For the first time in the history of the FREMANTLE SOCIETY, there will be a vote for the presidency as two people have nominated for the position. Freo Tribe believes we need to know a bit more about the candidates, so asked them for a short CV and to answer three questions; what are the major challenges for Freo, what are the best, and what the worst things in our city.


I’ m a West Australian and Fremantle-ite by choice not birth and since my
arrival have embedded myself into the special community that is this place.
I possess a broad suite of skills from engineering to events management and
graduate this year with a Grad Dip in Sustainability from the Pakenham St
campus of Curtin University. I believe we can work toward win-win solutions
especially here in Fremantle through a matrix of sustainable heritage work.

For over a decade I’ve been a proactive member of the Society involved with
publication and editing of articles in the Newsletter, lobbying at all
levels on behalf of the Society, assisting with the organizing of Society
events and functions and importantly supporting my partner Cathy Hall when
she took on the Presidency in 2005.  Thus I have a thorough understanding of
the Society’s operations and how it got to where it is now.  I understand
the Society’s DNA and will therefore be able to move forward positively for
the future of the Society.  I work as an enabling leader and will continue
to build on the strong committee structure set up under Ian’s Presidency.

In addition to pursuing Fremantle Society specific objectives, I bring to
the job of President active participation in our community.  Some of our
special community institutions I am privileged to support include South
Fremantle Precinct Committee, Fremantle History Society, Freo Men’s Shed,
FERN and both Deckchair and Harbour Theatres.  I am a founding member South
Fremantle SHS’s Carbon Neutral Committee, Vice President of Kulcha Board,
Convenor fo South Freo Tip Action Group and now a founding member of Freo
Farm project for that site.  The strength of networking across such groups
was demonstrated for me when I led the team that organised the Concert For
Pakistan and was able to mobilise volunteers who hadn’t been involved in an
Oxfam fundraiser previously.

Over 41/2 years on Fremantle Council I have gained firsthand experience
fighting for Fremantle cultural/built Heritage and take great pride in this
work.  I have a proven record working to oppose inappropriate development in
Fremantle such as the ING proposal on Victoria Quay, Sealanes development on
the foreshore in South Fremantle, dig and develop on South Fremantle tip
and was an active member of the Save South Beach campaign.  In council I
have supported good initiatives like the redevelopment of the ‘Fort Knox’
Woolstores.  I worked on World Heritage listing for Fremantle Prison,
National Heritage Listing for Fremantle Arts Centre and the National
Heritage Nomination for Fremantle Port.   My experience in Heritage, Town
Planning, Urban Planning and the workings of Fremantle Council has honed the
essential skills for ensuring the Society’s work gets traction where it is

# What do you believe are the three major challenges for Fremantle in the
next 3 years?

1.    Stopping demolition by neglect, like a virus spreading across
Fremantle it’s the new wrecking ball spreading the pain over years.  It
breaks my heart to see buildings like the Cantonment Street Woolstores, the
Old George Hotel and Synagogue being allowed to fall apart.  As President I
will ensure the Society has meaningful engagement with owners towards
brokering win-win solutions.
2.    Fostering vibrancy and renewal for Fremantle CBD.  Appropriate reuse
of upper storey’s of West End buildings and renewal of empty/neglected sites
are essential for future Fremantle.  A vibrant CBD is the best defense
against proposals like Victoria Quay based ING being foisted upon us.
3.    Maintaining a Fremantle wide sense of community in an intensified
shifting population demographic.  Fremantle needs to embrace new residents
into this special place and the Society can do this by promoting Society
membership for new arrivals.

# What are the three best things about Fremantle?
1.    The incredible colonial settlement story is unique and defines
Fremantle.  So much of the activity crammed into this place during that 180
years remains to tell those stories as one walks her streets.  This should
never be sacrificed.
2.    The 50,000 year Noongar story…  It is humbling and inspiring to live in a society that has flourished for so long. Ironically it is colonial settlement that adversely impacts still on that story, which is why I am committed to the ongoing reconciliation process.
3.    Fremantle’s three dimensions of Port, Beaches and Heritage with the
overlay of an incredible matrix of community capital.

