Australian Heritage Festival in Freo

And if the City of Fremantle International Street Arts Festival wasn’t enough festival activity for you then there is also the month-long Australian Heritage Festival 2019 also kicking off tomorrow in Fremantle.

The City of Fremantle has hosted its own Heritage Festival for a number of years, and is thrilled to be part of the Australian Heritage Festival’s program this year.

The Australian Heritage Festival has 159 events registered in WA, and we are proud that 40 of them will be hosted in Fremantle.

In this year’s Fremantle program, you’ll find inspiring guided tours at WA’s only World Heritage-listed building Fremantle Prison, and plenty more across the city’s important heritage sites.

Collectors Weekend on 18-19 May is shaping up to be a fantastic addition, and of course, I’m pleased to be involved in the bike tour again where I’ll present stories of the unbuilt and historical saves across our city.”

Australian Heritage Festival 2019 runs from 18 April – 19 May. The theme this year is Connecting People, Places and the Past.

For more information about the festival’s events, visit the Australian Heritage Festival website.


Highlights include:


Collectors Weekend: Claudia Chan Shaw

Claudia Chan Shaw presents on the Art of Collecting. Claudia is widely known around Australia as co-host and present on ABC TV’s popular program Collectors and is a presenter on Eastside Radio 89.7FM.

Free (bookings required

WA Maritime Museum

Saturday 18 May, 11am


Fish Guts and All – The Return

The successful and colourful tour returns. Let’s dive deeper and explore the undercurrents that created the fishing industry in Freo. Where the fishermen and women mended and made their nets, processed their fish and refitted their boats. Street the streets and ride in style to places that used to be.

Wednesday 1 May – Friday 3 May, 2-4.30pm


Demolished and Unbuilt: The Mayor’s Alternative Fremantle History Cycle Tour

Returns after being sold out the last two years!

Fremantle is a city of layers with thousands of individual planning choices shaping the unique place that it is today. Join Mayor Brad Pettitt on a bike tour exploring what could’ve been – the stories of the unbuilt and the historical saves.

Free (bookings required:

Saturday 11 May, 2pm

Rainbow, 1 Canning Hway


Waalyalup Waarkiny

Art, craft workshops, storytelling and music performance. Wadjuk Nyoongar Richard Walley and family will deliver creative cultural workshops for children e.g. toolmaking and clay modelling. Children will get the opportunity to make a small tool using clay.


Fremantle Town Hall

Saturday 4 May

10.30 – 3pm


Fake News and False History: Peter Greste

Join us for the annual keynote address of the Fremantle Heritage Festival, delivered by the internationally renowned journalist Pete Greste. In this fascinating keynote address, Greste will explore the complex issues of truth and lies as it relates to our past, present and future.

Free (bookings required)

Tannock Hall, University of Notre Dame


Anzac Day in Fremantle

The City of Fremantle is planning a range of events and services to ensure local residents have opportunities to pay their respects this Anzac Day.

In a welcomed move from tradition, this year marks an important change to Fremantle War Memorial’s Dawn Service order of proceedings when the Ode of Remembrance will be recited in Noongar language for the first time ever.

The Ode of Remembrance was written in 1914 and recounted at every Anzac Day service around the country.

Last year Professor Len Collard from the Australian Research Council and The University of Western Australia’s School of Indigenous Studies translated the Ode into Noongar language.

We are very honoured to have Professor Collard attend our Dawn Service at Fremantle War Memorial and read the Ode of Remembrance in Noongar language.

It will be a significant occasion for Fremantle, and furthers our commitment for cultural inclusivity and respecting Aboriginal history and people.

The Dawn Service at Fremantle War Memorial commences at 5.50am, with a second service at North Fremantle’s Fallen Soldiers Memorial Park at 9am.

To assist people attending the Dawn Service, the City has organised designated free parking at Beach Street carparks (CP12A and CP12B) and John Curtin College of the Arts’ carpark (90 Ellen Street) until 12pm. There will be a free shuttle bus service running from Beach Street and John Curtin College of the Arts to Monument Hill between 5-6am and 6.30-7.30am. Additional parking options are available on the City’s website, with free parking available until 8am.

