Some great Sea Shepherd shots

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of going on the sea trial of the Gojira. It was quite an experience. Not only did we see several whales off Rotto (how special is that!) but we got to experience the speed of this new ship that is faster than anything in the Japanese Whaling fleet. These great photos we taken by  Barbara Veiga from Sea Shepherd and Eye in the Sky Magazine. Enjoy

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High School Graduation – 21 years on…

Last night I had the special opportunity to, as Mayor of Fremantle, speak at the graduation night of my old High School – Kelmscott. It was a real honour to be able to share my experiences 21 years after graduating with a great bunch of students.

Kelmscott High Graduation Speech – Brad Pettitt

I would like to start by also acknowledging fellow elected representatives: Dr Tony Buti, Mrs Alison Xamon and Mr Don Randall for their attendance tonight.

Thanks to Peter Harper, Year 12 coordinator and fellow Kelmscott SHS graduate, James Rogan, Manager of Student Services and also a fellow Kelmscott SHS graduate;  and Principal Antony Terry.

It is a real honour to speak at this graduation 21 years on from my own graduation.

I had the opportunity to go back and visit and have a walk around the Kelmscott High school a couple of weeks ago. It was the first time I had been back in over 20 years.

My form room was in the library and is now your IT room. The library didn’t need an IT room back in 1989 because when I graduated a cutting edge computer was the Commodore 128 with a massive 128 k of ram. Now your average DELL computer has 6 gig of ram which is 24,000 times as powerful.

In 1989 there was no such thing as email let alone the internet or facebook or my space or Wikipedia or Google – In fact they hadn’t even been thought of.  Mobile phones were the size of bricks and cost almost half as much as a car.

If some had of suggested to me in 1989 that you in 20 years would be able to find the answer to almost any question that came in to your head  on your phone in a few seconds for free I would have thought they were dreaming the impossible. Now its just plain ordinary.

Over the last 20 years since I left high school the world has radically transformed itself. New media has gone from the big idea to how we understand and experience the world.

The challenge before you however is that the world you’re about to graduate into will need to transform itself even more dramatically over the next 20 years. This time when you are going to make your mark no matter what your career.

Technology will continue to transform our lives but perhaps the biggest challenge go the next 20 years will be the radical transformation our societies will have to undergo to deal with the challenges of climate change, population growth and more expensive energy. Scientists tell us that we must radically reduce carbon emissions by 80% over the next 20 years if humanity is to have a prosperous future.

No matter what you do whether you are a cabinet maker, an electrical engineer or an artist we all will play a role in the necessary transformation of society over the next 20 years. This is both an exciting and a very challenging time.

There is no magic formula to be successful but I can give you a few tips:

  1. 1.   Do what you love –Love what you do. Then put the time and energy into getting good at it. Competence is a rare commodity in this day and age.
  2. 2.   The more you give to your community the more you’ll get back. A good life is not about getting what you can for yourself. It is about how you can best give.
  3. 3.   Keep on learning –  finishing year 12 is just the start whether it be TAFE, uni or an apprentship make sure you stay open to new knowledge, new ideas and new things;
  4. 4.   In this rapidly changing world also make sure you hang on to your friends. The guys and gals you’ve got around you tonight some of these people will be your friends and companions for the rest of your life. Treasure that and look after them.

To quote – Henry David Thoreau – “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”

I wish you well and congratulations



Sea Shepherd New Interceptor Launch – Gorijira

Today I had the pleasure of handing of the City of Fremantle flag to the new Sea Shepherd interceptor vessel the Gojira (Godzilla) which will depart from Fremantle on November 29, setting sail for Hobart to join the rest of Sea Shepherd’s fleet with a mission to defend the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

On December 2nd, Captain Watson and his international crew will embark with three ships – Steve Irwin, Bob Barker and a new fast interceptor vessel Gojira – on a mission to enforce international conservation law, uphold an Australian Federal Court ruling and prevent the illegal slaughter of endangered whales.  


Home open at the Fremantle Arts Centre

Tonight I opened Home Open at the Fremantle Arts Centre. It is a really special exhibition that I highly recommend. Below is my speech: 

Welcome to what is a very special exhibition.

Tonight 30 of Fremantle finest artists will not be displaying their own work but instead letting us get a glimpse of the amazing art inside their homes.

To quote from Phil Goldswain’s essay in the book to be launched shortly:

The exhibition offers an opportunity to indulge in a kind of benign domestic voyeurism and for curious speculation on the relationship between

  • what an artist makes,
  • how they live and
  • what they might surround themselves with

The first thing I noticed walking around the gallery is the extra-ordinary diversity of the visual aesthetic of these artists.

But while the collections are amazingly eclectic you will notice that many have collected the works of other Fremantle artists.

What I especially like about this is that it shows the connection between people places and artists across Fremantle.

It captures what I most love about Fremantle – it is communities of people who:

  • work together
  • get inspiration from each other and from the city in which we live

Fremantle as a community of artists is however under threat.

Many sharing the artistic contents of their homes tonight moved to Fremantle when it was cheap and predominantly working class.

As Curator Chris Hill highlights in his essay – When Brian and Joe McKay bought their house in Fremantle it was 3 times the average wage – now it is more like 15 the average wage

An exhibition of artists and their homes these raises one of the great challenges for Fremantle:

– How then we ensure Fremantle remains a home to working artists?

That is why Fremantle Council is ensuring that new developments like the East end have at least 25% affordable housing in them and that areas like Knutsford St cannot just be home to more McMansions.

Our small housing initiative will also make more of Fremantle affordable for more people – keeping our soul and keeping as a home for artists.

