Freo's View


Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, culture, festivals, fremantle, indigenous by freoview on October 24, 2016


KAYA you Freo mob!

The fantastic WARDARNJI Aboriginal festival starts of this year’s Fremantle Festival this Friday evening at the Fremantle Arts Centre from 6.30-8.30 pm, so make sure to bring the whole family for this moorditj(deadly!) event of music, song, dance and bush tucker.

Aboriginal culture is very rich and over 40,000 years old, so this is a great opportunity for us Wadjelas(non Aborigines) to connect with our blackfella brothers and sisters and create a better mutual understanding.

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle, fremantle festival by freoview on November 8, 2014

dmaritime musum, tiff

When you have children there are two things you should be doing in Fremantle today. Take them to the Maritime Day on Victoria Quay organised by Fremantle Ports. It starts at 10 am.

After that go to the Wardarnji Aboriginal Festival at the Fremantle Arts Centre. Runs from noon to 5 pm and is a lot of fun.

See you there!

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle by freoview on October 8, 2014

Round House 1



The Fremantle BATHERS BEACH ART PRECINCT  is one-year-old and has failed to do what it set out to do; activate the area. That only comes as a surprise to those naïve Councillors who came up with the flawed concept that artist studios would be huge attractors to the Freo community and tourists. They were never going to be and the small residential heritage Pilot’s Cottages were never going to attract top W.A. artists, simply because they are unsuitable and too dark for studios and too small for serious art galleries.

The BBAC is also always flawed because it tries to incorporate three significantly different areas. There is the top of Arthur Head at Captain’s Lane, the J Shed down at Bathers Beach, and Kidogo Arthouse at the Old Port Project. The historic significance of the area was ignored because some young Councillors decided it would be perfect for an arts precinct. It never was and never will be.

The only business that has worked up at Captain’s Lane is the Glen Cowans Photography Gallery, and one only has to walk in to see why. The place just oozes professionalism and class. This is as good a gallery as one can get in a tiny cottage, with great displays, furniture and outstanding photos, all printed and framed to very high quality. Wander next door though to the Wild Twig artist collective and one is in a different world. Yes, they try hard but they lack the style and class the Cowans gallery has.

Next door to that Mutima tried very hard and had a lovely gallery but their concept was bewildering because they also sold clothes. But at least they did have music and movie events that actually attracted new people to the area.

The Aboriginal Cultural Centre is also struggling to attract sufficient visitors’ numbers to warrant existence and I am not surprised about that. It was always just Wadjela-white people- patronising tokenism to put something as significant as our City’s indigenous centre in a shitty little residential cottage that formerly was the office of the harbour pilots. Our Nyoongar brothers and sisters deserve something much better and more prominent, in a better inner city location, and I feel sorry for the delightful Brendan Moore who is trying to make the Centre a success.

It shows how serious the City of Fremantle is about our Aboriginal Centre that the yearly funding for it is less than the money spent on the once a year four-hour Wardarnji Festival. Appalling!

J Shed at Bathers Beach has housed successful professional artists for over twenty years, so why was there suddenly the eagerness that sculptor Greg James and his artists in residence, and ceramic artist Jenny Dawson and her collaborating artists had to become performers, open to the public? These are professional business people who work throughout the year on public and private art projects worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, but that was not good enough for those who don’t understand the arts industry.

The main attractor at Arthur Head is the Round House, our State’s oldest public building. More than 110,000 people come through the door there every year.

It is kept open by less than 40 Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides, who have an office, lunchroom, kitchen and toilet in a small cottage at Mrs Trivett Lane. These mainly elderly volunteers open the Round House-hail or shine-363 days of the year from 10.30 to 3.30 and fire the cannon at 1 pm, but that is not good enough for the COF officers who have told them that to get a new lease on the cottage they will have to share it and one of the rooms of the cottage needs to be activated and opened to the public. Why?!

Before the Bathers Beach Art Precinct started there was 24/7 activation of the area. The Harbour pilots did their day and night shifts, the Crookes family kids brought friends home from Lance Holt school to play on the grass, the family had friends over and barbeques and engaged with passing tourists. Many overseas visitors were introduced by the kids to our local bush tucker when the lilly pilly were in abundance.

