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

 

ROUNDHOUSE CLOSURE A REAL WORRY FOR FREMANTLE

 

 

It is a real worry that the Fremantle Roundhouse is closed today, and I was told it was closed most of yesterday as well.

A sign on the door says it is closed due to bad weather, but a few showers have never forced the Roundhouse volunteers to close all day in the nine years I worked there.

Fremantle Council now needs to take urgent action because it is not acceptable that the oldest public building in WA and one of Fremantle’s most significant tourist attractions is now randomly closed, presumably because of lack of volunteers.

In the nine years I was on duty only on the worst winter days did we close an hour early at 2.30pm, but all day closure only ever happened on Christmas Day and Good Friday.

I hear that at committee level of the volunteers it has been suggested they might have to wind up and hand the management of the building back to the City, but what then when there is no contingency plan in place?  Even if they staff the Roundhouse with volunteers from the Visitor Centre they would still need some of the current volunteers who have the license to fire the 1pm cannon.

Both Fremantle Council and the Roundhouse committee are to blame for not having been pro-active enough in trying to get new volunteers and annual funding. With enough State, City and Federal funding Roundhouse guides could get paid and the tourist attraction would be on the same level as Fremantle Prison, the Maritime Museum and the Shipwreck Museum, which all receive government funding.

The Roundhouse is very significant to Fremantle’s  and Western Australia’s history and the City can’t just sit back and let it close due to procrastination and lack of vision.

Roel Loopers

 

NEW BOOK ABOUT FREMANTLE’S FIRST HARBOURMASTER

Posted in book, city of fremantle, fremantle port, harbour, history, publishing, Uncategorized by freoview on June 5, 2019

 

Freo's first harbourmaster

 

I bumped into one of the grandsons of Fremantle’s first harbourmaster late yesterday afternoon in front of the Roundhouse, so I was surprised to hear that Ron and Ian Forsyth have published a book about this important man tittled A Hazardous Life.

Captain George Forsyth (1843-1894) lived in the harbourmaster’s house next to the Roundhouse jail and was an influential man in those days.

All those interested in Fremantle hsitory, or maritime history, should buy a copy of the book. It is available in the Fremantle Arts Centre shop, where on Friday an exhibition of paintings by Captain Forsyth will open.

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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FREMANTLE WILL NOT DISAPPEAR

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, history, indigenous, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 22, 2019

 

 

How can we stop the ridiculous claims in the media that Fremantle wants to change its name to Walyalup? The Reconciliation Action Plan, that is out for community consultation, suggests to acknowledge Aboriginal names for our city and its landmarks, that means we add Noongar names to the English names, not replace them.

Already there are many negative comments on social media, as if our Aboriginal history is something we should be ashamed about when we should be proud that we are part of a 50.000 year ancient history.

It is not as if before British settlement this country we now call Australia was a fascist society with a past we’d better not mention. It is a huge island where Aboriginal people lived in relative peace and harmony. They lived respectfully in an often nomadic lifestyle off mother earth, in a society with strong tribal laws which kinship and tribal boundaries that were adhered to.

Men in the communities educated the boys and the women were responsible for bringing up the girls, and food was often shared in the best communal sense of extended families.

It is a proud history of stories and songlines and of sacred sites and of deep respect for nature and the earth.

Why should we not share our Aboriginal history by letting people know the names the traditional owners have for all the landmarks and rivers? It is not as if a Big Bang happened in 1829 on the west coast of this huge continent and suddenly there was population in this terra nullius, or uninhabited land. That disrespectful suggestion was soundly rejected by the High Court of Australia which acknowledged that Aboriginal people have lived here for some 50.000 years. A history of hardship and resilience to be proud of!

What is the big deal to have signs that show Fremantle and underneath it Walyalup to acknowledge that history. What is wrong with pointing out that Arthur’s Head is also known as Manjaree and Rottnest Island as Wadjemup?

The acceptance of Aboriginal names is already widespread around Australia. Most people now call Ayers Rock Uluru, the Olgas are known as Kata Tjuta, the Bungles as Purnululu, and Turkey Creek is better known as Warmun.

The TV reporter who smugly told his viewers last night that Fremantle could not change the name of the Swan River to Derbarl Yerrigan because it would need State Government approval to do so was only starting a fear campaign because all Fremantle Council might do is put some signs along the river to also acknowledge the Aboriginal name and history of the river.

No one’s history is threatened people and Fremantle will not disappear from the map of WA and Australia. Our post settlement history and names will remain and be told next to the pre European settlement history of our Aboriginal people. It is showing respect for our now shared past and future, and in my opinion it is very welcome and a long time overdue.

 

Roel Loopers

MOON CHOW FIRST CHINESE MIGRANT TO FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, history, immigration, Uncategorized by freoview on May 18, 2019

 

Moon Chow

 

At the end of the Australian Heritage Festival it is nice to tell a little bit about Fremantle’s history not many people are aware of.

It is generally assumed that most early migrants/settlers here were English but quite a few came from different countries. For example Chinese man Moon Chow was one of the first to arrive in Fremantle in 1829.

He became a well-known boat builder and carpenter. He died in 1877.

Because of the accident that caused Moon Chow’s death compulsory night lights and vehicular speed limits were introduced in Fremantle for the first time.

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

 

NEW BOOK ABOUT FREMANTLE PRISON’S GREAT CATALPA ESCAPE

Posted in book, city of fremantle, fremantle prison, history, publishing, Uncategorized by freoview on April 15, 2019

 

Catalpa book

 

Famous Australian author Peter FitzSimons has written a new book and it is about the intriguing escape from Fremantle Prison by six Fenian prisoners in 1876.

The Catalpa Rescue tells the story of Fenians in the USA collecting money to buy the whaling boat Catalpa that then sailed to Rockingham to pick up the escapees. There is a great Wild Geese artwork on the Rockingham foreshore about it.

The book will be released on April 23, so make sure to get a copy as this is one of Freo’s great historic stories.

Roel Loopers

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