Country Living in Laos

  After leaving Luang Prabang, we head further north, up a powerful and fast flowing river called the Nam Ou…   We’ve finally arrived in the agrarian Asia of mountainous Laos. Its a step back hundreds of years into a land of ducks quacking, chicks chirping, dogs playing, children crying and playing, river water mummuring, [...]


bathers 2 bathers 1

Isn’t it just fantastic to see the activation of the Fremantle Bathers Beach. The forgotten hidden treasure in the centre of the city has found a new life with the recent opening of the Bathers Beach House and the Old Port Project boardwalk.

The area had almost become derelict when MacDonalds, Wagamamma and the Dome closed there and only the Sweetlips fish&chips cafe kept the flag flying, but how things have changed. It was packed full on Friday at sunset and there was a real buzz about the place.

Not great beach weather this afternoon with the weather bureau predicting a big storm coming through.

Roel Loopers


wray 3 wray 2 wray 1

The City of Fremantle has put out a proposal for traffic calming on Wray Avenue and is inviting residents and shop owners to participate in an on-line survey.

The proposal would see the installation of two plateau humps that reduce vehicle speed and also provide clear pedestrian crossing points. There would also be a dedicated loading bay near Galatti’s. The re-design between South Terrace and Manning Road will not decrease on-street parking.

Roel Loopers


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The North Fremantle entertainment hub along Queen Victoria Street is more and more developing into ‘Funky Town” with great little cafes. It is in my opinion the perfect spot that cries out for a street market.

The PROPELLER Cafe is the latest kid on the block, just opposite the lovely Habitue restaurant and behind the war memorial. It shares great mural art with the Matilda’s Antique Centre and works out of a sea container. Also in ‘Funky Town” are Momo’s, Short Black Sheep, Mrs Brown and Flipside.

Roel Loopers

Top library favourites for 2014


Seeing as it is the season for lists, we did a quick roundup around the workroom to find out some favourites. Here are some of the books, films and audiobooks that staff at Fremantle City Library enjoyed this year. Feel free to let us know what you would recommend as the best of 2014!

Stoner by John Williams
The Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Bachman
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
Finding Nouf, City of Veils, and Kingdom of Strangers (series) by Zoe Ferraris

Non fiction:
The Good Soldiers by David Finkel
I, Migrant by Sami Shah
The Pillars of Hercules by Paul Theroux
The Wife Drought by Annabel Crabb

The Finishers
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Kids stuff:
Pop! by Catherine Bruton (Audiobook)
Once Upon An Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers

Filed under: General Tagged: 2014, best of, library favourites, library staff, lists



For Fremantle artist and unique very Freo identity Horatio B. Birdbath Christmas arrived early today when he saw the planter boxes with his art design on the Cappuccino Strip. The panels were manufactured in Italy and took a little longer than anticipated but they look colourful and fresh and are a loveley addition to the strip.

Roel Loopers


coffee club

It is good to see that new businesses have confidence in Fremantle’s future with the Coffee Club cafe opening today on the corner of Market and Bannister streets and news that a new pharmacy will be opening in High Street west early next year.

Puzzling to hear from a friend that a shop assistant in Market Street told him her boss did not like her to accept silver coins. This in a shop with a minimum Eftpos transfer of $ 15.00. Some Freo businesses need to become more welcoming and realise that the customer is king.

Also disappointing to see the unwelcoming electronic sign on the South Mole that wheel clamping will be introduced in the new year by Fremantle Ports to deter campers and people over staying the three-hour limit. As a tourist town we should be doing better than that.

Roel Loopers


If the local council reform bill passes parliament and if the East Fremantle electors poll against it is unsuccessful the new City of Fremantle will have one or more Commissioners from July 1 next year for at least five months.

Fremantle Council prefers to wait with new council elections until a ward system has been put in place, which would delay an election until March 2016, so how good or bad will it be for the enlarged Fremantle to have a Commissioner. History tells us that Commissioners are not just taking on a caretaker role but that they actively engage in governance and implementing new policies. There was quite a bit of controversy about that in Cockburn and Cannington with many unhappy residents.

At Wednesday’s full council meeting Councillor Rachel Pemberton suggested that the Mayors of Fremantle and East Fremantle, together with an independent person should be appointed as Commissioners for Fremantle, but is that the most desirable outcome? Councillor Bill Massie opposed the idea saying that no one who would stand for council at the next election should become Commissioner because it would give them unfair advantage. With so many individual residents and residents’ groups like the Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association(FRRA) and the Fremantle Inner City Residents Association(FICRA) unhappy about Fremantle Council and Mayor Brad Pettitt I wonder if the Freo community would be happy to see him making unscrutinised decisions for our city for up to nine months. At present there are 13 elected members at Fremantle Council and majority votes are required, but should only three people decide Freo’s future our Mayor’s focus on bicycles, high buildings and environmental sustainability might not sit too well with those in the community who are not Pettitt supporters. The same would apply to East Fremantle residents who are not happy with their present Mayor Jim O’Neill and who don’t want him to make big decisions for the new Fremantle without them having a say in it.

I am not sure that a city could only be in caretaker mode for nine months, with major decisions delayed till after the community has elected their new representatives, but I am also worried about the power of only one or three people to make irreversible – and possibly disastrous-decisions the community does not agree with. In a caretaker only mode the Commissioners could be the CEOs of East Fremantle and Fremantle together with an independent person, with restrictions put on their power by the State Government.

Roel Loopers

Freo loses its ‘Twiggy’

JOAN HENDRY helped define modern Fremantle.

She was a central figure of the 80s in-crowd, a glamorous hippy whose creative spark and party-all-night attitude fitted perfectly with the city’s emerging reputation as Perth’s bohemian capital.

“She was Freo’s Twiggy,” says one of her friends.

It’s hard to work out who made the comment; as five close friends gather to comfort each other in the wake of her death on Monday night, their words tumble over each other in the struggle to describe how she filled their lives to the brim.

“Joanie made you feel like you were the only person in the world,” says Kt Hannen, a long-time friend from the 80s.

“When she was with you, she gave you 100 per cent undivided attention.”

Gilly Brown was Ms Hendry’s closest friend; the pair met as nurses on the wards of Fremantle Hospital in the 80s and instantly hit it off. Ms Hendry needed somewhere to stay so moved into Ms Brown’s Beaconsfield home with her boyfriend.