Free public transport is available for anyone wearing military uniform or medals travelling to Fremantle’s Anzac Day services. Connecting shuttle buses to Monument Hill will depart Fremantle Station Stand 3 at 4.35am and 5.05am, and return after the Dawn Service.

The Anzac Day commemorations will conclude with the traditional March through the main streets of Fremantle before returning to Esplanade Reserve for the Closing Ceremony.

Road closures will be in place from 9.30 to 11.30am and affects Nairn Street, Collie Street, Bannister Street, Essex Street, Norfolk Lane, Essex Lane, Marine Terrace, Cliff Street, Mouat Street, Henry Street, High Street, Market Street, South Terrace and Pakenham Street.

For more information about services, transport and wreath laying opportunities, visit the Anzac Day page on the City of Fremantle’s website.

Fremantle’s Anzac Day program – Thursday 25 April 2019

  • 5.50 – 6.30am: Dawn Service, Fremantle War Memorial, Monument Hill, Knutsford Street
  • 9 – 9.30am: North Fremantle Service, Fallen Soldier Memorial, corner Queen Victoria Street and Harvest Road
  • 10.15 – 10.45am: Anzac Day March, Esplanade Reserve, Marine Terrace and surrounds
  • 10.45 – 11.30am: Closing Ceremony, Esplanade Reserve, Marine Terrace



From Fibro to Fabulous: Sanctuary Magazine features Freo

There are lots of good reasons to fix up and adapt rather than build new so I was pleased to see the latest issue of Sanctuary (a magazine dedicated to modern green homes) this issue focus on retrofitting our housing.

Over the years I have collected interesting stats like:

  • The demolition of one small old building will negate the environmental benefits of recycling 1,344,000 aluminium cans due to the embodied energy that is lost.
  • …the energy embodied in the existing building stock in Australia is equivalent to ten years of the total energy consumption for the entire country
  • The energy inherent in the material and construction of “a typical Victorian period house contains energy equivalent to 15,000 litres of petrol which is enough to send a car round the world five times, or half way the distance to the moon”

Despite this old fibro houses that we have plenty of around Freo often aren’t seen as worthy of retrofitting. This issue of Sanctuary makes the case as to why you should including taking as one of its many interesting case studies our humble fibro abode in White Gum Valley.

It’s, as they say, available at all good newsagents and bookstores.

The Fenians Festival comes to Fremantle this weekend.

Following an amazing sold out concert last night with Irish music legend Sharon Shannon and Susan 0’Neill, today (Saturday 23 February) the WA Maritime Museum celebrates Fenians Festival 2019 – O’Reilly’s Escape with free activities for the whole family.

Tomorrow the Moondyne Walk takes place throughout the streets of Fremantle on Sunday 24 February from 7am to 7.30pm.

This inaugural event is a public reading of the entire novel written by John Boyle O’Reilly about Western Australia. It was first published in Boston in 1878 as a serial in the Boston Post and later published as the novel Moondyne in 1880.

This is possibly the very first novel written about Western Australia and presents a penetrating view of colonial life, Aboriginal culture, and the power dynamics in operation at the time.

The entire book will be read in public over 12 hours at sixteen historic locations throughout Fremantle starting at 7.00am at the Fremantle Prison and finishing at 7.30pm during the Gaelic Gumbo concert on the lawns in front of Kidogo Arthouse at Bathers Beach.

I will be reading a section at the Fremantle Town Hall around 11am

You can register your interest in hearing this amazing story at one or more of the following sixteen locations.

The closing event features a Gaelic Gumbo concert on the lawns of Kidogo Arthouse with Lucky Ocean, The Zydecats, Fiona Rea and Tommy O’Brien.

Is High Street in Fremantle WA’s most historically rich street?

The West Australian yesterday (Kent Acott

A nice way to start the year in Freo:

Is High Street in Fremantle WA’s most historically rich street?

You could mount a fairly strong argument that Fremantle’s High Street is the most historically important street in WA.

That is certainly the view of the port city’s mayor Brad Pettitt.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt on High Street looking east.
Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt on High Street looking east. Picture: Sharon Smith

“From a heritage perspective, the west end of High Street is probably the most significant street in WA, with the Round House — WA’s oldest public building — at one end and the magnificent Fremantle Town Hall — built in 1887 — at the other,” he said.

