Day 1 in the life of a new President.

The alarm goes, it’s 6:30, the reality of last night’s Fremantle Society AGM hits home.  A good night for the Society with a passionate address from Dr Carmen Lawrence advocating conservation for the West Kimberley, followed by formal AGM business including a ballot for President.  I came out ahead, just!  I thank Lloyd for the commitment he demonstrated to the Society  by standing and look forward to working with him on Committee.  My thanks to the Committee and their partners for the well organised event and the catering.  Ian’s departure as President is a true loss to the Society and I wish him and Eileen all the best in their new ventures in Albany.

The early alarm is to attend Arts, Culture and Heritage forum at the Moore’s hosted by Hon. Sue Ellery.  The Society represented by Ruth, Cathy, Ian, Roel and Fremantle History Society by Anne Brake (President).  Sue is joined by Peter Tinley and John Hyde (shadow Minister for Culture and the Arts; Heritage; Multicultural Interests and Citizenship).  Speeches & questions followed by roundtable conversation with the Ministers in the long established Freo style at Moore&Moore Cafe space.  I drew John Hyde’s attention to the ‘generous role Fremantle ratepayers play with Local Government in the Arts and Culture sector, financially underpinning the Moore’s building we met in, the Arts Centre, Victoria Hall and the Evans Davis Building and more.

It is now time for our State Government to step up to the plate regarding provision of cultural spaces.  They have ready-made venues, buildings abandoned by Western Power with South Fremantle Power Station and recently closed Energy Museum.  Both these buildings offer great potential for a State Government to invest in Culture and the Arts in Fremantle’.  I sought an invitation to meet the three ministers on a one on one basis, this will occur in the New Year.  Ruth was promoting the book and we all promoted Society membership.

Returning home to South Fremantle I began my first round of correspondences, thanking people for their assistance at the AGM, setting up the first meeting for the new committee and our final exit from the Old Royal George.

Attending East Fremantle Council’s Planning committee meeting came next.  Applications for lap-pools, fences and garages preceded Committee debating the Old Royal George.  Passionate submissions on  behalf of the Community came from  Eddy Lutz and Andrew Smith. Eddy focussed on Heritage integrity and Community impacts, whilst Andrew spoke to the process going off the rails with the National Trust taking Council, its erstwhile partner, to the SAT.  Committee adjournment for dinner at 9.30pm and departure of the applicants representatives was my opportunity for our moment with the media and community. At 10:20pm Committee voted to defer their decision til 1st February 2011, prior to next SAT hearing on 2 February.  Follow the Herald reports on the tone of Committee deliberations.

Before making tracks for home I talked with Peter Unsworth who has exciting plans for the Old Brush Factory (former Lauder & Howard shop) across the road and we agreed to meet and talk.  Home to Cathy with apologies for no dinner out as planned.  Fear not, I won’t subject you to such detail every day!  I will post a weekly blog of the President’s activities for the Society.

Jon Strachan 7-12-10