Even after she married metalworker Robby Lang and raised a family, she barely moved out, says Ms Brown.

“She was here five nights a week for the last 30 years,” she laughs.

Ms Brown says her friend’s style, creativity and “naughty” streak made her a hit in Fremantle’s post-America’s Cup heyday.

“We made Fremantle what it is, with people like Jim Fisher and John Reed—we were the family of Freo,” she says.

She says her own children have been devastated by their “second mum’s” death.

“She was a wonderful mother, not only to her own kids, but to all the kids,” she says.

“I’ll need to find a new skinny dipping partner,” Ms Brown’s daughter Emma MacMillan confirms with a smile.

The pair are sitting on the couch where Ms Hendry gave birth to her son Gabe 19 years ago. He was charged with her murder on Thursday.

12. 51NEWS

They’re reluctant to discuss the circumstances of her death, but Ms MacMillan says she hopes a lasting legacy of Ms Hendry’s death will be an overhaul of the state’s mental health system.

Ms Hendry had tried to get her son admitted to Fremantle Hospital’s mental health unit, but it was closed for the night.

“If anyting can bring change in this mental health system, this will be it,” Ms MacMillan says.

The Barnett government has ordered an urgent review of the circumstances that led to Ms Hendry’s death, although acting mental health minister Peter Collier has said he can’t comment further because of patient confidentiality.

But local musician and fellow 80s A-lister Jim Fisher told the Herald he thinks people are angry enough to march on the hospital.

“If you can’t go there, where can you go?”

“I’ve gone from this feeling of shock and horror to this feeling of discontent.”

Mr Fisher says Ms Hendry’s death has had a huge impact on Fremantle’s community, as she’d been part of a crew that had formed deep relationships through the 80s and 90s.

Another of her close friends, Chadia Sheel, said she was a one of a kind.

“We used to call her Joanie the one and only, and that’s exactly what she was, she was unique, she was a Fremantle icon.”

Kylie Wheatley, who only recently had been organising a tent for Ms Hendry’s looming marriage to her current partner Bruce Abbott, says Fremantle has lost a “queen”.

“She inspired me, her family and friends inspire me.

“She will always be with us, her joy, her bravery, her strength and the love she had for her family will stay with us.”

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt was also a friend of Ms Hendry and said his heart sank as he rode past her house on Tuesday to see it blocked off by police tape.

“She was one of those larger-than-life people and she was an iconic Freo person that everyone knew, and that’s what makes it so tragic,” Dr Pettitt said.

Fremantle Labor MP Simone McGurk has asked the Barnett government for an urgent briefing on after-hours mental health emergency services.


Jabbed into action

TWO used syringes lay behind a busy Palmyra bus stop for five days despite being reported to authorities.

The bus stop on Canning Highway—just 50 metres from the Palmyra police station—has a narrow gap behind it which is just wide enough for a small child to enter. The small gap is also a magnet for litterbugs, with soft drink cans, wrappers and other litter adding to the mess.

The shelter doesn’t have much in the way of redeeming features, as a stinking bin enclosure from an apartment complex is straight over the fence; the smell when the Herald was there was stomach-turning.

The Chook’s informant spotted the used syringes on Friday night and immediately reported them to the WA public transport authority. When they were still there on Tuesday she also alerted a bus driver who promised to pass on the location.

13. 51NEWS

However, it wasn’t until the Herald contacted the department that the syringes were removed.

PTA spokesperson David Hynes says technically it’s not their problem, as the bus shelter is provided by Melville council which should have been notified. Our informant says no-one told her that when she rang.

Mr Hynes concedes responsibility is a “grey area” but says the PTA had tried to firm up responsibility by telling councils it would look after aluminium bus stops “and the area in which the actual boarding takes place, to ensure that it can be done easily and safely”.

He says a maintenance crew happened to be in the area when he was dealing with the Chook’s enquiry, and it was able to remove the syringes within an hour.

Deputy frozen out

EAST FREMANTLE deputy mayor Jenny Harrington has been mysteriously sidelined by her own council from having any role in the expected merger with Fremantle.

Both councils met this week to nominate interim commissioners, having decided at earlier joint talks to put forward their two mayors and deputies.

But East Fremantle surprised its big cousin by deciding at a behind-closed-doors meeting that councillor Sian Martin would be nominated with mayor Jim O’Neill, leaving deputy mayor Harrington out in the cold.

The move had been set up earlier in the month when town councillors removed references to the deputy mayor in an officer’s recommendation and inserted “an elected member” instead.

Cr Harrington was absent from that meeting.

She wouldn’t comment to the Herald about the change and neither the mayor or town CEO have returned the Herald’s calls.

Fremantle, which went with the original plan at an open council meeting this week, warns East Freo’s machinations threaten to derail the process.

“There is some concern about the town’s position of not automatically nominating their deputy mayor, as this may not give the minister a level of confidence to agree to the appointment of five commissioners,” warn port city staff in a report to council.

As a result Fremantle will propose a Plan B and ask the minister to consider three commissioners if he’s unhappy with the East Fremantle arrangement.

Mayor Brad Pettitt says the five-commissioner plan was an attempt to make the interim council more representative of the merged entity.

Both Fremantle and East Fremantle are pushing for wards in the new city, not one city-wide ward as recommended by the WA local government advisory board. But organising a ward system could see unelected commissioners remain in place longer, and that’s not something Mark Woodcock from the Fremantle Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association is happy about. He says wards should be ditched, as per the Walgab recommendations, and elections be held as soon as possible.

Mr Woodcock says wards allow councillors to represent voters’ views but also pave the way for minority groups to pressure councillors. He says wards have led to too many people walking onto council unopposed, which paves the way for an underperforming council.

“To establish a ward system before October 2015 we would need to delay democracy and leave a state government-appointed commissioner in charge of the city with little or no oversight,” he says.

“At the end of the day a district election shows a truer form of democracy and if the electors decide they prefer the ward system after the next election they can ask to have the boundaries adjusted, as is their right under the Act.”


Hug a gum

TREE-HUGGERS—literally, they hugged the tree—have won a stay of execution for a mature white gum in Hilton that was just hours away from being axed and chipped.

