Freo's View


Posted in fremantle, fremantle ports, heritage, maritime, tourism, western australia by freoview on September 21, 2016


I went to take some more photos of the demolition of the historic luffing crane on Victoria Quay this morning.

It’s a disappointing sight that is even more concerning when the excuse is that there is an identical crane next to the Maritime Museum, because a source at the museum tells me that the crane is a so-called State asset but the State does not supply the museum with funding to maintain it. This means we could hear the same story in a few years that for safety reasons the cranes at the Maritime Museum also have to be demolished.

I also hear the Maritime Museum suggested to Fremantle Ports to relocate the E Shed crane to a location near A Shed and the museum but that was rejected by Fremantle Ports.

I am sure this is all due to Fremantle Ports’ plans for the development of Victoria Quay and a hotel on the Challenger TAFE site near the South Mole.

When money talks heritage protection has no voice!

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle, fremantle ports, heritage, historic, maritime, state government, western australia by freoview on September 20, 2016

Maybe I am just a sentimental old fool but it makes me really sad to watch the demolition of the old luffing crane near the E Shed Markets on Victoria Quay in Fremantle.

It is outrageous that the crane was not offered for sale years ago when Fremantle Ports decided it was going to let it rot and not maintain it. The excuse that it now has to be demolished for safety reasons is rubbish. It could have been put in front of the Shipwreck Museum or at J Shed for example to add another attraction for tourists.

I am all for progress and have nothing against good change, but the disgraceful demolition by neglect in WA needs to stop, or we’ll soon see the old George Hotel in East Fremantle go down for “safety” reasons as well.

If we don’t respect our past we have no hope in hell creating a better future!

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle, paddy troy by freoview on May 31, 2015

colour trees 2 colour trees

Paddy Troy was a very colourful and powerful person in Fremantle’s history, and the lane named after him has now also received colour with the trees along there painted. I am not sure how painting trees will affect their health but assume it has been done with approval from the City of Fremantle parks department.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle, fremantle ports by freoview on October 14, 2014


I have mentioned many times on this blog that I love Fremantle Port and its constant activity and vibrancy. It is one of my favourite locations in Freo that I visit daily to check out what is going on, as I did today.

The whale watching boats attracted a large crowd who were promised there were humpback whales just north of Rottnest Island, while the cheap Tuesday Rottnest Express fares were also popular.

On North Quay an old crane is being dismantled and the departure of a container ship is always a spectacular sight.

I am looking forward to the planned Victoria Quay development. It is essential to get all the detail right and to not let developers push the envelope for unacceptable height or boring cheap buildings. If done well the waterfront of Fremantle could become a great attraction for tourists and locals alike and something that has been missing in our city. To sit and relax at a working port is very exciting, so let’s hope State Government won’t make too many compromises to make a fast buck, but that they’ll insist on quality and class for our historic port.

Roel Loopers


Posted in aboriginal, fremantle, fremantle ports, victoria quay by freoview on October 9, 2014

The City of Fremantle Special Projects Committee had a first discussion about the just released plans for Victoria Quay by Fremantle Ports. My first impression is that the Ports have listened and taken all the community workshops input into account and the plans are so much better than the two ugly ING boxes proposed years ago that were abandoned due to public pressure.

What we now see is a series of low 4-5 storey buildings with just one higher 10-12 storey building east of Queens Street.

This is an integrated plan and a lot about connectivity between the CBD and the waterfront, with a shift of the busport to the east and a new entry from Queens Street.

There would also be a new railway crossing at Pakenham Street, and Peter Huges Drive in the Port, north of the railway line, would be extended all the way to Cliff Street, which would be an alternative east-west connection to Phillimore Street.

I think these are sensible and acceptable plans that  still require detailed fine-tuning and consideration, but as an overall concept they are positive for Fremantle and to activate Victoria Quay, so well done to Fremantle Ports and consultants CODA for listening so well to the community and all the stakeholders.

On behalf of the Fremantle Society I spoke yesterday against the proposal for a substantial building on Pioneer Park along Short and Pakenham streets and warned that we can not afford to lose more green open space in the inner city, even more so because new development will see many more people using the CBD and they will need green lingering nodes and places for people to relax and children to play.

I pointed out that the City’s desire to activate the reserve was partly to blame on them because they have done little to make the park attractive. For example why is there not a playground near the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre that attracts a lot of kids?

But thinking about it this morning I thought I could envisage a row of 2-3 storey residential townhouses along Short Street being quite attractive and taking up only a small percentage of the green space.

I believe that the City of Fremantle in general needs to better plan public and green spaces, as they do at Subi Centro in Subiaco where the Carter Lane precinct is being promoted as “Green Spaces Galore” and being a “distinctive feature of the precinct.”