The Fremantle Society held their meetings, let other organizations use the cottage, created heritage festival events at Arthur Head, community Boche nights, Australia Day fireworks BBQ, etc. and I lived there as the care-taker, but they, like the Crookes family and Fremantle Port Pilots, were not good enough for the City of Fremantle. The area needed to be reactivated with artists studios, and what a flawed concept that is.

Where are the activation events of BBAP? Where is the art market, why is Wardarnji not held up there but at the Fremantle Arts Centre, why are the community Boche nights in collaboration with FICRA not re-introduced?

Instead of activation of the area we now have a nightly ghost town up there that attracts anti-social behaviour. Most cottages are only open from 11-5 Thursday to Sunday, the Aboriginal Centre is not open on weekends, and on weekdays only from 9am to noon. On the long Queens Birthday weekend only the highly professional Glen Cowans Photo Gallery was open on the Monday, and of course the Round House.

Activation does not happen, it has to be inspired and organised and real money has to be spent by the City of Fremantle to make it work. Why not have a pop-up bar one evening a week as they do in Lemon Lane in Claremont, for example.

The one summer event that really and highly activates the area is the Saturday Bathers Beach Sunset Food Markets. It attracts many thousands of people who are all loving it, and it is of course a private enterprise because at Freo Council they wait and see and do the same old, same old festivals each and every year, and none of these festivals embrace the west end of town with any significance.

I love art and I have been advocating for an indigenous centre in Freo for many years, but unfortunately the Bathers Beach Art Precinct is another one of Council’s  flawed ideas. And now the new silly idea is to put a live music venue and micro-brewery at J Shed. Yep, let’s ignore the heritage significance, yep, let’s ignore it is an art precinct, let’s now try an entertainment precinct instead. Do you have any more bright ideas, Freo-thought bubble-Council?

Roel Loopers

Disclosure: I am a volunteer guide at the Round House and also involved in the Bathers Beach Sunset Food Markets.


Posted in aboriginal, fremantle by freoview on July 2, 2014

NAIDOC Week July


The NAIDOC Week celebrations are on next week from July 7 to 11, so head to the Fremantle Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Arthur Head at 12 Captain’s Lane. The official opening is on Monday at 12 noon, but the big event is on Friday July 11 from 5-8 pm with a smoking ceremony, Nyoongar dancers, a performance by Phil Walley and there will be Aboriginal food.

On Tuesday from 10 am-12 noon are art classes, on Wednesday jewellery classes during the same time period, and on Thursday there will be story telling also from 10 am till noon.

The Aboriginal Cultural Centre is open on weekdays from 10 am to 2 pm, so pop in and say Kaya!

The ACC will take over the organisation of the Wardarnji Aboriginal Festival during the Fremantle Festival this year, so stay tuned for that

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle by freoview on November 1, 2013

KAYA! Come and join the WARDARNJI Aboriginal Festival at the Fremantle Arts Centre this Saturday November 2 from 12 to 5 pm. It will be MOORDITJ, or deadly in Wadjela language.

Enjoy music, dance, a corroboree, try bush tucker, participate in the activities, or check out the displays.

Richard Walley will play the didge, the Wadumbah dance group will be there, as will the Yorga Boys, the Moorditj Mob, Kwarbah Djookian, Gya Ngoop Kobori, Merindas and the Rhythm, Phil Walley Stack and Clint Blacknell.

It will be a relaxing afternoon.

Roel Loopers




Posted in fremantle by freoview on November 3, 2012

Unfortunately the rain started just as the Aboriginal WARDARNJI FESTIVAL got under way at the Fremantle Arts Centre. It’s not often that we get rain during the Fremantle Festival but it looks like we’re going to have a wet weekend, which could affect the Coffee Festival and Tweet Run tomorrow as well.

Here only a few photos I took while dodging the rain.

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle by freoview on March 28, 2012

The precincts network meeting at the Ellen Street Bowling Club last evening, organised by the City of Fremantle, showed and interesting inside in how the bureaucracy works and thinks. The evening was all about upcoming festivals and the main speaker was Alex Marshall of the Cultural Development Department, who willingly answered questions from the floor.

Questions why festivals were not conducted more in the West End, and the Festival parade did not go further down High Street to Cliff Street, received the answer that it was a chicken and egg thing. Because the west end is not well frequented, performers don’t like to go there during the Street Arts Festival, and the parade would also attract less people. These are of course fair points, and Alex rightly pointed out his department is not responsible for economic development. But should there not be an overriding team that combines the different departments? Should not festivals be the draw card to also get more people to those parts of the city they might not normally go to, where they support struggling retailers?