Hannah Wilkins rushed across Chadwick Street, where she’s lived for 12 years, when she was awakened by the sounds of chainsaws. Workers had already toppled a large jacaranda and several other trees.

She quickly clamped her body around the surviving gum, vowing not to move, and was quickly joined by neighbours.

“It has to be one of the tallest trees in Hilton,” Ms Wilkins told the Herald.

“It’s beautiful and used by a large cross-section of wildlife, including birds and bees. Hilton is a suburb renowned for its heritage and gardens—it didn’t seem right.”

The property has been vacant for around eight months and is being cleared for infill housing.

Mayor Brad Pettitt says the property owner has agreed to postpone a decision on the tree until the new year: “She has verbally agreed to halt the chopping of the tree until we hold discussions on what can be done to save it,” he says.

• Nadja Kubalsky and Hannah Wilkins hug a gum to save it from the chipper. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

• Nadja Kubalsky and Hannah Wilkins hug a gum to save it from the chipper. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

“There should be some planning variations we can make to accommodate the development and the tree.”

Neighbour “Rus Bus” says he and other protesters were issued move-on notices by police, despite having already shifted from the property onto the public pavement.

“I’m gutted, the first thing I knew about it was when I woke up this morning,” he says.

“It’s a gorgeous tree, we want to keep it.

“We’ve already lost the jacaranda at the back.”

Neighbour Eva Day says the tree was one of the reasons she moved into Chadwick Street and she was happy to see locals taking a stand together.

Fremantle has a significant tree register which offers protection, but if the tree is on private land it is up to the landowner to voluntarily add the tree to the register.

Nadja Kubalsky says there should be incentives for landowners to add trees, otherwise they won’t bother.

According to a recent report by the sustainable futures institute, Fremantle has just 10.4 per cent canopy coverage—the second-worst rate in the greater Perth region. The council recently formed a green committee to improve it.


Parents ‘welcome’ school change

PARENTS at Hamilton Senior High School welcome its closure, even though they face a longer drive taking their children to South Fremantle, says principal Donna McDonald.

Hamilton SHS’s principal since 2007 she’s sad about “losing this lovely old lady” but parents recognise the benefits of being able to enrol their children in a school with a comprehensive academic stream.

Earlier this week WA education minister Peter Collier announced Hamilton will close and the site will be sold. Its student body will be transferred to an expanded South Fremantle SHS campus on Lefroy Road in Beaconsfield: “The site will be substantially upgraded and expanded to create the Fremantle College, at a cost of about $30 million,” Mr Collier said.

Ms McDonald said parents were initially concerned but as they’ve learned more they’ve become excited at the possibilities.

“I am also the president of the local Rotary club so I get around meeting people quite a lot, and my sense is that the community is really supportive,” she says.

“I have been proud of my staff, because all they can see is the positives.”

Some jobs are likely to be lost.

Ms McDonald says she’s already booked an appointment with the WA public transport authority to sort out bus routes and is confident it’ll be a smooth transition.

She’s also eyeing off the top job at the College, but says it’ll be advertised when the mergers happen and will no doubt attract a field of candidates.

The existing South Fremantle SHS board will be bolstered heading into the mergers with the inclusion of Curtin University professor Peter Newman and Notre Dame University education dean Michael O’Neill.

Board chair Rachel Robertson is delighted with the school’s growth, saying it adds to the impetus the school is already gaining from becoming an independent public school in 2015 (independent schools have more autonomy to make local decisions at a school board level).

Already 200 new students have enrolled, Ms Robertson says.

“We have a strong record of industry partnerships, community support and excellent student outcomes to build on in the future,” she says.

“With this announcement, we can now work towards our goal of a larger and even more successful school that retains our key values and community support but which offers additional outcomes for students.”

Fremantle Labor MLA Simone McGurk and mayor Brad Pettitt both welcome what’s being promoted as a merger, but caution it must be matched with a financial commitment from the Barnett government.

Ms McGurk says the process has taken too long and caused too much unnecessary community grief. She says parents will feel betrayed if they enrol their children at the school only to learn the much-talked about academic stream isn’t operational in its first year. Traci Gamblin, the driving force behind the lobby group High School Options for Fremantle, says her group would have much preferred to see John Curtin College of the Arts open more of its enrolment to local students. However, with that campaign lost she says it’s time to get behind Fremantle College and ensure it offers a full range of educational opportunities.


Smelly bration

A LOCAL businessman says his customers are being put off by horrid smells from a local hotel cleaning its bins and loading bay.

Stephen Zito runs Cellarbrations liquor store on Canning Highway just near Stirling Bridge and says every time the Tradewinds Hotel hoses out its bins and bay, the waste forms a stinking stream right outside his front door. His gutter is adorned with a grey smear, flecked with detritus.

He’s been complaining about it for years, but was prompted to call the Herald this time because tiny East Fremantle council had told him it was too busy to send anyone to investigate.

“It’s pollution, because that water goes straight into the stormwater drains,” Mr Zito told the Herald. “I didn’t think you were allowed to let waste water leave your property.”

• A high-pressure spray leaves the Tradewinds’ bins clean, but a local businessman says the grime and smell is putting his customers off.

• A high-pressure spray leaves the Tradewinds’ bins clean, but a local businessman says the grime and smell is putting his customers off.

He says many of his regulars walk to the store and they all comment about the stench.

Tradewinds manager Peow Lim told the Herald his staff did what they could to control the water, but there wasn’t anywhere to contain it.

“When we clean the loading dock we do try to push the water onto the vacant site next door, but some of it does go down the street,” he conceded.

Mr Lim promised to get someone to give the street in front of Mr Zito’s shop a sweep.

The Herald didn’t hear back from the council.


Roe the ‘wrong way’

THE federal and state governments have kicked in the millions to finish Roe Highway, but Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt says it’s taking the wrong—and expensive—route.

Earlier this week federal senator Mathias Cormann joined WA premier Colin Barnett and transport minister Dean Nalder in announcing the commitment of cash to build the freight link, which will be WA’s first toll road, although at this stage it only applies to trucks.

The federal government has promised $925m, while the state government is to kick in another $591m—which Mr Barnett acknowledges will add to the state’s debt in the short term.

But Dr Pettitt says they’re wasting money and there’s a  cheaper option that will divert the highway past the sensitive Beeliar wetlands.

