The Ultimate Advocate

The Fremantle Society asked the other day if you are an advocate  ie do you do something about issues.

Today the Fremantle Society met the ultimate advocate, Sir David Attenborough, at the opening of the most famous antiquarian book fair in the world, the ABA in London.

Sir David, 92, born the same year as the Queen, with whom he has started a tree canopy program in Commonwealth countries, is seen here with Dutch book dealer Frederik Muller.

The well travelled and much loved naturalist was asked when he was coming again to Australia. “I was there in 1957” he said. That was the year of the first ever ABA fair and he missed it because he was diving and filming on the Great Barrier Reef, which he said was ‘the most magical experience of my life.’

Few people have advocated for Planet Earth better than Sir David. To prepare the documentary ‘Life of Birds,’ he travelled 256,000 miles.

J Shed

On Wednesday night at the Fremantle Council monthly meeting, a large crowd advocated for council not to pursue the alcohol fuelled revitalisation of Arthur Head. They didn’t have to travel 256,000 miles to get there, but they must have been disappointed that so little notice of their concerns was taken.

It took just 5 of 13 elected members (remember well their names: Pettitt, Sullivan, Thompson, Fitzhardinge, and Hume) to go against  common sense and the community and have enough votes to give Sunset Events the right to use our A Class reserve to make money.

Rob Campbell

Reminder that the Fremantle History Society event honouring Rob Campbell is on at the Fremantle Arts Centre at 5pm today. A free event, it will include the unveiling of a plaque in his honour, contributed to by the Fremantle Society.

Are you an Advocate?

This week I asked Bruce Gilden, the famous street photographer, how he thought humanity was progressing. Obviously, from much of his work, he thinks its not doing well. He said he has plenty of issues still to fight for. Bruce uses his camera to be an advocate for humanity, and for his issues.

Are you an advocate?

The last email from the Fremantle Society was headed Distressing News and it was the most upsetting news reported on for a long time, that of the destruction of majestic Moreton Bay Fig trees in King’s Square.

The email evoked a strong response, with one criticism that there was no ‘call to action.’ There should be no need for a call to action. The Fremantle Society repeatedly has asked members to be advocates, and not passive bystanders, because the very organisations that should be advocating and protecting, have been silenced by developer interests. The Heritage Council is a developer’s club, the National Trust is useless as an advocate, the Fremantle Herald cannot lead campaigns on its own, and the very few public commentators like the blogger Roel Loopers are only concerned with being popular.

One member did write to the Herald and did not have his letter published, but newspapers are not owned by the public and sometimes repeated efforts have to be made to get attention.

The Septimus Roe Regency planning for King’s Square, and decades of advocacy for a proper town square are now right out the window, and the bizarre sight of the $300,000 a year CEO and $150,000 a year mayor with sledgehammers outside the doomed adminstration building this week was surreal.

Members advocacy will be needed for many more issues, and one of them is below.

J Shed – Again

The distressing, long running disgrace of the J shed issue comes to council again tonight and members should make their feelings known at the meeting or before to:

members@fremantle.wa.gov.au

There should be no lease for large alcohol fuelled events at Arthur Head supplanting the excellent long term record of the artists there. The mayor on his blog rationalises the damage to an A class reserve by postulating that the area has changed over the years. So what?  As the late Rob Campbell has said, it was saved from other authorities in the 1960s who were using it as a dumping ground, and turned into an A class reserve through the hard work of Fremantle Council.

The current council believes that an alcohol led recovery will save Fremantle, and that belief has led to some extraordinary support for alcohol in very strange places such as at the traffic island where the Fremantle Weighbridge is.

Thankfully, freshly elected councillor and former Fremantle Society president Jenny Archibald, is showing strong interest in this issue and is asking tough questions of her fellow councillors.

Thankfully also, in the battle waged by the Fremantle Society to save Norm Wrightson’s business and shop being turned into a brewery outside the front door of the Town Hall, the developer Gerard O’Brien has apparently shelved that idea.

Rob Campbell Event Friday 25th May

You are invited to an event organised by the Fremantle History Society this Friday at the Fremantle Arts Centre in honour of the later Rob Campbell, who is sorely missed. The Fremantle Society has contributed to a plaque in his honour and the Fremantle History Society have organised for the exhibition on Rob’s work curated by Dr van Bremen to be shown. 5pm for 5.30.

Please turn up and support this important event.