The Fremantle Society of Western Australia

This blog has moved!

The Freo Tribe blog has moved to We are redirecting all traffic, so everything should be seamless; let us know if you notice anything amiss!

[Update:] The redirect applied to everything except the news (RSS) feed, and so we have turned it off for now. It will be turned back on tomorrow, after newsreaders have had time to update. Sorry for any confusion!

Written by Sam Wilson

October 29, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Posted in communication


leave a comment »

Liveable Cities Forum


leave a comment »


We had a lively committee meeting on May 18, 2015 and one of the subjects raised was the announced sale by State Government of Fremantle Port. Committee decided to contact the City of Fremantle to get more information and we have since had a meeting with acting Mayor Josh Wilson, so stay tuned.

Our Planning&Heritage subcommittee will be revitalised with new members and a roster to attend and monitor full council and council committee meetings. This will result in more submissions to council, addressing council and committees and making sure we are on the ball and know all about future development and plans for our city.

We noted with regret that the Minister for Lands has approved the use of the A Class reserve at J Shed for the development of the Sunset Events tavern and live music venue, but will oppose this in a submission to the Director of Liquor Licensing, when the application for a license is made.

FS will donate a total of $ 500.00 to the RESTORE NEPAL fundraising concert on June 13 at the Fremantle Sailing Club, that includes the hire of the PA system for the music.

The Kings Square development and financial plans are an ongoing concern that FS has been monitoring for some three years. Committee decided it would be futile to go through a Freedom of Information process as financial and perceived confidential matters would be blackened out anyway.

We are collaborating with Notre Dame University on how to better engage younger generation in local government and are planning to do a public forum the students will organise and run.

FS also wants to run a soapbox kind of public events in pubs and other venues where topics relevant and important to the Fremantle community would be discussed.

Roel Loopers-Vice President


leave a comment »

The Bank of Ideas presented  Peter Kageyama, the author of Love of Cities at the East Fremantle Yacht Club this morning and it turned out to be some sort of ‘love in’ because Peter’s talk was all about loving the city we live in and to create an atmosphere for visitors that make them love our cities. What is comes down to is basically common sense; less red tape and allowing creative people to implement their ideas with the support of local government. Relationship between the city and its people is a two-way street and what kind of relationship we have with the place we live in. Do we see the beauty or are we mainly concerned with rubbish collection, parking, traffic, pot holes, maintenance, etc? Loving the city one lives in is all about fun and that applies to visitors as well, Peter told us. It is also about people interacting and communicating better through creating space where people can meet. For example pop up dog parks, where the dogs are the ice breakers between people. Peter showed photos of a now pedestrian friendly New York Times Square, a traffic bridge that once a year becomes a long dining table, people leaving love notes, stencils that read It’s Good To Be Here! Signs around cities that point and say It’s only a 12-minute walk to the Arts centre, etc. It basically is about the low hanging fruit, things we all can do and that don’t have to cost a lot of money. I agree with Peter that sometimes we have to break the rules, and councils need to be more flexible, to create the place we want to live in. Sometimes it needs to be shown how silly some of the rules and regulations we have are. It is essential to have time and places for fun and play as that is where we form a relationship with other people who live here. Cities need to surprise and delight people, so they return for another visit. An important message Peter gave us that if it is all about the money we will never have great public art, and I will add, we might not have had the Fremantle Youth Plaza. Great ideas do not have to have immediate economic return.  Value exceeds cost if it has a high impact. Maybe the solution we are looking for is a solution we have never seen before, so it is essential to be open-minded and embrace new ideas, even if at government levels those ideas are not fully understood. It should be an absolute objective to involve those who are not part of the decision-making, and not to forget that love is the best thing people do. It is always inspiring to listen to people who step away from the norm and dare to be different. Fremantle has many creative people and many good ideas float around in our city. All it needs is for council to be brave enough to embrace as many ideas as possible and not to get bogged down with nanny-state mentality.   Roel Loopers


leave a comment »


Fremantle Ports is to be congratulated for the thorough public consultation workshops and the excellent work by Kieran Wong and associates of CODA architects.