Could the City for example not subsidise a few street artists who will earn less money when they perform for a few hours near i.e. the Round House, the North Fremantle hub, and South Beach, to name a few?

We also heard last year’s very successful Hidden Treasures evening music events in the West End clubs, will this year be moved to the East of the city and be based near Clancys and the Fremantle Television Institute (FTI). The question must be asked why. Clancys is already a thriving music venue, and while last year the West End traders embraced the festival and opened their shops on Thursday nights, had couches and fires on the High Street and footpath sales, there are no traders in the east end of town but Target, Woolworths, etc. So the festival will not at all support local retailers.

My suggestion that maybe the City should encourage the west end clubs and traders to organise their own Hidden Treasures Festival at the same time as the one in the East, and the City could then promote it as a bigger, city wide festival, was not warmly embraced by Alex Marshall.

I believe  the Economic Development  and the Cultural Development departments should work closer together on festivals, as they attract huge crowds to the city. Those crowds should benefit as many businesses as possible, not only those located on or near the Cappuccino Strip. For example the Wardarnji Aboriginal Festival could be relocated to the big empty square in front of Kidogo Art House, or the lawn next to the Round House.

For that same reason it needs to be questioned why the Fremantle Festival will start with the Blessing of the Fleet this year. Both events  pull large numbers to Fremantle and that benefits retailers. To keep them separate, even by only a few weeks, will mean double dipping for retail, as those people might come twice to Freo instead of just once. The Fremantle Festival should have its own big opening and not muddle the waters by starting with a religious event that has done very well for many years, and is embraced as a tradition by many, including myself.

It is understandable that City of Fremantle departments need autonomy to function well, but they can’t see themselves as being independent and not part of the bigger picture, which is to promote city businesses and help them survive and strive.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on November 27, 2011

I already posted photos from Saturday’s Fremantle Festival‘s Tweed Run, so here photos of the other events I went to; the Wardarnji Aboriginal Festival, the Calling all Ukuleles at  the Town Hall and the Reggea Beach Party at South Beach.

Roel Loopers

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Posted in fremantle by freoview on November 26, 2011

If you are not going to be part of the FREMANTLE FESTIVAL this weekend, you might as well leave town or sign up for a retirement village stay, because today is festival mayhem with many events to participate in. This is what makes Fremantle a unique and special community, so come along, take part, let your hair down, be silly, smile and have fun!!


TWEED RUN is the first cab of the rank starting at Leighton Beach at 10, from where they ride to Princess May Park at Clancys for all afternoon fun.

BLUE SMOKE HAZE RIDE is at Kings Square from 11.

WARDARNJI ABORIGINAL FESTIVAL at Fremantle Art Centre from 1 pm. Join our indigenous brothers and sisters to celebrate their culture, and see that Aboriginal people are not just the loud obnoxious drunks we see around Freo often, but delightful, generous, artistic, funny people, who have a beautiful culture and great sense of family.


SANTA RUN starts at the Esplanade at 10.

EAST FREMANTLE FESTIVAL in George Street all afternoon from 1.


Posted in fremantle by freoview on November 24, 2011

If you are interested in fun, culture, art, people, community, and music, the coming weekend will just be right for you, with the Fremantle Festival banging on all doors. Don’t stay at home and complain later that nothing ever happens in Freo. Participate, smile, be part of what makes this city so special.

Get to Leighton Beach on Saturday around 10 to line up for the TWEED RUN to Princess May Park (Clancys backyard) where they’ll have a festival all afternoon. Lazy ones can stay on for the evening’s live music.

There is also the Blue Smoke Haze Ride at Kings Square from 11-2, the Wardarnji Aboriginal Festival will be at the Art Centre all afternoon, and from 4-7 you can enjoy the Reggea Festival at South Beach, from where you should be going to KULCHA at 8 to listen to Samual Dass.

If you are more the quiet type, walk up to 11 Captain’s Lane from 12  and make your own Cabbage Hat and have tea and scones while being creative.

I am just about exhausted writing this, so will be well and truly stuffed on Saturday night, but it will be great fun!! Watch this blog for photos of many of these events!

Roel Loopers


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