He says he’s been urging Main Roads to revisit an early option to send Roe down an existing rail corridor and back onto Stock Road closer to Beeliar Drive.

He says that will make the highway easier to link with the Outer Harbour, which is pencilled in for a 2025 construction. Dr Pettitt says the feedback he’s got from Main Roads is that they’re concerned about the impact on residents along the route, but he says the destruction of the wetland is “indefencible”.

• Matt Taylor, Mathias Cormann, Dean Nalder, Mike Nahan and Russell Aubrey joined premier Colin Barnett to announce Roe’s got the money. Photo by Steve Grant

• Matt Taylor, Mathias Cormann, Dean Nalder, Mike Nahan and Russell Aubrey joined premier Colin Barnett to announce Roe’s got the money. Photo by Steve Grant

“The problem with Main Roads, and it’s the same with High Street, is that they see A-Class reserves as vacant land to put roads through, rather than as important environments,” he told the Herald.

But Melville mayor Russell Aubrey couldn’t contain his grin at Wednesday’s announcement.

He says the federal commitment is vindication for his unwavering support for the project over more than a decade; even in the face of stiff opposition from neighbouring councils Fremantle and Cockburn.

The three are part of the South West Group of councils which recently released its wish list for state funding.

Top of the list was Roe Highway, which had Labor’s Cockburn MP Fran Logan hopping mad.

He wants to know why Cockburn and Fremantle are supporting the project through the SWG, given they’re publicly opposed.

But Mr Aubrey said the two councils were simply outvoted, while Dr Pettitt says they support an upgrade to Stock Road, but without going through the wetlands.


Anti-war graffiti to stay

POLITICALLY charged graffiti on the old woolstore in Elder Place will be allowed to stay under Fremantle city council’s street art policy.

Since last year the council has been allowing graffiti it likes to stay up, instead of ordering that it be painted over.

This piece depicts a soldier standing over a woman, then enters the third dimension with a woman’s figure crushed under a pile of rubble at his feet, reaching out to offer the soldier flowers.

The pair stands on a background of the Palestinian flag, painted over the previous “disabled vessel” signal.

• An arm emerges from the rubble.

• An arm emerges from the rubble.

Community development director Marisa Spaziani and council public art expert Corine Van Hall decided to let this one stay.

Mayor Brad Pettitt says since the policy was introduced last year about a dozen artworks have been spared from oblivion. Police initially opposed the policy, fearing it’d draw vandals to the area.

But Dr Pettitt says he’s “very happy” with the way the policy’s worked, “and the other thing that’s been interesting is the way that tagging and other graffiti has dropped”.

“There were some fears there’d be an increase in that, and we’ve actually seen a decrease by getting people to focus on quality street art.”


A century of service

“MY wish was to go to India to teach children there but God had different plans for me.”

Instead of following in the footsteps of Mother Teresa, Sister Canisius, born on the Croatian island of Brac, was sent to Fremantle in 1936, just before the outbreak of WWII.

More than 78 years after disembarking from the SS Orontes in Fremantle, the nun has achieved another milestone, celebrating her 100th birthday yesterday.

“It took three weeks to get here and there wasn’t a lot here in those days,” the affable and widely known and loved sister told the Herald. “There were hardly any cars—a few horses but mostly people seemed to walk or catch the bus. They sent me here because there were a lot of Croatian people who had already been here many years.

“When I came there was no priest, no nuns … no pastoral care for these Croatian settlers. Our order, the Sisters of St Joseph of the Apparition, are missionaries and while I and three of my contemporaries volunteered for India we got a letter from our nuns in Fremantle to send someone for the Croatian community. The four of us left Marseilles and arrived in Fremantle on the 17th of November.

“Our convent was near St Patrick’s. There was very little in Fremantle and Spearwood was a very small place. Everyone worked extremely hard. I remember there were six Australian families, six Croatian families and six Italian families working the market gardens. There was no machinery, everything was done by hand—even the watering.

“Once a week, on Monday morning the families would load their produce onto a truck. One family had a truck and they would pick up all the vegetables and take everyone’s produce to the Perth fruit and vegetable market in Wellington Street. The children worked hard as well. They told me they didn’t like holidays because they had to work in the market gardens. Even when school was on they had to work before and after—it was a hard life.”

• Sister Carnisius celebrates her birthday with past students and well-wishers at the Croatian Community Centre in North Fremantle.  

• Sister Carnisius celebrates her birthday with past students and well-wishers at the Croatian Community Centre in North Fremantle.

After studying and attaining teaching qualifications in Perth, Sister Canisius (born Katica Mladinic) caught a bus to St Jerome’s in Spearwood—then one of only two primary schools in the area—where she taught everything from the times table to spelling, reading and social studies. She recalls the poverty of the time, and says only people who could afford to pay school fees did so.

Sister Canisius devoted 49 years to teaching at St Jerome’s, the girls’ boarding school at St Patrick’s, St Joseph’s in Albany and Christ the King in Beaconsfield. But pastoral care was her other passion and she paid regular visits to inmates in Fremantle prison, brought succor to the sick in hospitals (30 years at Fremantle Hospital until a fall two years ago), and visited the elderly in nursing homes, a task she still undertakes today.

She has been a regular Tuesday institution at Villa Dalmacija since it was built 27 years ago and was duly recognised with a morning tea that stretched well into the afternoon on Tuesday. Similar celebrations were held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Hilton and St Anne’s church in North Fremantle.

One of Sister Canisius’ fondest and strongest memories was the first Croatian Mass in WA in 1937. It was held in Spearwood’s St Jerome’s church which, she told the Herald, was built “stone by stone” by migrant, mostly Croatian, volunteers—and was celebrated by Father Lancelot Goody, later to become Archbishop of Perth.

“Father Goody went to Split, Croatia to study for 18 months and when he returned he came to St Jerome’s,” she recalled. “He knew enough Croatian to say Mass—you should have seen the people at church that day. Word got round of this Mass and people came from miles around, mostly on foot, and some came from as far away as Wanneroo. There were more people outside the church than in it.”

Mass in Croatian was not celebrated again until the 1950s.

After her teaching days ended in 1985, Sister Canisius took to teaching catechism, initially for Catholic children who attended government schools and then as a helper to various Croatian priests in North Fremantle and Gwelup. She maintained this regime until 2004 when she told Father Nikola Cabraja, who is still the parish priest at St Anne’s, that she would withdraw from teaching because “it isn’t nice that children can hear me but I can’t hear them”.

