Society AGM this week


Reminder: the Fremantle Society AGM is this coming Wednesday 7 December at 7pm at the Fremantle Tennis Club (corner of Parry and Ellen Streets).

President John Dowson will make a presentation entitled Where are we going? Quality matters. The AGM will follow.

Refreshments provided.

We need a folding screen on a tripod in case any member can help us out!

We are grateful to the Finn family (Kakulas Sister) for offering to help with the food, We will be running a raffle and if anyone wishes to donate a prize like a new Mercedes or even a decent book, please let us know.


Demolished Sydney

Exhibition echoes today’s loss of heritage
extract: The Australian Friday 26 November 2016
Michaela Boland National arts writer, Sydney


Demolished Sydney curator Nicola Teffer says the timing of the exhibition is coincidental. Picture: John Feder.

SYDNEY is a city divided along heritage battle lines. On one side the NSW government and its development partners are pushing through a swath of “state significant” projects, among them a new eastern suburbs light rail and a western suburbs freeway link. Lining up on the other side is a chorus of heritage advocates determined to speak for the trees, for the history-rich homes and for the city’s iconic buildings and institutions.
Even the management of the much-celebrated Sydney Opera House has come into the firing line recently on account of a suite of new activities that heritage sympathisers contend are at odds with the site’s historic status.
In the middle of this, the Museum of Sydney has opened an exhibition, Demolished Sydney, that reveals how the Emerald City has a rich tradition of trampling on its history.
Exhibition curator Nicola Teffer says the timing is coincidental and that the exhibition has been in the pipeline for four years. “The brief was to look at the way the city has shape-shifted over its history,” she says.
That shape-shifting is particularly pronounced because the city sprang up higgledy-piggledy from convict settlement, and the land on which it is built is undulating, as well as hemmed in by water and mountains.


The demolition of Hoffnung’s building in Pitt Street in 1939. Picture: Ernie Bowen.

“Sydney’s built heritage was always vulnerable,” Teffer says. “Part of the problem is the city was never planned.”
Clive Lucas, heritage architect and chairman of the National Trust, says the thirst for renewal is a quintessential Sydney trait.
“Some say we’ve never got over being a convict settlement,” he says, “and there’s plenty of wheelers and dealers and pickpockets. I don’t know whether this is true.”
Teffer’s exhibition examines 11 significant buildings that have been lost to Sydney, including the Commissariat buildings at Circular Quay, which were the two oldest government buildings in NSW, demolished to make way in 1939 for the Maritime Services Board building, now the Museum of Contemporary Art.
“In the 1920s and 30s there was such an embrace of Sydney as a young, dynamic, fun-loving, progressive city that it didn’t really feel it had a past that was particularly valuable,” she says. “At the end of the 30s, when the Commissariat buildings were pulled down, it was a relatively new thing to agitate for preservation.”

site-3-ecl337The Garden Palace, a grand exhibition pavilion in the Botanic Gardens of equivalent significance to Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building, was lost to fire in 1882, just three years after it was built. It wasn’t replaced.


The Fort Macquarie Tram Depot at Bennelong Point was demolished in 1958 to make way for the Sydney Opera House. 

It is likely impossible to find any living person who opposes the world heritage Opera House, but Teffer’s exhibition reveals that before the tram sheds, Bennelong Point was home to Fort Macquarie. It was also a site for limestone production, and before white settlement it was a rocky outcrop with unfettered views from the heads of Sydney Harbour to Parramatta River.
“If the tram sheds hadn’t been demolished, the old fort, then the Opera House might never have been built,” she says.
“It’s taken a while for Sydneysiders to see the value of their own built environments.”
Cadman’s Cottage at The Rocks is the oldest surviving residential building in Sydney. A remaining fragment of Edwardian architecture, the sandstone cottage in the shadow of the Overseas Passenger Terminal was the original home for Sydney’s coxswains.
“The exhibition really is about the nature of change in the city,” Teffer says, “looking at what those cycles have been, what the drivers have been and what are the products of the protest.”
Sydney is in the grip of the biggest civic building boom since the run-up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The Baird Liberal government is using funds raised by the sale of electricity assets to reimagine the city.
The NSW government has earmarked the heritage Powerhouse Museum site in inner-city Ultimo for sale, and the construction of a new museum in Parramatta. A campaign against that move has resulted in an upper house inquiry, which is still under way.


