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

 

FREMANTLE ROUNDHOUSE CLOSURE DISGRACE!

 

closure

 

The closure of the Fremantle Roundhouse today is the third day out of four the very popular tourist attraction has been closed to the public. It was closed on Friday and Saturday, supposedly due to bad weather, although the weather was in no way extreme and intolerable, and today the sign states that WA’s oldest public building is closed  due to a shortage of volunteers.

Fact is that the current president and some committee members of the volunteer group have been procrastinating instead of tackling the major issues of funding and volunteers.

I was a volunteer at the Roundhouse for nine years and loved talking with tourists from all over the world, but I resigned two weeks ago after a rude email from the president in reply to my email suggestions for improvements and changes. I was told that my emails to committee were a waste of energy and he reminded me I was not on committee, indicating I should just shut up.

It is now time for the City of Fremantle to immediately take over the management of the Roundhouse as this significant building has to be open to the public.  I am happy to get involved again under new more progressive and committed management.

A school group that arrived at 1.30pm today stood in front of the closed doors and that is very disappointing.

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

 

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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ROUNDHOUSE NEEDS NEW TREASURER

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized, volunteers by freoview on May 24, 2019

 

The FREMANTLE ROUND HOUSE are seeking a VOLUNTEER TREASURER to join their passionate team of volunteers.
Main duties of the role are as follows:
  • Have an understanding of Xero Accounting Package & be able to process payments and manage accounts.
  • Be able to produce a monthly & annual Budget & Treasurers Report.
  • Complete quarterly BAS statement & other statutory requirements.
  • Manage monthly payroll for 1 employee.
  • Commitment of around 3-4 hours per week.
We are seeking someone who can work well independently. A hand-over will be provided from our current volunteer treasurer.
If you think this role may be of interest to you, or if you would like some more information, please send us an email with a brief overview of your relevant experience to enquiries@fremantleroundhouse.com.au
Deadline: 14th June 2019. Email enquiries preferred.

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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

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FREMANTLE ROUNDHOUSE GUIDES 20TH ANNIVERSAY

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, history, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized, volunteers by freoview on December 14, 2018

 

RH 3

RH 2

RH 1

 

It’s lucky I had a very quiet start of the day volunteering at the Roundhouse yesterday, as I browsed through some of the information displays on the wall and discovered that the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides, who look after WA’s oldest public building, were established 20 years ago in 1998.

I am no doubt a bit biased, as one of the volunteers, but I still believe it is significant that a small group of mainly seniors for twenty years have opened the Roundhouse every day of the year, but for Good Friday and Christmas Day, for visitors from all over the world, and fire the cannon every day as well.

I have been volunteering for eight years now and loving it, but there are quite a few who have been there much longer. One of them is my good old mate Nan Jackson. I often tell visitors that Nan actually built the old jail. She is the one in the photo close up at the stocks

Happy anniversary FVHG and thank you to everyone who participated in the last two decades. It would not have been possible without you!

Roel Loopers

MARGARET RIVER STUDENTS VISIT FREMANTLE

Posted in children, city of fremantle, education, heritage, roundhouse, Uncategorized, volunteers by freoview on July 27, 2018

 

 

school at Roundhouse

 

The Fremantle Roundhouse was full with students from the Margaret River Primary School this Friday.

150 of them, with teachers and parents, made the day trip to good old Freo to visit the Fremantle Prison, Maritime and Shipwreck museums and the state’s oldest public building the Roundhouse prison.

I helped out with the time ball at 1pm as we were short staffed, but it is a truly delightful volunteer job to talk to people from all over the world and with local and country students about Fremantle’s history.

We are always looking for new volunteers, willing to commit themselves for a day a week or a fortnight.

Did you know that Centrelink does allow this to be a work for the dole occupation and what better one to do! No stress, great and funny colleagues and getting to know all those lovely people from our global village. Come and try it!

 

Roel Loopers

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THE ROUNDHOUSE A VERY SPECIAL PLACE TO VOLUNTEER

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on July 3, 2018

 

Roundhouse school holidays

 

School holidays are a busy time for the Fremantle Roundhouse volunteer guides and it shows the dedication of the mainly seniors who come from wide and far to keep the Roundhouse open for visitors every day of the year.

Gino, who is pictured in the photo above, drives 45 minutes from Sorento to Arthur Head to provide his unique Italian charm. Other guides come from Darlington, Kelmscott and Rockingham to provide the invaluable tourist service. Without them the oldest public building in Western Australia might not have become the tourist attraction it is.

The Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides are in desperate need of more volunteers to do a day shift a week, or a fortnight. If you like to meet people from all over the world contact: enquiries@fremantleroundhouse.com.au

Roel Loopers

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ROUNDHOUSE VOLUNTEERS SUPPORT FREMANTLE’S TOURISM

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, Uncategorized by freoview on May 29, 2018

 

Nan at Roundhouse

 

This is Nan Jackson who today appeared in the Fremantle Gazette and in a Facebook promotional video. Nan has been a volunteer tourist guide at the Fremantle Roundhouse for ten years and deserves to be applauded during National Volunteer Week and the Fremantle Heritage Festival.

Around 150,000 overseas and interstate visitors yearly visit the old building at Arthur’s Head. Many school groups visit to find out about the history of the former jail, so the guides are being kept busy, and Nan’s knowledge about the history of Fremantle is amazing..

The Roundhouse was built by free settlers, not convicts, who came to establish the Swan River Colony in 1829, and because of excessive drunkenness, stealing and disorderly behaviour it was decided in 1830 to build the small eight cell jail, which opened in January 1831.

Every day at 1pm the cannon on the gun deck that overlooks Bathers Bay is being fired by a visitor, who receives a certificate, and the time ball above the deck is lowered. The guides who are in charge of firing the cannon need a dangerous goods and a pyrotechnic license, and that costs the not for profit organisation quite a bit of money

It is quite remarkable that fewer than 30 mainly senior volunteers keep the Roundhouse open every day, but for two, of the year. Only on Good Friday and Christmas Day is the museum closed. Volunteers come from as far away as Darlington, Joondalup, Kelmscott and Rockingham, which shows the real dedication and love for the job of talking one on one with people from all over the world.

The Roundhouse guides are often the first port of call for tourists in Fremantle, so they point them to other attractions, the best cafes, fish&chips, bars, concerts, events, etc. and also give them tips for their travels through WA and Australia.

The building is also used for wedding photography, and it has housed night concerts, functions, theatre plays, movies, art exhibitions and other events, etc.

It is a constant battle to keep the Roundhouse open because of the limited guide numbers, as it is difficult to find new volunteers willing to spend a day a week at the old building from 10am to 3.30pm. It is a very positive experience. Most visitors tell the guides how much they love Fremantle and its character heritage buildings.

The Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides would love to have more volunteers, so go and have a chat with them!

Roel Loopers

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