Sister Cansius was 90 at the time.

“She was aways a pleasure to work with,” Fr Cabraja recounted. “Her quiet authority will remain etched in the memory of generations and the respect she imparted to them is a magnificent legacy.”

Sister Canisius says her greatest blessing has been her good health: “My mind’s good—that’s the main thing for me and my good health is a great blessing from God—not everyone is blessed in this way,”she offered from her order’s home in Samson.


Doing democracy
CONGRATULATIONS to the Herald for publishing “Please explain” (December 6, 2014). To target the three councillors for exercising their right to vote as they see fit is in our view an attack on democratic principles.
Congratulations and thank you Crs June Barton, Nick Pazolli and Susanne Taylor-Rees for doing a wonderful job and voting for what you believe is right.The councillors represent the ratepayers and community and thank you for your dedication and hard work. The councillors are voted in by the people and have equal vote on matters. Some mayors and CEO should step back and say “are we over-stepping our role”?
Denise Hefron
Denny Way, Alfred Cove

For rail, Tine?
ARE you for real, Tine Arvid, Marine Terrace, Fremantle? (Herald letters, December 13, 2014). This really is drawbridge mentality. You move next to a working railway line, you expect to hear train-like noises. The idea of a night-time curfew is utterly ridiculous!
Alice Rowell
Mewstone Crescent,
North Coogee

Terrace tyros
I TOOK this photo Wednesday, which disturbed me, showing skateboarders skating down the steps of the Monk on South Terrace, just missing a person in a wheelchair.
They continued with their antics and no person did anything to stop them. There were three skateboarders. Later I was down Collie Street in a shop and there seemed to be a continuous stream of skateboarders coming and going.
Please can you advise who I should send my complaints to at the council as I think this trend needs to be stopped quickly before the holidays get into full swing.
Jacky Jarrett


Mental health in crisis—get loud about it
GOVERNMENT deficit? It was distressing to hear of Joan Hendry’s unfortunate death this past week.
Joan Hendry was in the best position to say her son needed help. She did the best for her son and sought the medical help he so desperately needed. It is beyond comprehension that he was turned away from Fremantle hospital.
As a mother and mental health carer of many years I can tell you a short consultation in the ED does not enable a good risk assessment. Mental health consumers in crisis need to be monitored over a 24-hour period to make the best decision.
Why did that not happen in this instance? Who is to blame? The government must share the responsibility. Funding to mental health services has been cut. What did they think was going to happen?
Mental health carers are a resilient lot. However, there is a limit to living with ambiguous loss and threat to personal safety. We do this work 24/7 and we are in the best position to know when our loved one is becoming unwell and requires crisis intervention.
It is morally reprehensible that the government is not listening; will it listen now?
There are not enough salaried mental health workers to meet increasing demands and also not enough beds. The ED is the worst place to accommodate mental health consumers when they are in crisis. Why should an extraordinary amount of taxpayers’ money be spent to refurbish the premier’s office and build a pond in the middle of Perth when the most vulnerable in our society have to suffer?
It makes me really angry and distressed when a mother and her unwell son could not receive the appropriate care he needed that resulted in her untimely death. Her son is also a victim in this story.
Mental health is in crisis. I urge taxpayers to speak out loud about how the budget is spent. Do not sweep this issue under the carpet: it does not belong in the too-hard basket either. What will you do?
I offer my sincere condolences to Joan Hendry’s family.
Name and address supplied

I BET the residents of Bicton and Palmyra are dismayed to find the new council boundaries mean they have been shunted over to the council that killed Fremantle.
Suzanne Hanley
Calpin Cres, Attadale 

Road Madness

Yesterday’s announcement that the State and Federal Governments intend to spend $1.575 BILLION dollars on a truck freeway from the Roe Highway to Stirling Highway in Fremantle is the most depressing news I’ve heard all year. It’s depressing because it’s based on false logic, traffic engineers globally acknowledge you cannot build your way out of congestion. It’s depressing because all it will do is shift the bottleneck to North Fremantle, hence solving nothing. It’s depressing because that money should be spent on a high quality Freight Rail connection between Fremantle Port and freight terminals at Kewdale and Forestfield. It’s depressing because while the Abbott Government is throwing money at the truck lobby he is simultaneously ripping money out of social services, climate research, foreign aid, universities, CSIRO and god knows what else.High St truck

Albert Einstein said: We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. Well that’s exactly what these guys are trying to do. Using thousands of trucks to move thousands of containers per annum created the congestion in the first pace, now they want to double that number of containers on double the number of trucks by throwing money at it. What sort of warped solution is that?  What is needed is a new paradigm, that new paradigm is rail, new rail.

Why is Mr Abbott so hell bent on building roads, he just lost the Victorian election for the Liberals by trying to foist a huge road on Melbournians. They rejected him at the ballot box, so he has brought his mega road here, and believe me we do not want it either! We want a cleaver, logical solution to freight transport. Bring on our State Election and let Western Australians send the same message as the Victorians did.

My heart goes out to community groups like Save Beeliar Wetlands and Road to Rail (R2R), they have just had a huge king hit. As container movements from the port escalate over 1 million Fremantle will be come hostage to a truck freeway don’t dare cross it and there will be no way round it. Still the truckies hope they can save up to 9 minutes on a trip from Kewdale to Fremantle so it must be worth it!

WA young children most vulnerable in cuts to homeless services – Greens

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren says a new report shows that thousands of young WA children will be amongst the worst affected if sorely needed Federal funds for homelessness services are cut. 

“Christmas is a time when we think about making children happy. But this Christmas there are thousands of young children in WA for whom the future looks grim,” Ms MacLaren said. 

“The report by Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on the delivery of specialist homelessness services shows that in 2013-2014, more than 5,000 WA children aged up to 14 years old accessed specialist homelessness services in WA. The majority of these children – just under 4,000 of them – were less than 10 years old.

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I cautioned some time ago on this blog that Fremantle Ports had set no limits for “discretionary height” allowances for the planned Victoria Quay development and last night showed that the Ports is worried about the City of Fremantle wanting to put a height limit in its submission to State Government. Fremantle Ports consultant on VQ, CODA architect Kieran Wong said that a maximum building height limit was not supported by Fremantle Ports and that it could discourage the market from investing there. Wong said that the COF Planning Scheme Amendment 49 had shown to be too conservative in its discretionary height allowance.

