Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on February 1, 2018




The clouds over Fremantle created an unpleasant humidity for the Roundhouse volunteers and the sea breeze came in rather late and quite weak, so it was a bit of a struggle for just two of us.

But school holidays are over so it was rather quiet anyway. Nice view though.

Roel Loopers



Posted in cafe, city of fremantle, coffee, Uncategorized by freoview on January 10, 2018



After a well-deserved festive season break CHALKYS, one of my favourite cafes in Fremantle, re-opened today.

For those who have not discovered the little gem yet it is at No 1 High Street in the far West End of Fremantle and just 50 metres from the historic Roundhouse jail.

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, notre dame university, Uncategorized by freoview on December 14, 2017


I hear on the Fremantle Notre Dame University grapevine that they are considering an exciting new project in the historic West End on the corner of Cliff and High streets, where they were going to build the new School of Nursing and Midwifery building.

Rumours have it that NDA is contemplating changing the present carpark behind the so-called Wedding Wall into a public park, with water feature, historic interpretation of the old Freo tram, a place to linger and relax for NDA students, tourists and locals.

There might even be an archeological dig on the site, which is next to the former Tram Building and only metres away from the historic Roundhouse, before the park is created.

Just another exclusive for Freo’s View. ; >)


Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, education, notre dame university, Uncategorized by freoview on November 23, 2017




I noticed this silly No More Notre Dame sign in the windows of a Fremantle High Street building and wondered why business people would put up such stupid protest against the long-established Notre Dame University.

So you buy a property, basically in the middle of the twenty-year old uni campus, but then you protest against the institution growing, expanding and developing? How childish and immature!

Notre Dame is a highly-acclaimed university that is well-loved by its students and staff, and it is an integral part of the port city, and will continue to be that for decades to come.

The  signs are pretty inconsiderate also to the businesses who lease the two street level shops from the property owner, as 90% of their trade comes from the thousands of students and staff of NDA, not the hundred or so West End residents. I hope that the cafe and pharmacy don’t get boycotted because of the childish behaviour of the building owner.

Last night the never positive president of the Fremantle Society complained at Council about Notre Dame creating a monoculture in the West End. Really?

Monoculture means a single crop, or one type of animal in one area, but Notre Dame staff and students come from all walks of life.

There are 18 year-olds  and mature students, and in the breaks between lectures one can delight in a cacophony of multiculturalism on the streets and in the cafes of Freo’s West End.  I love it!

Fremantle has a problem with whingers who will always find something to be negative about, no matter how many positive things happen in our city.

We should be proud to be a university city, and work collaboratively and positively with NDA, because that will result in better outcomes for everyone.

The Customs House complex NDA recently bought will give them the much-needed room for expansion and student accommodation. That will help revitalise and activate the historic West End.

It would also be helpful if NDA leased the Coop building on the corner of Henry Street and Marine Terrace to a business that operates also in the evening, and not just a day-time activity.


Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, education, notre dame university, Uncategorized by freoview on November 16, 2017



I believe that people who think Notre Dame University is bad for Fremantle, and who claim that NDA have killed the historic West End, are not accepting reality.

Visit the Cappuccino Strip at daytime from Monday to Thursday and you’ll find it is pretty deserted, but go to High, Henry, Mouat, Cliff and Phillimore streets and you’ll see hundreds of NDA students and staff on the streets and in cafes.

The cafes on those streets would not survive without NDA patronage, and that’s why some of them close during the university’s summer break and on weekends because there are not enough people around for business without the NDA people.

It is true that after 5pm the West End loses appeal because there is not enough street level activation of night-time bars and restaurants, but NDA is working on changing that, and the acquisition of the Customs House complex will support those changes.

Let’s be realistic also about night-time ghost town accusations levelled at Notre Dame Uni. Ask the pub owners in Freo how trade is on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights and you’ll see a lot of long faces, because Fremantle is mainly a weekend destination and not a bustling entertainment centre during the week.

Development of the Customs House complex and possible student accommodation will help activate the West End, but a lot more needs to change in the Fremantle CBD to make it an attractive seven day a week day and night destination, and Notre Dame is not responsible for that.

New tourist and residential accommodation will help to achieve activation and so will more commercial and retail space. Some of that is under way and more planned, so patience is required.

The new buildings at Pakenham and Philimore streets will give NDA the opportunity to move some of its ground level offices to the new site and by doing that free up spaces for commercial use and increase street level activation along High Street.

It is estimated that NDA staff and students yearly spent $ 1 million in Fremantle, probably mainly on coffee and food, but without them the West End would be dead during weekdays.

The constant lament that the university does not pay rates is unfair because educational institutions in Australia do not have to pay council rates, and neither do churches, or Fremantle Port for that matter.

It would be better for the City of Fremantle if NDA had to pay rates, but that is not up to the uni or the city to change that. What should be done though is that when NDA lease out spaces to other businesses for commercial use it should at least pay some kind of rates for those properties, or agree to invest more in Fremantle through the Memorandum of Understanding they sign with CoF.

I am a big fan of NDA and love seeing the students in our inner city, as they create a real vibrancy and activation. The more of them we can keep in town after 5pm the better it will be for Freo.

More students living in Fremantle will increase demand for more small bars, shops, and night-time entertainment and that will help activate the West End after 5 pm.

So let’s encourage Notre Dame and property developers to create more affordable student accommodation in Fremantle. That would be a win win for all!

