Open House Perth Comes to Freo – Sunday October 1st.

Tomorrow October 1st between 11am-3pm we will throw open the doors to some incredible homes throughout this historical port city.

Why Freo?
Not only is Freo home to many of Australia’s best heritage buildings; it is also home to a number of Australia’s leading design studios such as Kerry Hill Architects and Spaceagency to name a few, as well as some of the most interesting young architects in town such as David Barr, Philip Stejskal, Jonathan Harris, Simon Pendal, Arcadia, Local Architecture, Ben Braham, MSG, and more…

Come join us for the day and celebrate the designs of leading local architects that are doing WA proud

Trafford St
Architect Joe Chindarsi

Community to help design new Kings Square public spaces

Kings Square is about much more than just new buildings and the community will soon be able to have their say on how public spaces in Fremantle’s Kings Square will look and function after council this week adopted a draft concept design for the area.

Key aspects of the draft Kings Square Public Realm Concept Design include:

  • more shaded areas, with a 5% increase in tree canopy
  • an additional 600sqm of public gardens and grassed areas (a 3.4% increase)
  • a new outdoor children’s play space
  • a designated church yard and urban garden area
  • new paving and street furniture extending further out to the edges of the square
  • the retention of service vehicle access, universally accessible parking and vehicle drop-off zones
  • designated outdoor spaces for events
  • wider footpaths to encourage alfresco dining
  • integrated public artworks celebrating Fremantle’s Aboriginal and European heritage.


The priority is to re-establish Kings Square as the true civic and commercial heart of Fremantle.

Fremantle’s Kings Square is WA’s only formal town square and has a long and proud history of adapting to the needs of the community. The next phase is something to look forward to but it’s crucial we get it right.

When we first consulted the community in 2012 the key themes that came through were for future planning to prioritise pedestrians, deliver high-quality landscaping and shade cover and to bring back activity to all areas within Kings Square.

I believe the draft plan delivers on the principles the community has asked for, but we’ll soon be asking people for their ideas on the plan and what could be done to get an even better result


Enhancing public spaces in and around Kings Square is a key component of the once-in-a-generation Kings Square Renewal project, which also involves the redevelopment of the former Myer building and Queensgate buildings and the City of Fremantle’s civic building and library.

The draft Kings Square Public Realm Concept Design was developed using principles developed and endorsed by a community ‘citizens jury’ in 2012. These principles include the prioritisation of pedestrian space by minimising vehicle movements and non-essential parking, better activating the edges of the square and respecting the historic character of Kings Square.


View the draft Kings Square Public Realm Concept Design


The draft design will be available for public comment shortly via the City’s My Say Freo online community engagement portal.

Secrets of our Cities visits Freo.

I am looking forward to Greig Pickhaver aka HG Nelson’s new series coming to SBS, Secrets of our Cities which has an episode dedicated to Freo. Once again Freo showing that we live in a city with more stories (and secrets) and interest than almost anywhere else in the country. Here is the blurb:

In the 3 part series he visits Fremantle, Fitzroy and Bondi, to uncover the “hidden history and unsung residents who’ve helped shape these places into the cities they are today.” But does he take a train to get there…..?

Now an electric, artistic hub, the seaside port of Fremantle has come a long way from its convict outpost days. Greig discovers the waves of migrants who’ve added a splash of colour to the city; including ten-pound poms, Italian migrants and boatloads of young women who arrived on ‘bride ships’. He explores the roots of Fremantle local and ACDC legend Bon Scott, and learns about the Rajneeshees – an obscure religious cult that painted the city orange.

In the trendy, latte lover’s paradise of Fitzroy, Victoria, Greig learns how a former slum where many European migrants made their home evolved into one of Melbourne’s most desirable suburbs. Fitzroy was a hub for activism and the centre of the new call for Aboriginal rights in the 1970s, and once welcomed an unlikely and unscheduled visitor: Muhammad Ali.

Greig travels to the iconic and glamourous beachside suburb of Bondi, Sydney. He learns about the large Jewish community that have called Bondi home since the 1830’s, and even catches a glimpse of a subtle Jewish spiritual boundary that lines the pavilion. He visits Australia’s very first Milk Bar and meets fashion designer Jenny Kee who left Australia for London to follow the Beatles.

