Notes from the President

The Post and Heritage

The two letters above are from the remarkable Post newspaper, a friend of the people, and a newspaper that reports local issues in detail.

The letter on the left was published last week following the Heritage Council's inexplicable failure to protect the Art Deco Windsor Theatre on Stirling Highway, Nedlands.

The letter on the right was published today.

It should be of concern to all, that not only does the Heritage Council fail to do its job, and fails to adequately fund heritage, but that the Property Council have four members on the Heritage Council, one of them being Mayor Pettitt.The mayor's damage to Fremantle's key economic attractor - its heritage, has been well documented for years, and his membership of the Property Council is revealing.

King's Square

The Fremantle Society has worked for years to get a great town square and a thriving town centre, but the train wreck that is now King's Square continues week after week.

a) The design and financials are wrong, leading former Premier Carmen Lawrence to state that what is being built "will blight Fremantle for the next 100 years."

Former Premier Colin Barnett told the Fremantle Society that King's Square should not have been destroyed with the current admin building, and given the parlous finances of Fremantle "If I were still Premier, I would sack the whole Council."

b) Council this week agreed to allow the CEO to negotiate a contract with Clancy's for a 520 sqm tavern in the new admin building, contrary to the requirement that the proponent be from outside Fremantle, with astonishingly, up to 10 years free rent.

c) There is little money in the budget for heritage, but $660,000 will be spent on a new playground in King's Square.

d) the promised archaeological heritage interpretation of the original church in King's Square will not go ahead.

e) in a woke anti white male move, the statue of Australia's most highly decorated soldier Hughie Edwards, born in Fremantle, will be removed from King's Square.

f) in another anti-history move, the Sportsmen's Walk of Fame in King's Square will disappear.

g) having destroyed so much of King's Square, with one councillor now calling it "King's Triangle" and Deputy Mayor Sullivan referring to it as "formerly known as King's Square", Council is seeking to change the name in a highly divisive move.

King's Square is part of the Regency planning for Fremantle, which along with Queen's Square nearby, has provided way-finding and design for the town since 1833. There are ample opportunities for Aboriginal naming, but they should not be at the expense of important historical associations for white history.

h) in another move showing the desperation of Council to get something happening in King's Square, Council is planning to put $400,000 into a visitor centre inside the Sirona FOMO building (formerly Myer), the one just sold for $250 million by Sirona. 

Public consultation closes Sunday I November (today) for comments on the proposal under "Have My Say."

Round House Conservation Plan

Public comment closes next week on 8th November.

The Fremantle Society is studying the document, which is available on Council's website under "Have My Say."

The Conservation Plan is supposed to guide the maintenance and restoration of the oldest public building in Western Australia, but it will be useless if its recommendations are not funded by Council.

Time and time again expensive conservation plans are done for our iconic places, but the current council will not provide adequate funds to implement them.

The Fremantle Prison needs $28 million, but gets almost nothing from Fremantle Council.

Fremantle Markets need $5.6 million, but only $200,000 has been allocated.

The conservation plan for the Round House has many sensible suggestions, but disabled access and 'smooth" paths around the Round House are not two of them. Some buildings like the Round House would be irreversibly damaged by disabled access, no matter how important the idea of disabled access is.

Former Fremantle Council heritage officer Agnieshka Kiera has commented:

Disabled access would ruin the Round House. When X was pushing for this we explored some options but it wasn't just the matter of additional opening. The whole infrastructure associated with such access (mainly ramp, rails, dimensions of openings) is likely to overwhelm this small building, ruin its significance and completely distort its context.

The same thing with the capstone - we went through this before. The path created behind the RH and around the Pilots cottages - it is part of the heritage trail - in addition to the capstone, it includes historic elements of the former structures and interpretation signs. And the capstone itself is an inherent aspect of the Roundhouse and the promontory's significance. They cannot destroy the evidence supporting the significance of the site. They will be destroying it for the disabled people as well

Public comment closes 8 November.


Notice is given that the AGM of the Fremantle Society will be held at the end of November and details will be given next week.

We encourage members to nominate for committee and help us with our work.

John Dowson
The Fremantle Society
31 October, 2020

0409 223622


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