Hordern’s Palace Emporium is now the site of World Square. Picture: NSW State Library

National Trust NSW chief executive Brian Scarsbrick says there is long list of heritage battles during the past two years. A campaign to save the brutalist-style Sirius apartment building in The Rocks failed, and the public housing complex will be demolished. “There will be a high-rise there, you watch,” he says.
The National Trust failed to save the Sydney Harbour Control Tower and campaigned against demolition work beginning on the WestConnex freeway link in Sydney’s inner west before an environmental impact report was released. Dozens of heritage trees also were cut down along Anzac Parade and Alison Road near Centennial Park in Sydney’s east.
“It was done by stealth and an apparent mandate as a state significant project,” Scarsbrick says.
When the state government deems a project to be state significant, he says, it switches off heritage controls.
The government is preparing to sell 193 former maritime workers houses at Millers Point at The Rocks, despite the National Trust’s campaign for 99-year leases that would bind inhabitants to tighter development controls.
“If the government keeps selling (the houses) off freehold it’ll be another ‘demolition Sydney’,” Scarsbrick says.
“It’s the most outstanding piece of vandalism perpetrated on The Rocks in many years.”
He adds: “The first thing a conquering army does when they go into territories is destroy the iconography of an area to demoralise the public.
“I’m not saying the government is trying to do that but the effect is the same and the population is getting demoralised.


 Rowe Street in 1929; it’s loss ‘was a tragedy for the city’, says the National Trust’s Clive Lucas. “They don’t realise people come to the city to look at the heritage, not the skyscrapers.”

For all of demolished Sydney, there have been wins, the romanesque revival Queen Victoria Building being among the most significant.
Built in the late 19th century and spanning an entire city block, the Queen Victoria Building fell into disrepair, to the point where it was under threat of demolition in the 1960s.
After a concerted campaign, it was saved in 1971 and eventually restored and reopened as an upmarket shopping centre in 1986.
Two of the city’s most significant public buildings are Hyde Park Barracks and The Mint, which were threatened in the 40s.
Teffer says those buildings had been earmarked for destruction by the government because a Macquarie Street beautification scheme called for modern law courts and houses of parliament, which eventually were built across the road.
The organisation now known as the National Trust em­erged in 1945 out of this campaign.
The National Trust’s Lucas says: “One doesn’t regret losing the tram shed for the Opera House, but often that’s not the case.
“To lose Rowe Street was a tragedy for the city.”
Rowe Street was a busy little district that, if it still existed, would boast the ambience of Melbourne’s much-praised laneways. Instead it was razed to make way for the MLC Centre.
“The present government is very keen on developing,” Lucas says.
“To put in WestConnex freeway, it’s cutting a slice off Haberfield, which was a model Edwardian suburb. We don’t regret new roads or trams, but can’t you do it more neatly rather than this cavalier attitude of crash or crash through?”

Demolished Sydney is at the Museum of Sydney until April 17


Fort Macquarie Tram Depot on Bennelong Point in 1952, six years before it was demolished to make way for the Sydney Opera House. Photo: Fairfax Media


This is your “Heritage of the Future”

Notes from the President

a) Tsunami Continues

The tsunami of inappropriate development and the permanent damage it is causing to Fremantle is accelerating.


The building above just finished at 50 Pakenham Street is designed by the same company that designed 52 Adelaide Street, the 8 storey block of flats that were refused by JDAP (Joint Development Assessment Panel) and will now be taken to the State Administrative Tribunal.

The building above never even went to full council for approval. It was passed at a planning meeting by Mayor Pettitt and councillors Nabor, Fittock, Waltham, and Massie.

In this writer’s opinion the finished result is utterly unsympathetic to the important West End it sits in, dominates its neighbours, and should never have been approved in its current form. It reeks more of legoland than the future heritage of the West End.

