What a great win for Fremantle today’s announcement of the new boundaries at the Local Government reform are! Fremantle more or less got exactly what we asked for with the new boundaries including the amalgamation with East Fremantle and following Stock Road in the East and Phoenix Road down South, while North Fremantle remains with Freo.

This has been an exemplary and outstanding collaboration between the City of Fremantle council and administration and the local community. Our positive attitude toward boundary reform paid off.

We did not accept the initial proposal of being swallowed up by the City of Melville and the Fremantle Society started the great Sock it Colin campaign that became the bipartisan and non-political Fremantle Forever campaign. Volunteers were at the markets, train stations, cafes, etc, to collect signatures for our submission, where we asked the State Government to consider and embrace our alternative boundaries. The City of Fremantle did the same. We never said no to amalgamation, we just wanted the best possible boundaries for Fremantle that would retain our identity and unique character.

by Roel Loopers


The Fremantle Society has the No 1 letter in the West Australian about the planned changes to the local council planning process. Here it is:

“The Fremantle Society is very concerned about State Government’s latest plans that will further erode the power of local communities to influence or decide their destiny. Sterile sameness will be the result of taking planning approval away from local Councils. The individuality and uniqueness of suburbs and the amenity of these will gradually disappear as the development industry does it business. For example, Fremantle is not Ferndale and Cottesloe is not Cullacabardee, so why mandate the removal of the tools that help create and maintain this identity.

The plans by Colin Barnett should worry all of us who believe in local government, community engagement and the essence of locality through local planning. Taking away more and more power from councils is a serious erosion of our democratic rights. We wonder what the alternative government might do about these and other so-called reforms that strip power from community.”

Henty Farrar

President Fremantle Society


Anyone interested in recording Fremantle’s history on WIKIPEDIA can now attend a FREE on-line course. The Fremantle Society introduced FREOPEDIA at last year’s Heritage Festival and nearly 100 Freopedia QR plaques have been installed at significant buildings and sites around Fremantle and hundreds more will be installed this year and in the future. Freopedia allows smartphone uses to scan the QR codes on the Freopedia plaques that directs them straight to the relevant article on WIKI. It is a great feature for tourism and Fremantle is the first WIKItown in the Southern Hemisphere.

Details on how to learn more about it below:

The School of Open will offer its popular “Writing Wikipedia Articles” course (WIKISOO) starting 25 February, 2014. This free introductory online course, now in its fourth incarnation, runs for six weeks. Enrolment is open to all.

WIKISOO students learn about the values and culture that have driven hundreds of thousands of volunteers to build Wikipedia. Through their work in the course, they join an effort that has generated millions of free articles in hundreds of languages since 2001.The course covers the technical skills needed to edit articles, and also offers practical insights into the site’s collaborative norms and social dynamics. Students graduate with a sophisticated understanding of how to use Wikipedia both as a reader and as an active participant.

The course focuses on articles about openness in education: open educational resources (OER), MOOCs, Creative Commons licenses and more. Students will forge connections with WikiProject Open, a community of volunteers focused on this topic area. Upon successful completion, students earn the WIKISOO Burba Badge.

Course registration is now open!

More course information:


Colin Nichol finds good and unacceptable in the design for an upcoming major central city building project. 

FOLLOWING a series of council decisions and actions toward the “revitalisation” of the centre of the City of Fremantle and the unwelcome effects of some of those, comes the test case of the fearfully anticipated disaster of a design for a forthcoming building encompassing half a hectare of the CBD. Referred to as the “Point Street development”, the site is actually bounded by Point, Cantonment and Adelaide Streets, with at least seven floors looming over the Victorian-era former boys school, now FTI, on its north side.

This is not the beginning of visual pollution of an 18th century treasured city; that has been insidiously creeping over it for several years and especially recently, but it is a manifestation of the beginning of the end, should it be constructed as now threatened. Is ugly to be the new heritage? Large and high and sticking out as it will be, it will become Fremantle’s “sore thumb”.

Striking at the heart of the city with small blows has been wearing away at its vital force. No new buildings constructed over the past few years has been unique or contributing to the city’s architectural heritage, they are uniformly ordinary. Those in Bannister, Norfolk and Leake Streets for example, are obviously constrained by having to maximise small sites, with concrete more in evidence than originality.

“Point Street” represents an approach to the difficult challenge of so large a site. It demonstrates outstanding lifestyle, design and finish ideas within a sheer bulk mitigated by being broken up with variations in examples of currently fashionable façade styles to each of four frontages. Those exterior presentations exhibit some innovative touches but with the dominance of boxiness. It could well find a suitable home, but not in central Fremantle.

Cynics expected a building for that site would never offer a satisfactory external design, it was anticipated to be inevitably unsuitable and unsympathetic to the existing built environment of the city, but a vestige of hope was treasured that it would not be as entirely unacceptable as it now reveals itself to be. It has no reference to existing Fremantle, unless to Westgate Mall – and like it, has no soul.

Fremantle’s mayor has identified himself closely with this project, it is his own and he explicitly, emphatically and publicly promised good design. While this is a curate’s egg, the exterior is not good enough, suitable or acceptable. It is up to the mayor to put this right, it is on his head, it is his legacy.

by Colin Nichol
Point Street and 64-86 Adelaide Street, Fremantle DAP application (DAP80008/13)


To the Society’s members and many friends — the Committee offers our best wishes for Christmas and the very best of health and good fortune for the year ahead.

2013 was a good year for Fremantle with a strong sense of progress in the air and with runs already on the board with the 2nd  take on Local Government boundaries being released (go Dockers and go Freo Forever! ) and the unveiling of the winning entry for the new civic building for the City.  We look forward to 2014 being a bumper year for our City and all its residents

Best wishes

Henty Farrar