Notes from the President

RIP Architect Bernard Seeber

Above: Fremantle Railway Station, restored inside and out by Bernard Seeber 2011

The Fremantle Society is saddened to hear of the passing of Bernard Seeber.

His range of work included restoration, as with the Fremantle Railway Station, and new works like the changing rooms at the pool at the Fremantle Leisure Centre (designed to only be there for 10 years), the Hilton Community Centre, Leighton Beach facilities, and the Fremantle Cemetery Crematorium, which Bernard described as "a place for a group of people  to come and gather and watch a 'stiff' be put into a fire."

He even did the refurbishment for the Australian Institute of Architects (WA Chapter) building in Nedlands.

The Fremantle Railway Station, covered in plastic paint and deteriorating, should have been restored for its centenary in 2007, but wasn't. 

However,  a report from John Dowson to Alannah MacTiernan enticed her down to Fremantle on a Sunday morning to view the building, and soon after Bernard got the job to restore the exterior.

While the railways were adamant that the former Victorian Gardens which used to be out the front were never going to be restored ("Our job is not to grow roses") they appreciated the way Bernard carried out his meticulous work, so much so that he was able to convince the authorities to continue the restoration on the inside as well.

While the works of our architects live on for all to see, what happens to their records and their ideas?

The Fremantle Society has been in talks with Notre Dame University to get them to house the records of notable local architects. We have lost too many in recent years. A university library can ensure that  the records are preserved, and that they get used.

But as Bernard said, the answers architects are seeking are all around us: "Everything you want to see is right here (In WA)." 

"You go and look," he said.

Unfortunately, as we find too often in Fremantle with new projects, there are too many who look but cannot see.

John Dowson
The Fremantle Society


photo courtesy Bernard Seeber Architects site


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