The Fremantle Society is excited about the opportunities the planned development of Victoria Quay (VQ) offer. This is a great chance to acknowledge the historic significance of the port and celebrate the importance of C.Y.O’Connor as one of Western Australia’s outstanding achievers for his role in building the harbour and the Perth to Kalgoorlie water pipeline.

A modern Victoria Quay gives us the opportunity to interact with the local Wadjuk indigenous people through a cultural centre where visitors can experience the culture and history of the traditional custodians, take part in story telling and music events, purchase art and sample bush tucker.

VQ should showcase the significance of the wharfs and the labour movement and should also show the extensive photographic historic collection Fremantle Ports has. A Migrant Museum telling the stories of the thousands who arrived on ships would also become an important attraction for any new development.

The Fremantle Society believes VQ should become a 24 hour destination for locals and visitors alike, so it is essential that the mix of office, leisure, retail, entertainment, tourism, parking facilities is carefully balanced and managed. A day time ‘village’ that becomes a night time ghost town is not acceptable and neither is a shopping centre like precinct.

Better and increased connectivity between VQ and the Fremantle CBD is a priority as is the connectivity between VQ and Bathers Beach/Fishing Boat Harbour.

VQ should not compete with what inner city Fremantle already offers, and what it will offer more off once Planning Scheme Amendment 49 becomes active, instead VQ should become exemplary in its difference, while blending in with the human scale Fremantle is loved for by tourists and residents. The quality of the space and its use need to be authentic. The tenancies need to be for real commercial purpose and any retail needs to be of a very high standard.

As a destination and attraction Fremantle Ports needs to encourage operators such as the people behind Little Creatures to develop unique, quality and authentic offerings on the wharf.

Buildings of different shapes that are reflective of the elements of the area, and of different heights are essential to make the area attractive, as are public open spaces, public roof gardens with harbour views, green spaces and ‘activity pockets’ for children.

Existing historic buildings need to be carefully integrated in any development and while relocation might be the easy option more creative solutions need to be encouraged to allow the buildings to remain as an historic cluster.

The lack of significant public green spaces in the inner city and in the vicinity of the port means that erecting buildings on historic Pioneer Park should not be considered, instead the park should become one of the major attractions of the area. The park has been under utilised predominantly because it is not very attractive. This can and should be improved as part of the VQ development.

The Fremantle Society believes an ‘Urban Scale’ approach to development at VQ is the best way forward to develop Fremantle. Building heights need to be varied so bland sameness is avoided. It would be prudent to vary building heights from 15 metres to 25 metres at maximum heights just below that of the Maritime Museum, which is 29 metres high. It is important not to ‘dwarf’ the heritage Railway Station with huge buildings overshadowing it.

The railway forecourt needs to be improved and become far more attractive than it is at present. This will require relocation of the bus port to the East and remodelling to improve the passenger to bus interface and the efficiency of the overall intermodal exchange. With this movement to the East the forecourt can become a meeting and relaxation place and present a proper entrance to Fremantle.

VQ has got it all; a working port is highly attractive. People love watching ships arrive and depart and they love watching sunsets. The close vicinity to the CBD and public transport makes it even more attractive to developers and retailers and those in the hospitality and tourism industries.

It is not hard to envisage VQ as a highly attractive very Freo destination with a great mix of culture, art, heritage, entertainment, retail and offices. It does however require creativity and restraint. There needs to be recognition in the lot layout and alignment, in building design and utilisation that the development is integrated into the CBD, and although new and to some extent an extension of the West End, it has the elements of Fremantle’s bold building design, albeit circa 2020, not 1880.

Fremantle Ports should resist the temptation of over development for financial gain. It is essential that development in the area absolutely acknowledges and embraces the sense of place of  Fremantle and its unique character and lifestyle.