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, development, education, notre dame university, Uncategorized by freoview on November 13, 2017



Notre Dame University has bough the Fremantle Customs House site that comprises of  three buildings, from the corner of Phillimore and Henry Street all the way to Pakenham Street.

This will give the university significant space to expand and also to consider student accommodation in the heart of Fremantle’s historic West End.

It will also allow NDA to release street level spaces to lease for commercial use and much-desired activation at street level.

Vice Chancellor Celia Hammond said As with all of our projects we will proceed with the redevelopment of Customs House fully mindful of our role as a key member of the Fremantle community and the need to preserve the architectural integrity of such a historically significant building,” 

Although we have not yet decided on the building’s use, the vast floor area and the building’s three-street frontage, will provide flexibility of use and much needed space as the University continues to develop.

And with our commitment to the Notre Dame West End Activation program, it will be an important contributor to the continued revitalisation of the city’s West End,” Professor Hammond said.

A five-storey development of the Customs House complex was only recently rejected by Fremantle Council and the WA Development Assessment Panel, so it is great to see our local university acquiring the properties as it will bring real activation to the West End, especially if student accommodation there becomes a reality.

The university will also continue planning the development of 3-5 High Street, corner Cliff Street, and while these plans are being finalised they are planning beautification of the vacant eyesore.

Well done Notre Dame!!

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on November 8, 2017





It is slow news day in Fremantle today, so not much to blog about unfortunately.

But walking through Cliff Street this morning I admired the innovative architecture of the Mediterranean Shipping Company new building and the respectful way the old building has been restored to its former glory.

It is fantastic to see that North Fremantle Slavin Architects were allowed to design such a creative heritage of the future building by their client MSC, and I wonder why one of our major developers Silverleaf constantly puts up mediocre development proposals, such as the Woolstores shopping centre and Manning building sites.

Do Silverleaf’s designers not understand the importance of heritage and streetscape, or can’t they be bothered being considered about the unique character of the historic Fremantle inner city?

It is important in this context to hear what professional architect Carl Payne commented about the Manning Building proposal:

In terms of the scale of Village-Fremantle, this is a massive re-defining of a hugely-important central “super-block”. We need to preserve the maximum original structures as is reasonably possible, both externally and internally.
The brewery-barn takes a lot of important old rear buildings – some of the early residential sections of the original street-front commercial, so that’s always a worry, because we lose historic context.
If Council played harder-ball, the design brief could respond by converting these into inter-related “snugs”; like the cosy-corners in European and British pubs. It just needs some strength and commitment from Council; and some imaginative responses from the building designers and their client.
I’m sick of lose/lose.
What about win/win. It’s possible if we try hard enough.
My other additional preliminary comment is that we now have a chance to fully restore/reconstruct all original street verandas, yet we are being offered a banal boxy awning. Not good enough you building designers!!!

I want Mayor Brad to come out strongly; and NOT say that we need to encourage investment and therefore we need to give a little. Getting a bit sick of that from Brad.
He needs to make a stand on what IS acceptable; and what ISN’T acceptable. We can now look back on the last few “development years”……..and measure what is good; and what is not so good.
It’s not development versus museum town any more. Those arguments were had in the seventies.
We need to be more mature than that now.
If the building owners/developers wanna make a buck – fair enough, but not at the expense of the town; not at the expense of the heritage; not at the expensive of missing the point of what Fremantle has to offer.

We just don’t really get it – yet. We go away and look at old towns overseas – rave on about character; and history; and all that. Then we are happy with stuff that chips away at the edges to the extent that all this chipping finally removes what we wanted to keep in the first place. Death by a thousand chips. Will you have fish with that?



Re my earlier reference to a banal boxy awning – I see the drawings actually show a detail, and that includes verandah posts and wall brackets, so there’s a nod to “original” detail, but is this just a generic reference? Or have they done their photo research etc?? Is this authenticity? Or just Disney?
And gee, the Paddy Troy Mall now ends in a basement carpark entry. The road to cars-ville. City of Fremantle, just drop the car-parking requirements please. OR, maybe this is just a client-driven detail, for business-owners parking?? Either way, it just reduces the internal courtyard to roads and car-park access. Do we really want to do this??


Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, notre dame university, Uncategorized by freoview on November 6, 2017




It looks as if Fremantle Notre Dame University has abandoned their plans to build the new School of Nursing and Midwifery on the vacant block on the corner of High and Cliff Street in the historic West End.

I hear UNDA is looking for alternative options, but probably within their own property portfolio, so we’ll have to wait and see what will happen.

UNDA deserves to be congratulated for their community spirit and the fact they decided not to go ahead with the initial five-storey proposal, after Fremantle Council and the community objected to it.

The nursing school is very popular and has high demand, so there is a need for a bigger building to accommodate all those students who want to enrol in it.

Roel Loopers



Posted in bathers beach, city of fremantle, heritage, photography, Uncategorized by freoview on November 4, 2017


freo 2



I wandered around Fremantle’s lovely West End just before sun set on Friday and took some tourist photos of the beautiful late light.


Roel Loopers


Posted in art, city of fremantle, food, Uncategorized by freoview on October 31, 2017


High Street from tunnel

Fremantle High Street


It is going to be a nice warm week in Fremantle, so come and enjoy the sunshine in beautiful  historic High Street and be part of the Felice Varini yellow artwork.

Great coffee and food at the Yellow Lines Cafe, also known as CHALKYS!


Roel Loopers

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