Only the very naive would have been surprised by Mayor Brad Pettitt’s amendment to alter the City’s submission to the State on discretionary height and to accommodate Fremantle Ports, and that Council approved this, as they are falling over backward to appease and please developers.

What this means is that Fremantle could end up with one or two very high buildings on Victoria Square against the wishes of the extensive community consultation that wanted height restrictions. If a developers now wants 16 storeys on VQ Fremantle Port could allow an additional six storeys in “discretionary height’ on top of the preferred 10 storey maximum height. That shows again what a shambles community consultation in Fremantle has become and how insincere Fremantle Ports is about it.

I remember well that one of the options Kieran Wong suggested at a public meeting was for one or two tall and slim iconic buildings on the quay.

It is clear that Fremantle Ports would get more for the sale of a parcel of land with unlimited building height, so this is all about money and not about amenity and beauty, and it is not about staying in character with the Fremantle lifestyle and getting the most visually attractive outcome for our city.

The recent sale of the Woolstores shopping centre site shows how gullible Fremantle Council is. When a consultant to then owners EG threatened to walk away from developing unless they could get more height, Council panicked and added more discretionary height. But the sale shows that EG never intended to develop the land and that the portfolio had a use-by date to sell off that property by the end of this year. All they wanted was an increase in land value and the naive Fremantle Council obliged happily.

To make it clear, Fremantle Council has no say in what happens on Victoria Quay and development decisions are in the hands of State Government agencies, but to allow a bland non-specific amendment about discretionary height in their submission, they really invite the DAP to ignore it, because the wording shows that COF does not really care about how high Victoria Quay buildings will be.

And let me come back to the often mentioned slim iconic high buildings. A 16 storey building on a 75×75 metre footprint will optically look slimmer that an 6 storey-building with the same footprint, but it does not make it a slimmer building. If architects and developers were serious about building higher and slimmer they should do a pro ratio swap. For every additional storey granted under discretionary height rules they should deduct floorspace on every floor. So if an additional storey gives them 5,635 square metres more floorspace, all floors have to be reduced in seize to make up for that. I doubt they would be interested building higher if that was the case.

Before people come yelling and screaming that I am one of those Freo people against height, this is not about height per se but about yet again slapping community consultation in the face and taking the community for granted and ignoring our preferences. A single ten-storey building and another 6-7 storey one at Victoria Quay is more than enough and is what the community asked for. The push for unlimited discretionary height on VQ is unacceptable to the Fremantle community!

Roel Loopers


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The announcement of a new Friday night market at Princess May Park, starting January 16, is making Fremantle the capital of markets. We will now have the all weekend Fremantle Markets and E Shed Markets, the Mad Hatter Market at Kings Square, the Wednesday Carnivale Market at Victoria Quay, then the Princess May one on Fridays, the Saturday one on the beach and on Sunday the very popular Growers Green Market at what will soon be known as Fremantle College. There is also the market-like The Mantle on the corner of Beach and James streets to enjoy on weekends.

Last night the seabreeze was howling like mad so the Carnivale organisors made a good decision and moved the markets inside B Shed. I believe that created a much better ambiance than the 15 stalls on the quay which looked a bit forlorn there, so I hope they will make it permanent inside the historic shed.

I took the photos very early as I had to go to the Council meeting, so it looks very quiet. Stallholders assured me it gets very busy at VQ and that the little market is popular.

Roel Loopers


Fremantle based SHAC-Sustainable Housing for Artists and Creatives have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Access Housing to construct 12 affordable rental dwellings on the Kim Beazley site in White Gum Valley that is being developed into a large residential area at Stevens Street.

Donaldson and Warn are the project architects.

I am always skeptical when I hear the word affordable, because there never is an upper or lower limit to what is supposed to be affordable, so do we mean affordable to people on $ 75,000 a year or people on unemployment benefit or a pension? Is affordable rental property $ 200 a week or $ 400 or more?

Now that we will have affordable housing for creative people what about a co-op for street cleaners, garbos, shopping trolley collectors, etc. I am not at all sure I like the ghetto for certain professions idea. What do you think??

Roel Loopers

SHAC and Access Housing to create first new co-housing site in WA for 15 years.

This week Fremantle-based artistic cooperative Sustainable Housing for Artists and Creatives (SHAC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with  Access Housing this to construct 12 affordable rental dwellings within LandCorp’s new White Gum Valley Kim Beazley former school site.The aim is to provide affordable housing for artists who work in the well-recognised cultural and artistic centre […]


The WA State Government has announced the go ahead for the State’s first toll road to pay for the $ 1,6 billion freight link from Muchea to Fremantle Port.

The freeway will run West of the Kwinana Freeway and run through the environmentally very sensitive Beeliar wetlands, where about 38 hectares of bush land will be destroyed to make way for the highway extension.

It is amazing that the government allowed the rail system from the bush to run into disrepair that resulted in the closure of it. When the whole world is concerned about climate change and pollution, the Barnett government still believes that building roads is better than investing in rail.

Toll will be charged per kilometre travelled, which no doubt will put prices up and might jeopardise WA’s export chances for certain products.

Roel Loopers

Government Rebuked on Reckless Roe 8 Highway Move

Greens MLC for the South Metro Region, Lynn MacLaren today rebuked the state government for its disastrous decision to plough a highway through the precious Beeliar Wetlands.

“The Barnett Government is fiscally reckless in its decision to announce $591 million of WA money to build the unpopular Roe 8 highway extension. In an already tight budget year, this is a poor expenditure choice,” Ms MacLaren said.

“Ploughing a highway through the last large wetland system in the Perth metropolitan area is environmentally irresponsible.

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Fremantle Summer School Holiday Guide 2015


Looking for things to do with the kids in Fremantle this summer school holidays? Fre-info’s guide has it covered, from art classes and music workshops, sports, movies and more.

View it online or pick up a hardcopy at the Fre-info desk at the Library.