“It’s a wonderfully intact street at the centre of a wonderfully intact heritage precinct.

Fremantle Harbour, blasting, 1894.
Fremantle Harbour, blasting, 1894.Picture: State Library of WA

“In 2017, the entire west end of Fremantle became the largest single place to be permanently included in the State Register of Heritage Places thanks to its incredible collection of gold-rush-era buildings, which reflect the growing confidence and civic pride in WA at the turn of the century.

“Interestingly, the heritage streetscape along High Street that we all love today was only made possible through the demolition of dozens of buildings dating from the original settlement of Fremantle in 1829.

Construction of Victoria Quay, Fremantle Harbour, circa 1892-97.
Construction of Victoria Quay, Fremantle Harbour, circa 1892-97.Picture: State Library of WA

“In the context of the current renewal of the east end of Fremantle, it’s a reminder that Fremantle has always been a dynamic place, renewed and refreshed over time.

“It has been especially gratifying to see the adaptive reuse of these heritage buildings into a new range of interesting 21st century businesses and seeing this part of High Street come back to life.”

High Street, 1895.
High Street, 1895.Picture: State Library of WA

Of course, at Fremantle’s heart is its harbour.

In the early days of the settlement, shipping was served by a jetty that extended into the open sea from Bathers Beach.

High Street, 1890-1900.
High Street, 1890-1900.Picture: State Library of WA

In 1897, government engineer C.Y. O’Connor oversaw the deepening of the harbour and removed the limestone bar and sand shoals from its entrance — thus creating a serviceable port for commercial shipping.

The two moles were built to protect the harbour entrance and land was reclaimed to build quays and warehouses. The inner harbour was opened on May 4, 1897. The harbour’s basic structure and layout remain the same today.

Fremantle Town Hall Restoration the Best in the Nation

The meticulous restoration of the historic Fremantle Town Hall has taken out a national construction industry award.

McCorkell Constructions, the City of Fremantle’s contractor on the $3.1 million project, won the ‘National Commercial Historical Restoration/Renovation’ award at the Master Builders Australia National Excellence in Construction awards on the weekend.

The 2018 MBA National Awards Dinner was held on Saturday at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

 The Town Hall restoration became eligible for the national awards after winning the state award in July. The project was also recognised with a WA Heritage Award earlier this year.

Everyone involved in the Town Hall project should be proud of their achievement.

The Town Hall is obviously a very important building for Fremantle and one that we all cherish. The level of skill and attention detail that was required to return the Town Hall to its original splendour was quite remarkable, so for the project to be recognised as the best historical restoration in Australia is a well-deserved reward.

The restoration of the 130-year-old Town Hall, which was completed in May 2017, was the largest heritage conservation project ever undertaken by the City of Fremantle.

It reinstated the building’s traditional appearance by stripping the paint off the walls to reveal the original stucco exterior, and also included reconstructing the slate roofs and refurbishing the historic clock.

A further $250,000 has been allocated to begin restoring the interior of the building.

The recent demolition of the adjoining 1960s City of Fremantle administration building has revealed the rear walls of the Town Hall for the first time in around 120 years.

City Heritage Officer Gena Binet said the original limestone on the east facing wall was in much better condition than anticipated.

“We could not conserve or inspect the rear walls of the Town Hall during our recent external conservation project because they were hidden by the old administration buildings,” Ms Binet said.

“We were concerned they may have been damaged when the 1960s building was built or that they may have been rendered with cement, which would have caused the stone to deteriorate.

“This part of the wall is like a time capsule recording how the building has changed over the years. You can see where new openings have been made and then blocked up, plus the scars of earlier structures like fire escape stairs.


“However, we are puzzled by one of the blocked up openings – the upper level one closest to the High Street Mall. It doesn’t seem to serve any purpose, so if anyone has any ideas why it’s there we’d love to hear from them.”


Fremantle Oval in 1968

With the Fremantle Oval redevelopment coming into focus I thought it timely to share this gem from a 1968 South Fremantle Football Club training session.

Not only will you see John Todd, Graeme Scott, Norm Cox, Kevin Miller, Gary Greer and Peter Troode kicking the ball around the Fremantle Oval but the last minute or so has some great historic footage of Fremantle viewed from the oval including the Knowle and other historic buildings.