The Fremantle Society is keen to see outstanding development of great architectural merit on Victoria Quay in the near future and we are offering Fremantle Ports to be part of the consultative process.


Roel Loopers




leave a comment »

On Tuesday February 26 Notre Dame University in collaboration with the Fremantle Society, Fremantle Network and Fremantle Chamber of Commerce will hold an election forum with the candidates for the seat of Fremantle at the March election.

The event starts at 6 pm on the corner of Croke Lane and Cliff street, opposite the Fremantle Herald building .  MC will be former ABC political reporter Peter Kennedy.

The public is encouraged to ask questions to the candidates, so turn up in droves and grill those who want to represent us!

Roel Loopers



leave a comment »

Those of us who live in Fremantle are lucky to live in a city whose Councillors look to plant more trees, ban plastic bags, ensure good design, promote festivals and encourage cultural diversity. We are also lucky to have Councillors and Officers who invite our questions, receive our submissions and attempt to arbitrate fairly in relation to our diverse interests. You have to wonder therefore why they have been so impervious to the community’s representations regarding Amendment 49.

Discounting the “silent majority” whose representations have been largely silent, the majority of public expressions have been opposed. Neither the Catalyse survey commissioned by the City of Fremantle some time ago, nor the questions asked at the facilitated public meeting; nor the qualifications expressed at the two interactive workshops; nor letters written to the Fremantle Herald or Thinking Alouds published by the paper; nor the submissions received in response to the publication of Amendment 49, let alone the over 700 signatories to the 2 petitions circulated by the Fremantle Society support the view that the community approves Amendment 49 in its present form.

To argue the contrary is to deliberately misconstrue the publicly available evidence.

What the various public representations do support is the view that Fremantle should be a vibrant, economically sustainable and culturally diverse community. Moreover they support the view that achieving this will require a more attractive and diverse retail presence, an enhanced inner city population supported by a greater supply of affordable housing and safe and accessible public spaces. That these laudable objectives will only by achieved by allowing the permissible and discretionary heights foreshadowed in Amendment 49 is an assumption for which no objective proof has yet been offered.

That the Chamber of Commerce are supportive of Amendment 49 can come as no surprise. They and the developers lobbying them would be the principal beneficiaries of its adoption. Before however the City is persuaded of their point of view it should be asked them why we have so much vacant retail space and buildings, the residential potential of which, has not been realised? What is the Chamber doing about the amount of unimproved and run down buildings in Fremantle and the rapacious rentals demanded by land owners who apparently have no incentive to let their properties or improve them between tenancies.

The Fremantle Society has argued that two thirds of the Council’s retail and residential goals could be met by existing buildings modified under existing planning regulations.

Councillors have argued that developers will only come to town if offered the incentive (and financial return) of increased heights. Where in the world has this been demonstrated? They have also stated that discretionary heights will only be granted on the advice of the Design Advisory Committee. What is less clear is whether such advice, and the approval or denial of approval dependent on it, involving decisions which must always be a matter of conjecture and aesthetic judgment, will be challengeable before the State’s Development Assessment Panel on which the City will have only 2 representatives. There are after all numerous local examples where the City’s “understanding” with developers and in some cases their stipulations have been simply ignored, it seems with impunity.

Finally it must be asked why the City did not choose to model Amendment 49 in a form which would allow a more realistic appreciation of what was proposed. The City did afterall spend a not inconsiderable amount of rate payers money on the facilitation of the several meetings held, and the analysis of their discussion, yet they ducked the opportunity to realistically depict what the enhanced heights would look like on the designated sights, while criticising the crudity of the Fremantle Society’s attempt to depict such.

There is no question but that Fremantle needs to address its eroding retail presence and lack of affordable housing. What is arguable however is whether these desirable objectives can only be met by increasing the permissible heights of those sites identified for potential development or whether more modest alternatives are to be preferred for which there is greater community support..

David Hawks


leave a comment »

Written by freoview

November 7, 2011 at 6:48 am