Pictured: A Proper Civic Opening

Above: 1966 Opening. Why a Lame Duck Opening for 2021?

The front page story of this week's Fremantle Herald ("New Chapter for Freo") describes without any hint of  irony the fact that the problematic new "civic centre" will be opened in three weeks by none other than the former council Chair of Finance largely responsible for many of the problems, Hannah Fitzhardinge, now mayor of Fremantle.

After years of delays, cost overruns, and damage to King's Square, including a name change undemocratically imposed by a committee headed by Cr Fitzhardinge, there will be no inspiring opening like that which heralded the previous administration building in 1966, opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

Pictured (top) is the arrival of this inspiring world famous figure in Fremantle, an indefatigable inspiration to millions, a woman who was President or Patron of 350 organisations. 39 years previously she had accompanied her husband to open the Federal Parliament in Canberra.

Her itinerary is shown carefully drawn up, with the trip from Perth passing a number of hospitals from which numerous patients waved from the roadside.

After opening the new council building, named The Exhibition Hall, built by the same award winning builder who built the 1964 Port Authority tower, Her Majesty made for C shed past the tower,  to board Challenger 1 for Perth.

The Port Authority Tower is still in use and has had a book written about it. 

Fremantle's history however is unfortunately largely ignored by its council, with their website containing just five sentences summarising the whole of the town's interesting past.

John Dowson
The Fremantle Society
1 November, 2021

0409 223622

Documents: Dowson Collection


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