Heritage Act Review

Heritage in Western Australia is underpinned by the State Heritage Act 1990, which is currently being reviewed.  The Act mandates the Heritage Council of WA giving it powers to operate, and gives statutory power to the State Heritage and Local Government lists.

If you have any interest in Western Australian Heritage this Act is important to you.

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Opportunity Lost

Yesterday’s press release by John Day on the Cockburn Coast Structure Plan (SP) should have been a time for celebration; unfortunately for me it only brought disappointment.

We had a real chance of developing a high quality Village, even a carbon neutral village but all we have is the land being chopped up into urban lots.  The Minister said “The redevelopment of Cockburn Coast will see medium to high-density urban living, embodying the values of Directions 2031 and Beyond”.  Yet Directions 2031 is a special plan for a connected city, what we have here is a return to the days of Hepburn and Stevenson with a huge controlled access highway and NO transit Plan at all.  Greg Smith once produces a bumper sticker which said “Perth a City for Cars”, it was meant to be ironic, and unfortunately has become prophetic for Cockburn Coast.

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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.

US Laundry Demolition By Neglect

Last evening Fremantle Council supported WA Museum’s application to demolish the old US Laundry on grounds that it was too dilapidated to save.  The sad fact is that the deterioration occurred while the building was under the care of the Museum, a clear case of demolition by neglect.  After listening to the debate I believe I saw a decision based on Councillor’s opinions rather than evidence based decision making.  The Council’s heritage expert recommended retention as did a number of experts in the field who became interested in this issue and gave free advice to Council on the merits of retaining the building.  Cr Sullivan challenged Mayor Pettitt to be the Mayor of a heritage city that supports heritage; alas he chose to be the Mayor who supports demolition.  The application will go to the WAPC with little chance of a turnaround unless the Heritage Council moves to put the Laundry on the State Register.

Jon Strachan


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