Set against the backdrop of moments that have made history, Greig explores the different waves of migration that have shaped some of our most famous cities, and meets fascinating and colourful local characters along the way to remind us of our unique Australian heritage.

Tuesday, 26 September at 7.30pm on SBS.


Working together on Freo Oval plan

The State Government and the City of Fremantle are working together to progress plans for the redevelopment of the Fremantle Oval precinct.

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Roger Cook and I discussed the redevelopment plans during an inspection of the oval on Wednesday.

The Freo2029 Transformational Moves strategy and the Port Cities Priorities campaign we released in December last year identifies two key priority projects for Fremantle – the redevelopments of South Quay and Fremantle Oval.

The return of Fremantle Oval to community hands represents a great opportunity to reconnect the oval to the city centre and re-establish it as the premier sporting location in Fremantle.

The benefits of the project can only be fully realised if the government moves to unlock state-owned land in the area, so it’s great to have the Minister here to show him around and explain what a unique opportunity this is to work in partnership on future plans for the oval precinct and Fremantle Hospital.

Fremantle Oval returned to community hands when Fremantle Dockers surrendered their lease on the ground in August.

Under the redevelopment plan Fremantle Oval will become the home of both South Fremantle and East Fremantle WAFL clubs and a WAFL centre of excellence for umpires and coaches.

The playing surface will be re-aligned to bring it closer to the historic Victoria Pavilion, and capacity will be increased to 20,000 to cater for football, cricket and other events.

Surplus land around the oval precinct offers a range of opportunities for future uses including better public connections through the area, a mixture of commercial and residential development and parking facilities.

“Fremantle is about as far from Fountain Lakes as it gets…”

Fremantle is about as far from Fountain Lakes — the fictional, whitebread suburb in Kath and Kim — as it gets. Artsy and eclectic, culturally rich and rimmed by beaches, it’s a modern-day utopia for comedian Peter Rowsthorn, who played Brett Craig in the hit series.

He’s called “Freo” home for the past four years, drawn as strongly to its festivals and colourful community as he is to its sandy stretches. “You can clear your head,” he says. “I just get on the scooter and ride around town, or to the beach. It’s a little bit out of the city, so you feel like you’re in a holiday place without it being flash.” Rowsthorn is in good company.

Ben Elton lives in the sprawling suburb. Tim Winton and John Butler both have homes there. Eskimo Joe’s Kav Temperley, Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker and San Cisco’s Scarlett Stevens are all locals; fashion house Morrison is based in the area’s south. Well-known authors include Craig Silvey, David Whish-Wilson and Joan London.

Like other residents, Rowsthorn occasionally runs into his famous neighbours. “I see John Butler at crowd-awareness gigs, for things like anti-fracking,” he says. “I did Ben Elton’s new film (Three Summers); he might pop into Mojos Bar sometimes. I see Luc Longley and Anna Gare a bit; if you go to something at the Fremantle Arts Centre, you’ll see people.” Fremantle’s fortunes have often risen and fallen in line with Western Australia’s well-documented boom-and-bust cycles.

But while the state’s mining sector remains subdued, Rowsthorn believes the working port town is embarking on an upswing unparalleled since the heydays of the 1980s. “It’s in a transition point. Freo was the hub, ‘the place to be’, but it got stuck after the America’s Cup,” he says. “It’s definitely got its own thing going on now. The council is doing a good job at maintaining the buildings. They know what they’ve got and they’re trying to hang onto it.” Fremantle is regarded as fiercely progressive. Its council has long agitated for a ban on non-degradable plastic bags and became the first to grant a liquor licence to an Australian beach.

The city’s winding streets, ignored by the gung-ho developers of Perth’s past, are characterised by locally quarried stone, crochet “yarn bombs” and gleaming yachts bobbing in the harbours. Its street arts festival championing buskers is the largest in the country.