Filed under: Kids Activities Tagged: 2015, fre-info, fremantle, fremantle summer school holiday guide, school holiday guide, school holidays, summer school holidays

Responsible Freo cafes putting plastic in its place

As part of the City of Fremantle’s One Planet commitment to waste reduction, the City and the Fremantle Business Improvement District (BID) are calling on all Fremantle cafes to join the Responsible Cafes program. The Responsible Cafes program aims to reduce the amount of plastic waste from disposable coffee cups. The City is getting on […]

Eager Man Awaits Slurpee Opening

When 'dat opens me getting me a Slurpee.

When 'dat opens me getting me a Slurpee.

This is the new 7/11, formally Gloria Jeans.

Surprising to see a 'chain' store close its doors. But Gloria Jeans is not really a 'chain-store', it's a franchise, meaning local ownership of a 'Father' brand.

Subway, Gloria Jeans, Dome, Muffin Break and many of the 'chain' food stores are actually local businesses, run this way because local ingredients are necessary and food quality cannot be controlled from a single head office 4,000 kilometres way.

7/11 is a franchise, too. Franchises operate off the back of organised systems (and not because a local merchant has a burning desire to express themselves in retail). That said, without franchise systems many merchants wouldn't get their start in retail.

The argument though, is our school kids should be coming up with our next retail ideas and not our migration agents. Our migration agents are selling franchises in-toto with our business migration visas. It's no secret among the development community that once permanent residency is attainable the business is put on the market for sale; and some become cynical vehicles for entry into Australia.

But who cares? As Warren Wilmot, CEO of 7/11, says "The advantages of Asians is that work very hard and like to work together as a family." And that's good. Business migrants often bring extensive family-experience in retail with them from their hometowns. They work hard, we're told, and they favour businesses with long hours because there's more opportunity for the whole family to muck in.

We all know our Greek, Italian and Vietnamese retailers delivered that social capital to our mainstreets in spades. With no language advantage and general prejudice probably impeding other forms of employment, retail has been the vehicle for ambition and social capital in my country for as long as I've known.

And the corner delis we may look back at with pride weren't without their corporate branding: Winfield 25s; The West Australian newspapers and Coca-Cola have been on every corner shop in Australia since forever.

And whilst the children of our immigrants will soon be forced to do a medical degree at UWA, we actually want them to bring all this retail expertise back into our mainstreets as retail entreprenuerliasm and new shops. Because it's that which generates an interesting and diverse streestscape; which pumps the development community along too.

So enjoy our migration agents and franchises bringing families in to settle on our street corners. But as district managers we must be clever and have dialogue with these families.

When their residency is settled we want their retail knowledge back on our streets in a new retail businesses - not shipped off to medical degrees at UWA.

'Twas Gloria Jeans.

'Twas Gloria Jeans.


Last Storytime for 2014!


Ho Ho Ho everyone. It’s that time of year again filled with fun and celebrations. The time has come for our final storytime of 2014 on Thursday 18th December. We will take a break over the summer holidays to resume our normal program on February 5th 2015. We all wish you all a safe holiday, a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

This week’s final storytime is again a Christmas theme, filled with some great stories and finishing up with a homemade (by your little one) Christmas ornament to hang up on your tree.

We hope to see you at 10am this Thursday 18th.

Filed under: Kids Activities Tagged: christmas, storytime, xmas

DAFWA misjudged public opposition to GM

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren has applauded a ruling this week by the Organic Industry Standards & Certification Council not to allow any genetically modified products in organic foods. 

“This is a win for common sense and public opinion,” Ms MacLaren said. 

“The WA Department of Food and Agriculture made an application for a 0.9 per cent threshold of allowable GM contamination in organic foods but their application was overwhelmingly outnumbered by submissions against allowing any percentage threshold.

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Laos, The Road North

    Got scooter but don’t want to drive it 12 hours north?  Not a problem.  We’ll get a couple of the guys from out back. Laotian ingenuity and cheerful disregard for health and safety are soon on display (why is that girl standing under the scooter?!).   Vang Vieng is the first stop on [...]

Join in the Summer Reading Club!


Register at the Library to receive a Summer Reading Club pack filled with goodies. Once you have completed your reading log of 10 books or hours, bring it to the library for a reward and entry into our local Summer Reading Club prize draw. Enter as many times as you like by reading more books! There are also other competitions to enter on the Summer Reading Club website:

Happy reading everyone! All entries must be received by the 31st January 2015.

Filed under: Kids Activities Tagged: school holidays, summer reading club


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Come and say G’Day to Western Australia’s oldest public building the Roundhouse jail on Arthur Head in Fremantle, on the coast of the Indian Ocean. Built by the first British settlers it opened in 1831.

It is open daily from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm and each day at 1 pm (1300 hours) the cannon on the gun deck is fired.

Roel Loopers

Merry Christmas: A 2014 wrap up from Lynn MacLaren MLC

What an exciting year it has been! The journey over the last twelve months was filled to the brim with positive campaigning and hard work from staff and volunteers; I thank all of you for your support.

In the wrap up for 2014 it is clear which campaigns took precedence and carried momentum that resulted in great outcomes (some are some still simmering, watch this space).

Issues that took the lime light have ranged from same-sex marriage reform, to halting a proposed shark cull in the state, from efforts to ensuring safety for cyclists and preserving out native South West forests. We voiced our concern about waste incineration and an unruly state budget that impacted our most vulnerable members of the community. In and amongst these matters came a plethora of issues that we worked on but cannot be listed in one email!

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A Retail Community In Pictures

No two mainstreets are the same.

1,372,511 people were counted in October across 11 of Perth's mainstreets.

See how Monday to Sunday varies for each mainstreet by clicking ahead.