# What are the three worst things about Fremantle?

1.    The majestic view from Monument Hill and the ridge blighted by the
development mistakes of the past with buildings of inappropriate bulk and
2.    The dismal entry statements from the north along Queen Victoria
Street and the south along  Cockburn Road.   These areas need high quality
redevelopment to inform people they are arriving somewhere special.
3.    A certain hesitancy of confidence in what we in Fremantle can
achieve when we put our minds to it.  Our history and our new manifesto both
proclaim the Fremantle Society’s legitimacy in our leadership role.

I grew up south of the river.  I have a Physics degree, a Masters in Physics
from Curtin University and a PhD in Civil Engineering from Monash University
I worked in Melbourne for 11 years, and then moved back to Fremantle about
10 years ago.  My wife and I have three young daughters, who go to Fremantle
Primary School.

By day, I work as a senior government scientist for the Defence Science and
Technology Organisation (part of the Department of Defence) at Garden
Island.   Most of my work is in support of the Navy’s fleet of ships and
submarines.  If I had my way, Garden Island would become another Rottnest
and the naval base could be moved to Naval Base or Henderson.

Most of my activity on Fremantle issues has been out of the public eye,
although I do write the occasional letter and article.  In recent years, I
have worked closely with concerned residents and councillors in an attempt
to reverse or remedy the City of Fremantle’s decision to give the lease of
the Fremantle Markets to the Murdoch’s.  This is largely how I became
actively involved in local issues.  However, some years ago, I joined a
group of residents in making submissions to SAT to successfully oppose the
proposed Mustang Bar development on the old Miss Maude’s site.  I have also
assisted in campaigns to support councillors who I believe best represent
the intentions of the Fremantle Society.  I have joined with others in the
“Save Freo Beaches” campaign and I’m a member of “Keep Cott Low”.

# What do you believe are the three major challenges for Fremantle in the
next 3 years?

In terms of issues relevant to the Fremantle Society, three major challenges for Fremantle in the next three years are:

1.     To reinvigorate Fremantle: by encouraging a diversity of interesting
small businesses;  including quality dining, wining, music and theatre, that
build on Fremantle’s reputation as a highly desirable destination for
residents and tourists alike.  Fremantle, to many, is a one street town.  We
need workable strategies to encourage development of the neglected parts of
our city, e.g. Westgate Mall area.   If Fremantle’s small business community
fails, the heritage that is Fremantle will be devalued and fall into

2.     To keep opportunistic developers at bay:  A major challenge for
Fremantle is the complacency from many of its residents who believe that our
city’s heritage is now safe.  The game may have changed but the threat still
exists.  It is perhaps ironic that once unappreciated assets are now
indisputably Fremantle’s economic lifeblood and a magnet to a new wave of
opportunistic developers.  Many may see dollar signs, but it would
ultimately be the ruination of the unique character of Fremantle.

3.     To ensure the future of Fremantle Markets:  Even though the lease of
the markets has been decided, much work is required to ensure the long term
viability of the Markets; that is, not just in terms of its heritage
building, but just as importantly, its ability to operate as a low cost
markets, offering local produce from both food producers and artisans alike,
that meets the needs of our local community.

# What are the three best things about Fremantle?

The three best things about Fremantle are:

1.     The wonderful relaxed ambience of a low-rise, heritage town.

2.     The relatively unmaterialistic society and the engaging, friendly

3.     It is definitely the best example of a working Victorian port city
anywhere that I know of.

# What are the three worst things about Fremantle?

The three worst things about Fremantle are:

1.     The live sheep trade and the associated smell.

2.     The constant threat of ridiculous, super high rise development

3.     Allowing Western Suburbs interlopers driving into our suburbs
displaying “Eagles” bumper stickers.  OK.  I had trouble of thinking of more
than two.