Architect Nic Brunsdon senses the port’s trademark hippy personality is maturing into a more sophisticated, urbane one. “I think the ‘new Fremantle’ is like the gentrifying part,” he says. “People move to a place because it’s got soul, and the early adopters have created an interesting, liveable place.”

Brunsdon reset inner-Fremantle’s dwindling fortunes when he planted emerging artists, designers and tradespeople into the vacated shell of a 40-year-old department store in 2013. The pop up, MANY 6160, was set up as an antidote to historic Fremantle Market’s dream catchers and tiedye tops. It became Australia’s largest temporary space activation project, signalling that Fremantle wasn’t prepared to curl up and die.

“It’s a time of flux and change,” Brunsdon says. “The new wave of those John Butler’s and Eskimo Joe’s are now emerging, and we’ll know their names in the next five to 10 years.” He lists hip hop group Koi Child and artist Anya Brock as among the new breed. Fremantle’s textured civic fabric has been built through waves of immigration and as the point of entry for 10-pound poms. Records show 3.5 million immigrants passed through Fremantle port between 1897 and 1963. Brunsdon says this meeting of past and future serves as a continual source of inspiration for those in creative fields. “Fremantle is half finished and full of ideas, it’s messy and lively. It’s not a sanitised monoculture,” he says. “Freo has always been the representation of diversity and possibility.”

Clarification on financial health

There have been some assertions thrown around about the City of Fremantle’s financial health in recent weeks so good to have this clarification and update from the Minister and the City of Fremantle’s external and independent auditor (see bel0w).

I would also add that out ten year budget (that shows that the City of Fremantle can pay off all debt around the Kings Square and reinstate reserves – all with only CPI rate increases) demonstrates clearly that the City of Fremantle is in a strong financial position going forward.

Clarification on financial health

The City of Fremantle has received clarification from the Minister for Local Government over the City’s risk profile.

The City wrote to the Minister, David Templeman, in August after it was identified as being “high risk” in a response to a question in State Parliament.

The City’s risk profile was based on reporting from the 2015/16 financial year, where it recorded an unusually low Financial Health Indicator (FHI) score due to a change in accounting methodology.

In his reply the Minister said he accepted information from the City’s independent auditors that, subject to final audit, the City of Fremantle’s 2016/17 FHI score will restore to approximately 85.

For the MyCouncil website and the Department of Local Government’s risk profile an FHI score of 70 and above indicates sound financial health.

The Minister also said he had asked his Department to review the way it communicates its risk profile process to avoid potential misunderstandings in the future.

A wheelie safe city


The City of Fremantle’s Community Safety Team now has pedal power following the introduction of bike patrols.

The new bikes – purchased from a local Fremantle bike shop – will be used to patrol streets and parks from 7:00am-5:00pm, focussing on the city centre and South Beach.

Community Safety Team Leader Chris Scanlan said Fremantle was the first local government in WA to introduce bike patrols.

“With the bikes we can cover a much greater area and respond a lot quicker than we could on foot,” Mr Scanlan said.

“We can also get into the hidden and hard to reach places around the city that are difficult to access in a car.”

The Community Safety Team bike patrol will be conducting joint patrols with the successful Fremantle Police bike squad.

Senior Sergeant Brad Warburton from Fremantle Police said the joint patrols would further strengthen the partnership between the police and the City.

 “The relationship between the City of Fremantle and Fremantle Police has never been stronger,” he said.

“Together we’re achieving some significant and positive results for the community.”

The new-look Community Safety Team, which was launched late last year, are the City’s first responders for low-level crime and anti-social or nuisance behaviour.

Eight team members patrol the Fremantle CBD and suburbs from 7am to 9pm every day of the week, and also respond to call-outs on 1300 360 666.

The Community Safety Team is part of the City’s ongoing commitment to keeping Fremantle safe.

We want people to come to Fremantle to enjoy all the great things we have to offer, so it’s really important they feel safe while they’re here.

Other community safety initiatives include installing additional CCTV cameras around Paddy Troy Mall, Point Street and Cantonment Street, taking the total number of CCTV cameras around the city from 35 to 40 by the end of the year.

Lighting upgrades in Princess May Park and Pioneer Reserve are also planned.