The exhibition also highlights a great link back to the Fremantle Arts Centre. Many of these artists have exhibited in this very building and many of the works in these artists’ homes have been purchased here.

Even the first award winner from the Fremantle Print awards is on display in the collection

I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the extraordinary work of FAC in nurturing the arts in Fremantle. Providing the infrastructure for artists to teach, to learn, and to exhibit and for people from Fremantle and beyond to be exposed to many of the best artists in Perth.

I would also like to acknowledge the curators:

Chris Hill, Bevan Honey, Consuelo Cavaniglia, for their amazing efforts in pulling together this ambitious project.

On the back of an extraordinarily good Fremantle festival that celebrated the diversity of creative talent in the port city we have an exhibition that intimately shows how deep and wide that talent runs.

A special thanks to those who have opened up their homes. We are blessed to be surrounded by such a wealth of talented people and even more fortunate that they are so willing to give up there time and energy to share an intimate part of their lives with us

– even more intimate than their studios –  their homes, their artistic inspiration and their sometime unusual loves.

I trust you will enjoy this as much as I have. Thank you.

A fabulous Fremantle festival finale

I’ve had many people comment that this year’s Fremantle festival was the best in many years. I loved it too. I thought it was fantastic and had sucedded in drawing together the immense talent in our community – just as it set out to do. Thanks to all the staff, volunteers and community for getting involved taking some risks and showing a creative city Fremantle is. Here are a few photos that capture some of the diversity of the last few days:

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EOI for the proposed Rous Head Harbour marina

 Yesterday Fremantle Ports released an EOI for the proposed Rous Head Harbour marina. It is likely to include more than 100 boat pens and will also feature cafes, offices and tourism facilities. Premier Colin Barnett came to North Freo to launch it with Transport Minister Simon O’Brien.

Apparently the marina plans are still very much at the conceptual stage so there still may be scope to include a boat ramp.  Speaking to Fremantle Ports I was also told that access to North Mole would also be improved by a new road and bike ways around land newly reclaimed by the dredging. Council will look at this shortly to give feedback.

11th of the 11th – Remembrance Day and new plaque up at Monument

Despite the blustery conditions there was a big crowd up at Fremantle’s Monument Hill for the Remembrance Day Service. Following the service I had the pleasure of unveiling a bronze plaque– the first addition to the Fremantle War Memorial since it was unveiled in 1928. The addition to the memorial was made possible through the initiative and drive of memorial deputy warden Chris Grisewood and heritage architect Alan Kelsall.

I have posted the text of the speech I gave below:

•           Looking at our memorial today, it’s hard to believe its tenuous and somewhat turbulent history.

•           The significance of Fremantle’s memorial has grown thanks largely to the hard work of a small group of volunteers.

•           Hard work began right from the memorial’s inception in 1925, throughout the years of WWII, subsequent conflicts, and finally to the memorial’s current management arrangements.

•           The original plan was to create a much grander memorial after the overwhelming loss of life during WWI in which Fremantle lost a whole generation of young men.

•           Even then there were many opinions about the planned monument, but the Council of the day held sway, and commissioned a local sculptor/builder to start work.

•           Despite coming up with the chosen design, the sculptor unfortunately underestimated construction costs which led to his business foundering, and his relocation interstate.

•           Sadly he never got to shape his design into reality.

•           What we see in front of us today, is a scaled-down version of that original concept.

•           Not included from the original design was an internal stairway and marble tablets to hold the names of those sons of Fremantle and surrounding districts who died as a result of the Great War.

•           Due to the omission of the marble tablets, this memorial has been one of very few in Australia that has not included fallen servicemen’s names.

•           Today a new bronze plaque has been erected – the first addition to the memorial since it was unveiled in 1928.

•           The recent discovery of mass graves in Fromelles, France –which contained the bodies of many Australian soldiers including “Diggers” from Fremantle – has inspired the new plaque’s design.

•           Incredibly, from Fremantle and its surrounding districts, there were 841 young men lost during the Great War alone.

•           This left almost every street in the area with a grieving family.

•           As some were only able to enlist by giving false ages, later it was found many went off to war when they were just sixteen years old .

•           They became part of the ANZAC spirit by taking their chances and going off to see the world in what many of them saw as a big adventure.

•           The plaque we unveil today commemorates their loss in tragic circumstances.

•           This addition to the memorial was made possible through the initiative and drive of memorial deputy warden Chris Grisewood and heritage architect Alan Kelsall.

•           We owe them our deepest gratitude.

•           We also owe thanks to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which provided the funds for the plaque’s manufacture.

•           The plaques text was originally written by Dr James Sykes Battye. The text was written for inclusion into a time capsule buried at the monument.

•           The plaques text has been used in a speech by the mayor of the time, Mayor Sir Frank Edward Gibson.

•           During a pre-restoration inspection of the memorial, Fremantle fire brigade members went inside the structure, found the capsule and its contents were copied before replacing them within the memorial.

•           I know both Alan and Chris see the plaque as an extension of the original structure which now will better enhance the community’s understanding of the memorial’s purpose.

•           I share this view.

•           We should always remember those Fremantle sons who gave their tomorrow, so that we would have our today.

•           Now, I have much honour in unveiling this plaque dedicated to our sons’ of Fremantle, I would like to invite Father Tony Maher to bless the plaque.

(Unveil plaque and Father recites blessing and sprinkles holy water)

•           I would like to thank you all for your attendance and invite all distinguished guests, serving serviceman, ex-serviceman and associations to the Council Administration Building Reception Room to join me for light refreshments.