 Fremantle: Market Street
 Fremantle: South Terrace
 Fremantle: Adelaide Street
 Fremantle: High Street West End
 Claremont: Bay View Terrace (east)
 Claremont: Bay View Terrace (west)
 East Victoria Park: Albany Highway
 Victoria Park: Albany Highway
 Nedlands: Hampden Road


West article on how “Bike racks in car bays lift shop trade”

Bike racks in car bays lift shop trade  Kent Acott Converting on-street car parking into bike racks could be a gold mine for inner suburban businesses based on an analysis by Australia’s top transport research authority. In its two reports out this week, Austroads, the research body representing Australian road authorities including Main Roads WA, […]

Slidestreet and Cappuccino Street Closure – fours Sundays in summer

The giant 300m long Slidestreet pop up slide will be in Fremantle along Essex Street, sliding from the Cappuccino Strip down towards the Esplanade on every Sunday from the 21st of December until 11th January. The first slide day will embrace the festive session, with Christmas themed sliding sessions, carollers and new years resolution trees […]

Calling all Freo song writers – WAM’s Song of the Year

The City of Fremantle is a sponsor of WAM’s Song of the Year (Rock category) Artists can nominate their song up until next Monday 15th of December. This year there is a record breaking $40,000+ worth of prizes to WA’s finest upcoming and established songwriters. WAM is again championing upcoming and established WA talent across […]

Full Freo 2029 Visioning Report now available

The Fremantle 2029 Community Visioning Project was a community engagement process which aimed to involve a wide range of Fremantle people including those who are not normally  engaged in the future of Fremantle. I think it’d be fair to say it partially succeeded with close to 1 000 people attended five major workshops and three […]

Angkor – The Lost Kingdom

Arrived in Siem Reap – flew over a vast delta of rivers and floating villages here and there amongst the glinting waters of the Cambodian plain. Into Siem Reap and immediately errant chickens on the side of the road and bicycles bring me back into South-East Asian life. Walked down the river into down town [...]

Public will oppose Premier’s decade-old rogue shark obsession

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren has backed a new study that has found that the WA Government’s ‘Imminent Threat’ shark policy is largely based on Jaws movie mythology, saying the Premier’s public comments over the past decade reveal an alarming level of determined ignorance. Description: <--break- />

“Back in 2003, the Premier was convinced that a single shark was lurking off Cottesloe, preying on the people of the western suburbs,” Ms MacLaren said. 

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Christmas, begging and homelessness in Freo

In the lead up to Christmas there has been renewed discussion around homelessness and begging in Fremantle. The last ever 7.30WA Report story on Friday covered this topic from a Fremantle perspective. The Sunday Times and Fremantle Herald have also run articles on it recently. Broadly speaking, they examined the City of Fremantle’s recent […]

$100,000 for FORM to cook up maximum impact

Entrepreneurial arts organisation FORM are set to receive $100,000 from Impact100 Fremantle after it’s innovative work at 100 Hampton Rd Fremantle was voted the most deserving among four outstanding finalists at the Impact100 Fremantle Grant Awards last Thursday.


In an out-pouring of community spirit and generosity over 100 people attended the event to celebrate the collective giving groups impressive total of $115,000 in donations.

South Lake Ottey Centre, DADAA and St. Patrick’s Community Centre each received $5,000 as a Finalist. After an anonymous donor stepped forward a further $5,000 was awarded to South Lake Ottey Centre to support their outstanding Noongar Rangers project.

With the support of Impact100 Fremantle FORM will install a commercial grade kitchen and run weekly cooking classes at 100 Hampton Rd to inspire and engage 192 residents of the lodging house. FORM General Manager Rebecca Eggleston is delighted:

“It’s an honour to be able to take this initiative forward together with the Fremantle and Impact 100 community who have embraced and supported this effort to reshape the opportunities for residents of 100 Hampton Road and along with it, are growing the strength of Fremantle’s community.  We welcome the community’s interest and invite you to get in touch if you would like to be involved.”

This year 106 separate businesses, individuals or families each donated a minimum of $1,000 to Impact100 Fremantle to create a “game changing” grant for one local organisation addressing Mental Wellbeing and Homelessness.

Fremantle Foundation Executive Officer Dylan Smith said the success of Impact100 Fremantle lies in its simply approach to giving back:

“If we enjoy the great benefits of the beautiful Fremantle area, we should also shoulder some of the responsibilities.

As a donor of Impact100 Fremantle you know exactly where your donation is going, you can be involved as much as you like in the granting process, then you get to attend a great event and vote to decide the winning organisation. We’ve been overwhelmed with the response.”

“FORM’s 100 Hampton Rd project is very exciting. It’s a great project for the whole community to get behind.”

The post $100,000 for FORM to cook up maximum impact appeared first on Fremantle Foundation.

Fremantle Toy Library Christmas Storytime


Join us at Fremantle Toy Library for a special Christmas storytime!

Friday 12 December 2014
10:30 – 11:30am
For 2-5 year olds

Hilton Community Centre
Paget Street, Hilton

Bookings essential, phone 9331 8705

Filed under: Kids Activities Tagged: christmas, fremantle toy library, hilton, storytime, toy library

Greens support $90 000 crowd fund campaign to save Margaret River’s Mowen Forest

Media statement, Friday, 5 December 2014

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren has today welcomed the launch of a crowd-funded campaign that will aim to raise enough funds to match the slim profit margin proposed by the State Government to log 1600 hectares of native forest in Margaret River.

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WA Police – Moving into the Comunity

Here’s hoping the new Frontline 2020 will reduce the need for a Police Reality TV Program to provide the incentive to target undesirable activities in Beacy
Remember – See it report it

Call Crimestoppers 1800333000 or 131444

Beaconsfield Precinct December Meeting – change of location

Enjoy two hours of cold drinks and canapés.

DATE Tue 9 December 2014
TIME 6.00pm – 8.00pm
VENUE North Fremantle Bowling Club
ADDRESS 8 Thompson Rd, North Fremantle


To rephrase a Chinese proverb, Government is slow, but the community patient, and that has certainly been the case with the neglected heritage Warders Cottages in the Henderson Street mall.The Fremantle community has been in uproar about the neglect of the historic buildings since the Housing Department vacated all tenants from them, and the Fremantle Society organised a SHAME campaign to raise awareness of the disgraceful condition of the important buildings.

In May Premier Colin Barnett announced State Government would be spending some $ 4 million on heritage and today Heritage Minister Albert Jacobs announced in a media release that the State has lodged a development application with the City of Fremantle.

$ 2 million will be spend to conserve, modernise and return the cottages to active use again, with drainage and the limestone walls the priority of the initial work that will start in the first quarter of 2015. Mid next year the Government will decide on the most appropriate use for the renovated cottages.

Roel Loopers


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The oldest public building in Western Australia does now have its own Facebook page ROUNDHOUSE FREMANTLE, so become a friend and support the efforts of the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides,

Share your stories and memories of the Round House, Arthur Head and Bathers Beach with us, upload photos, artworks and help make it an active and fun page to visit.

Roel Loopes