There is a bit of ambiguity in the statement that Victoria Quay would have retail that does not undermine retail in the CBD. How is that going to work? The area is designed as a commercial/retail/tourism precinct so that would have cafes, bars and restaurants which would no doubt compete with those along the Cappuccino Strip and elsewhere in the inner city. It’s a silly notion really to believe a new waterfront destination will not attract people away from the CBD. Of course it will, but that is just the way the world works and CBD traders will have to counter act that.

Concerns were raised that there is the opportunity for building heights to go up if they have excellence in design, but that no limit has been set on the additional discretionary height. That is not acceptable and needs to be addressed, and there needs to be a Design Advisory Committee appointed for that and not been left to the discretion of Fremantle Ports.

The idea raised by some Councillors that there could be a “development authority’ for implementing the VQ development is not a bad one as it would bring cohesion to it and deal easier with stakeholders like the Public Transport Authority. This would also take care about a possibility that only the commercially most viable buildings would be built but the public realm neglected.

I am not sure why there would be the need for weather proof access to the train station from the Post Office in Market Street, as Councillor Sullivan keeps talking about. It sounds a bit too much to me as those ugly passage ways they build between school buildings and I can’t see any need for that in a city environment. All over the world one crosses station forecourt squares without being protected from the rain or sun, so why Fremantle needs to have something like it, that will be a visual barrier at Market Street, and needs to be high enough to accommodate buses and trucks, is not something I support. It is a walk that takes two minutes so why we would need protection from the rain and sun I do not understand.

The timeframe and implementation of the plans are crucial I believe. Ideally we would not want VQ commercial office space to compete with that being built at Kings Square, so hopefully Sirona Capital will get a head start and pre-lease the Myer and Queensgate buildings soon and can get started on the development there that is most essential for the re-activation of the inner city.

I am worried about Freo’s short-term future but excited about the long-term one. The modernisation and revitalisation of our city is essential to retain the State’s second city status and it is crucial for our local economy and traders. The entire development of Fremantle though needs to be handled sensitively and the authorities need to insist on high quality and well designed new buildings. Boring bland concret boxes will not do and have to be rejected vehemently.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle, photography by freoview on August 16, 2014

It has been very busy in Fremantle port lately with massive queues yesterday and today at the Rottnest Island ferry, a lot of container ships berthed at the wharf at North Quay and this morning a navy ship arrived. It is not often people see a tiny line boat so close up so it got a lot of attention from the crowd.

Roel Loopers

Have a look at my new website: ROEL.COM.AU



Posted in fremantle, fremantle port by freoview on July 31, 2014

Lightning Port

Common sense has prevailed at Fremantle port with DP World and the MUA agreeing to continue to negotiate on a new workplace agreement.

Although there will be a four hour work stoppage this afternoon, DP World will not contract out work to rival Patrick and union members will continue the loading of cargo at North Quay.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on June 7, 2014

The 100 year-old Fremantle Workers Club is old and tired and not surviving financially, no matter how much effort a group of great and hard working volunteers are putting in. Although the club significantly increased its membership and number of events, it is still struggling to the point that there are now serious considerations to sell off the building, with a possible move to a new to be built club house at Ellen Street that would be shared with the tennis and bowling club there.

If this should happen, the Workers Club would find a temporary home at the South Fremantle Football Club, while the Ellen Street clubhouse is being built.

It is sad that in our modern times workers clubs are no longer viable. The hundreds of wharfies who worked at the port have dwindled to just a few because of modernisation, and the average punter wants more ambience when going out for a drink than just a big empty space that lacks atmosphere.

President Don Whittington and his partner Ruth Belben, together with a very small team of dedicated volunteers, have kept the club going, but there is only so much they can do, and if the community does not support these clubs better they will all disappear out of the inner city and that would be a real shame.

This Sunday at 7 pm the invigorating ZYDECATS will be playing at the Fremantle Workers Club. Come on! Go have a dance and a few drinks at the Club!!!

With the move to Cockburn by the Fremantle Dockers, and the City of Fremantle keen to get the oval and facilities back, I wonder if there would not be an option to make the Workers Club into the Dockers club house, as they have indicated they want to keep a presence in Freo. With financial input from the Dockers, maybe a first floor and roof deck could be added to the Henry Street premises, and the two clubs could share.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on May 21, 2014

Fremantle Ports is conducting restoration work on the wharf at Victoria Quay near the Rottnest ferry terminal. Rotten timber is being replaced with steel pilon.

Looking at the work, I wished Fremantle Ports would do a large-scale heritage interpretation of the old wharf, as the old timber looks quite impressive. The small glass window, that was supposed to allow one to look under the wharf, at the Tasty @ B Cafe, never really worked because it should have lights underneath to avoid the window just becoming a reflection of the sky. Whoever designed that should have known better.

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle by freoview on March 14, 2014

It was the first time and the weather was not great, so let’s hope that the Fremantle Victoria Quay food markets by Fremantle Ports will grow, because it was  a rather lackluster event with little atmosphere on Thursday evening. All the good food stalls were there, so I hope for all those small businesses that trade will improve over the next weeks.

Roel Loopers

VQ market

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