There is a very good reason why four storeys are not allowed on the street front in the West End because the predominant scale of the West End is one, two, and three storeys, but the developers argued that because there was an adjacent building of similar height they could break the rules. The top floor seen here is objectionable.

The heritage staff at Council, the council’s Design Advisory Committee, the Heritage Council, and council itself have spectacularly failed again to give us the ‘heritage of the future.’ we were promised.

According to the Herald ‘an anonymous society member’ complained to them that the tsunami reference ‘didn’t help the cause.’ What doesn’t help the cause is when members sit back and allow this obvious damage to continue week after week.

As famous architect Robin Boyd said ruining his television show decades ago: “One of the essential things in any building design is a look of inevitability, as if it couldn’t be designed any other way.”

He also said: “Bad building is in some sort of way committing a crime against society – it’s a sort of major act of vandalism.”

b) Where are we going? Quality Matters

At the AGM on Wednesday 7 December at 7pm at the Fremantle Tennis Club (corner of Parry and Ellen Streets) Society president John Dowson will give a presentation outlining the society’s work over the past year and the importance of aiming for high standards in decision making affecting the future of Fremantle.

c) King’s Square Plans

Despite the inaccurate story in today’s Herald about the Fremantle Society and the King’s Square plans, the Society will be working over Christmas to submit professional, analytical, and constructive views on what are the biggest plans ever put forward by Fremantle Council.

It is unfortunate the plans are being put out for comment at Christmas time. The community has until January 6 to lodge submissions.

d) Membership Renewal Forms



Please renew your membership ahead of the AGM which is on Wednesday 7 December. It helps with the organisation!

The Fremantle Society Incorporated
Membership Renewal

Address (if different):……………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Telephone: …………………………………… Mobile:………………………………………..
Membership Fee:
Ordinary Member: $30. Organisation: $50. Family Member: $40
Corporate: $100. Concession: $15 Life: $250
Membership fees may be paid by cheque with this application form or by electronic funds transfer to:
Fremantle Society Inc
Bendigo Bank
BSB: 633000
Account: 143193530

OR, by post to: PO Box 828 Fremantle 6959

As a member I/we agree:
• to support and promote the Society’s objectives
• to abide by the Society’s Constitution
• to receive communications giving notices of meetings and events of the Society and at the discretion of the Society’s committee, like organisations.
I/we understand that:
• the Society undertakes to keep private my/our email address and phone number
• Society communications will normally be by email when an email address has been provided
• My/our rights and obligations as a member are defined in the Society’s Constitution and further defined in the Associations Incorporation Act 1987.
For more information about the Fremantle Society please email :

The Objectives of the Fremantle Society:
• To give responsible voice on matters affecting the overall character and development of the Fremantle area
• To encourage the improvement of the Fremantle area as a desirable residential and commercial district whilst retaining its unique character.
• To encourage the retention and restoration of buildings of historic and aesthetic value.
• To encourage the preservation of the natural heritage of the Fremantle area.
• To ensure that the new development complements established patterns, is of high architectural and aesthetic standards, and served the long-term interests of the area.
• To foster the development of the area as a major cultural, educational and entertainment centre.

Fremantle is special. Do you care?



by Fremantle Society president, John Dowson

THE Fremantle Society committee has worked long and hard to put together the full page announcement in this week’s Fremantle Herald.

The full page advertisement in 50,000 newspapers seeks to engage the community in discussion about the direction Fremantle is going, given the tsunami of poor quality new buildings hitting our town.

The Fremantle Society is keen to see new developments and keen to see improved retail, commercial, and residential outcomes. But, not at the cost of the very thing that attracts people here in the first place.

Standards must rise. Council must take responsibility. Damage to Fremantle so far is severe.

The full page ad quotes Fremantle Herald owner Andrew Smith, who, in a front page article in 2011, predicted that Fremantle was facing ‘a nightmare future’ because council had altered the town planning scheme to allow high rise, despite majority community opposition to those changes.

