March Committee Meeting

The March Committee Meeting of the Fremantle Society will be held at 11 Captain’s Lane on 24th March at 6:00PM.  Members are welcome to attend.

Joint letter to Editor

Dear Editor

We write in response to “Reece a lone voice against festival plan” (Herald12-2-11) as the Presidents of Fremantle’s community based history and heritage organisations. We represent members with a wide range of ages and professional expertise that have strong connections to the city’s past and who are committed to its sustainable future. Both organisations believe that, through a knowledge and understanding of and commitment to our past, our cultural capital is enhanced and enriched.

We therefore believe it is vital to maintain an independent Heritage Festival that increases understanding of the past and engages in a broader debate that focuses on the future. A well-run heritage festival allows the Fremantle community and visitors to be part of that process.

We dispute the proposition that the Heritage Festival is untenable and believe that it is not only sustainable but, by reviewing its charter and including events that allow opportunities for participants to engage in a broader dialogue, we will enhance its current profile and ensure the Heritage Festival is a highlight of Fremantle’s rich calendar of events.  In retaining and enlivening the Heritage Festival we contribute to the economic, social and environmental benefits enjoyed by our port city.

Bigger is not better. Bigger means one voice is diminished at best, lost at worst. We encourage the council to review and refine the Heritage Festival and to ensure that the international reputation Fremantle enjoys continues to engage and challenge locals and visitors alike.


Jon Strachan, President Fremantle Society and Anne Brake, President, Fremantle History Society

East Fremantle Royal George Decision

East Fremantle’s Council Chamber was packed to capacity at Tuesday’s Full Council meeting, which I attended for the Fremantle Society. The Royal George Hotel is clearly close to the hearts of East Fremantle folk and two hours passed as the community aired their thoughts to Council on the proposal for short-term accommodation and restaurant.

Thirteen people registered to speak with 10 against the proposal.  Their main objections were loss of community space particularly for artists, and lack of developer intentions to meet parking shortfall of over 40 bays.  There was frustration at losing the Royal George as a Council held community asset to a private development proposal.  Cr Martin likened it to two lovers, both parties telling each other what wonderful things they could achieve together, but ending in divorce.  In this case at the court of the SAT.  The proposed developer, his architect and one community person spoke in support.

Andrew Smith, who aired his views in thinking allowed in two editions of his newspaper, the Fremantle Herald, urged Council to refuse the application and formally ask the National Trust(NTWA) to please explain several issues, including a very pointed, why they went back on their partnership agreement with East Fremantle Council.

Mayor Ferris allowed members of the gallery to ask questions of the developer and his architect, thus people not registered had a say and those who had spoken strengthened their case.

At 9:30pm Council returned to the chamber to make their decision.  The Officer’s recommendation was for Conditional Approval with Council choosing between 1 of 3 options. Whilst there were 20+ conditions they differed only in dealing with parking issues.  Cr de Jong moved Conditions B requiring ‘submission of amended plans incorporating sufficient on-site car parking…’  Cr Collinson led the charge for outright Refusal.  40 minutes later the motion Passed 5 to 3.  The application will now go back to SAT for further Mediation.  If the parties cannot agree it is destined for a full sitting of SAT for Determination.

The Fremantle Society called the Royal George home in 2009/10 partnering with the NTWA in seeking Federal grant funding for restoration work retaining the community use component, which unfortunately was unsuccessful.  It is saddening to see what started out a decade ago with such promise coming to this.

Councillors speaking for and against the motion were of like mind on the issue, with the mover of the motion stating the ‘National trust has been disgraceful‘ on this issue.  There was Councillor consensus at their disappointment and frustration at being obliged to decide this controversial item on Planning grounds.

The clock cannot be turned back, but mediation between East Fremantle Council and the NTWA is required, not on planning issues but on ownership and the future of the Royal George.  One thing is for sure, it’s not the end of this issue, with many in the community prepared to fight for The People’s Royal George Hotel.

Jon Strachan


The Fremantle Society has had its first 2011 full Committee meeting since our AGM and I am delighted to tell you 2 vacancies on Committee are filled.  Pam Hartree is welcomed as Hon Secretary; you may know Pam in her role Head of Local History Section of Fremantle Library she is also an Associate Member of Australian Library and Information Association.  Clearly she will bring a lot of experience and wisdom to the Committee.

Kate House was also co-opted to the Committee.  Kate has worked on the Planning & Heritage committee in 2010 and we welcome her continued involvement in the Society. The several Society members who attended the meeting were welcomed and we encourage more in future.

Other agenda items included Fremantle Heritage Festival programmed for the end of May.  The Society is committed to working with Council and local stakeholders to ensure the continued success of this longstanding local event.  If you or your business wish to be involved contact us, it would be great to have you on board.  The Society will also contribute to the newly announced National Heritage Week in April – with a National focus.

Ongoing planning issues include the US Laundry at FAC, The Old Royal George in East Fremantle, and a new hotel at Little Creatures.

It is great to finally have a home and a wardroom to hold our meetings; the Society has truly come of age.

Jon Strachan

First meeting in the new HQ: All welcome!

Dear Fremantle Society Members,

The New Year’s well & truly in and a new year for your Society at its HQ that is taking shape. As you made have read in the recent Herald article, we’re at #11 Captains Lane (in the Roundhouse circa 1831 Precinct).

All members are welcome at the first Full Committee meeting at HQ; members may observe the formal meeting from 6pm &/or attend the post-meeting networking from 7pm(ish).

We have some exciting projects lining up for our duration of our occupancy here so your help to make these happen will be greatly appreciated.

What: Fremantle Society Committee Meeting
When: Thursday 27 January 2011 at 6pm (Networking 7pm)
Where: Pilot Cottage #11 Captains Lane, Arthur Head, Fremantle
Transport: CAT Cliff St, Railway Station, Maritime Museum
Parking: Little High St, Freo Port etc.

The agenda is available on request.

PS: We are still seeking an enthusiastic person to join the committee as Secretary (no Minutes or Member role!!).

Heritage Matters #2

Fremantle Prison development application.

A major development application is before Council at the moment for a YHA hostel at Fremantle Prison.  The WAPC will make the ultimate decision once they have received Council’s recommendation, who is seeking community input until 4th January 2011.  The Society intends to make a submission on this important world heritage site and we urge interested people to do the same.

In brief the application is for a 214 bed hostel and associated ablutions, kitchen and recreation rooms, plus a swimming pool.  The hostel will be housed in the old Women’s Division utilising existing buildings and 3 new transportable buildings, one of which is 2 storeys.  I attended the Council viewing of the drawings on 16th December where I found Council officers helpful but the drawings very limited.

If you wish to discuss this application or make comment on the Society’s draft submission feel free to contact me.

Pilot’s Cottage.

We now have the keys to 11 Captain’s Lane.  The Society’s lease starts on 1st January 2011, however, in the interim we are cleaning the cottage, see Roel’s previous posts for pictures.

The Society does need your help if we are going to make the best use of the cottage, so please get in touch if you can do basic carpentry & handyperson work, clean, paint or work in the garden.  We also need to acquire a gas cooker.  There is already a good social atmosphere and we do find time to sit on the veranda and enjoy the view (and a beer) at the end of work.

Jon Strachan