail to Australia 150 years ago, is attracting interest from the Irish government.

The Ambassador of Ireland Breandan O Caollai visited Kidogo Arthouse with a group of officers from the Canberra embassy this week.

The Fenians, Fremantle & Freedom Festival will be held from January 5-14, 2018 at locations around Fremantle from Bathers Beach through the West End and Fremantle Prison.

On board the Hougoumont was also John Boyle O’Reilly who escaped some years later on the Gazelle and ended up as the editor of The Pilot newspaper in Boston, USA.

Between 1865 and 1867 the British had arrested members and supporters of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and 62 of them were transported to the penal colony of Western Australia.

John Boyle O’Reilly became later involved in getting funding for the Catalpa that sailed to Rockingham to pick up six Fenians who had escaped from Fremantle Prison. This fascinating bit of history is commemorated on the Rockingham foreshore with the impressive Six Wild Geese sculpture just south of the townsite.

An Irish festival will means music, dance, food, beer and lots of fun, so I am looking forward to it.

The Facebook page feniansfestival will keep you up to date over the next six months.

Roel Loopers


Posted in community, fremantle, history, Uncategorized, western autralia by freoview on June 5, 2017


There is WA DAY entertainment at the Fremantle Esplanade all day today so go and enjoy the glorious day.

Spare Parts Theatre will be there with their puppets and Grace Barbe and band will perform in the afternoon.

There is a Freedom Fairy Show for the children, food stalls,  Bindi Bindi Dreaming, and Felicity Groom will also be performing.

A big sand sculpture will be created and the African Drumming Circle will be fun for young and old.

The Maritime Museum will have a stall and there is also the Perth Makers Market and more entertainment and music.

At Victoria Quay in Fremantle Port one of the world’s most high-tech research vessels, RV Sonne, will be open to the public.

Members of the public are invited to step on board, speak to the German and Australian marine scientists, check out the ship’s cutting-edge research technology and learn about current research campaigns in the Australian marine environment, and Australian-German research cooperation.

Have a fun WA DAY!

Roel Loopers



Posted in australia day, education, fremantle, notre dame university, Uncategorized by freoview on May 22, 2017

UNDA presentation


The Fremantle Heritage Festival starts this week with the unveiling of the Townhall conservation works at 11.30 am on Friday, so come along.

Notre Dame University students are jumping the gun though with two interesting presentations at the Maritime Museum on Thursday between 1.30 and 3 pm.

They will present a professional report titled Recasting Australia Day and and exhibition proposal Country and Conflict at Swan River 1829-1850.



Posted in fremantle, history, kidogo arthouse, western australia by freoview on April 10, 2017

Fremantle Kidogo Arthouse owner Joanna Robinson is organising a big historic, culture and art Irish festival in January next year to commemorate the arrival 150 years ago of the Hougoumont, the last vessel to transport convicts from England to the Swan River Colony.

Among the 279 convicts on board was the famous John Boyle O’Reilly. The majority of the 108 passengers was made up of pensioner guards and their families.

The Hougoumont was the last of 37 convict shipments to Fremantle and arrived on January 9, 1868 after a 89-day journey.

That sounds like a fantastic festival to me which the whole Freo community should get involved in, so put your thinking caps on and come up with ideas for events around that day! Major corporate financial sponsorships would be welcome.

And what a brilliant excuse to drink a lot of Guinness, if we ever needed one. : >)

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, history, roundhouse by freoview on April 6, 2017


Today is a sad historic day in Fremantle with the anniversary of the hanging of 15-year-old John Gavin in front of the Roundhouse 173 years ago on April 6, 1844.

Gavin was the first European settler to be executed in Western Australia.

He arrived here as a Parkhurst boy and was convicted of murdering the son of his employer 18-year-old George Pollard.

Gavin was a tiny boy only so that weights were attached to his body to make the execution more humane. He was buried in the dunes south of the Roundhouse but his remains have never been found.

Roel Loopers




Posted in fremantle, fremantle prison, heritage by freoview on January 23, 2017

old prison fremantle


Fremantle Prison will be unlocked tomorrow, Tuesday January 24 from 2-6 pm to celebrate 25 years of being open to the public.

Get a FREE  sneak peek  inside the World Heritage listed old gaol that was built by convicts when the Swan River Colony became a penal colony for England in 1850.

Explore the large main cell block, check out the art exhibition and have a cold drink in the cafe.

Roel Loopers



Posted in aboriginal, australia day, city of fremantle, history, indigenous by freoview on November 26, 2016

The media and social media hype and hot air about the City of Fremantle celebrating Australia Day on January 28 instead of January 26 needs to get some balance by pointing out some simple facts.

Historically Australia Day is only meaningful for people in NSW. “Australia Day is a national public holiday commemorating the founding on 26 January 1788 of the colony of New South Wales.” It celebrates the arrival at Sydney Cove of the first 11 convict ships-the first fleet-from England, so the day is historically meaningless to Western Australia and all other Australian states and territories.

Fremantle was only settled by the British in 1829, so 41 years after the east coast, and was the start of the Swan River Colony, hence we celebrate Foundation Day, renamed WA Day in 2012, in June each year

A far more meaningful date for Australia Day celebrations would be January 1, where in 1901 the six separate British colonies agreed to form the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia Day is quite a recent national day as it started only in 1994, twenty years ago.

It is funny that there is outrage about Fremantle’s Australia Day changes when Australia can’t even celebrate the birthday of the Queen of England, the head of our nation, on the same day and states celebrate Her Majesty’s birthday on different days, so why is ‘Straya Day’ so important?

Australia Day celebrations in Perth and Fremantle have become a day for boozers and bogans where police and security have their hands full trying to keep the drunks in check and there are many complaints about behaviour at South Beach, Bathers Beach, etc. during the fireworks.

Now Fremantle will have two days of celebration, no doubt to the delight of the Fishing Boat Harbour traders who will rub their hands, with dollar signs lighting up their eyes, as they now can cash in twice, once during the fireworks they organise and the second time during the John Butler, Mama Kin One Day in Fremantle concert on the Esplanade.

Those who believe it is political correctness gone mad that Fremantle shows sensitivity and acknowledges the terrible wrongs of the past toward Aboriginal people probably also believe the Jews should just get on with it and over the Holocaust, like our indigenous people should stop whingeing about the Stolen Generations, the massacres, Sister Kate, the Rottnest Quod indigenous prison, and the abuse inflicted on Aboriginal boys and girls, etc. Yep, just get on with it hey, because us Wadjelas want to celebrate an irrelevant day with very expensive and polluting fireworks.

It is not a big deal at all that the City of Fremantle is not celebrating Australia Day on January 26 because the day means historically nothing to our city and our state, so my advise it get over it and have fun all long weekend in our great city!

Roel Loopers

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