Democracy lost out, and the Fremantle Society wants the nightmare to be replaced by good planning and quality development. And, in some cases, the cap should be put back on the town planning scheme.

Thanks in particular to committee members Adele Carles, Colin Nichol, Roger Garwood, Helen Cox, Don Whittington, Chris Williams, and Robert Bodkin.

November 23- Last Day to Nominate

Nominations close today for positions on the Fremantle Society executive. If you have any questions please call president John Dowson on 9335 2113

Notre Dame 5 Storey Building

Notre Dame University submitted its plans for a 5 storey building in the West End just before Christmas, similarly to Fremantle Council, which has just launched the biggest set of plans in their history (King’s Square), right at Christmas time when few have time to digest such detail, let alone write submissions.

You are looking at a ‘poorly conceived and disrespectful’ proposal pictured below


A top Perth architect Jean-mic Perrine wrote on Freo’s View:

“The proposal by Notre Dame University is inappropriate, poorly conceived and disrespectful of a heritage precinct. What is sadder is that it has little original architectural merit and reminds me of the lazy days of the 70’s when this sort of sketch allowed monstrosity to mushroom in our historic precincts”.

Notre Dame is seeking to build the 5 storey building on a corner with one, two, and three storied buildings on the other corners, and on a large footprint. Five stories are not allowed under the scheme.

Notre Dame have been discussing this with council for a year. It appears that council and the university have not learnt any lessons from the impact of the university’s monoculture in the West End.

The monoculture caused by this very successful university when it crowded out existing pubs and businesses should not continue. The new building should be located OUTSIDE the West End in the Westgate Mall area perhaps, so that students have to permeate through Fremantle,  and just maybe have to walk 4 minutes to one of their buildings – as happens in true university towns like Oxford and Cambridge.

Workers Club Development

ADC steps up to heritage challenge

Dan Wilkie, author


Tuesday, 22 November, 2016

LOCAL developer Australian Development Capital is taking on one of the industry’s biggest challenges – redeveloping a historically significant property in Fremantle’s West End.

ADC, which delivered West Perth’s Sage Hotel last year and is midway through a $25 million apartment project in Cottesloe, has acquired the historic Fremantle Workers’ Social and Leisure Club and is planning a $16 million, 22-apartment development.

Built in the 1950s, the club is located on Henry Street in the heart of Fremantle’s historic West End, the entirety of which was added to the State Register of Heritage Places last week.

ADC executive director Adam Zorzi said the developer was mindful of the precinct’s heritage in developing the project’s design.

“We worked with the council and the JDAP on a solution whereby we retained the façade of the building to reflect the heritage significance of its previous use,” Mr Zorzi told Business News.

“When you’re in a heritage precinct like that, you’ve got to be sympathetic to the heritage precinct, but you can’t try and replicate it.

“Any heritage expert will tell you that you can’t replicate those old buildings, we just don’t have access to the trades to get the quality of the finishes, and they never look right.

“That’s why contrast is usually the best way to deal with heritage; but at the same time the building reads quite softly.”


Mr Zorzi said a soft launch of the apartments had already resulted in eight of the 22 dwellings on offer being sold, with very little marketing taking place.

He said the project’s unique location had insulated it from the challenges present in Perth’s patchy apartments market.

“There are very few opportunities to get into that West End in Fremantle and that’s what appealed to us,” Mr Zorzi said.

“I love that precinct; if I could find another two or three sites down there I’d be on to them, because it’s one of the very few places in Perth where you can live a truly cosmopolitan lifestyle.

“You can walk out of your door and walk to 15 or 20-plus restaurants and bars within a few hundred metres, shops, supermarkets, the beach, train station, parks, fishing boat harbour, it’s all within walking distance.

“One of the problems that we’ve seen with our planning in Perth is a lot of the density is being built in the places where there isn’t a lot of amenity, rather than focusing on getting density where there is amenity.

“I think the market is recognising the opportunity, hence the amount of interest we’ve had on the pre-sales.”

(This present proposed building is the result of a challenge by the Fremantle Society over excessive height. The original five stories would have been disproportionate for the the West End. Public reaction to the design is another matter).