Thursday, January 31, 2013

Historic Tour of Fremantle with the Mayor

A couple of weeks ago I went on a tour of Fremantle organised by CUSP- the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute. Our tour guides were Brad Pettitt and Peter Newman. Brad is a super friendly man, has a Phd in sustainability and is the mayor of Fremantle. Peter is Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University and has been involved in developing train lines in Perth, with the aim to reduce societies dependence on cars. They are both so SO SO knowledgeable! I was mega impressed! What I loved about Brad is that he spoke in really matter of fact manner. He didn't preach about how amazing his council is or about how shit councils have been in the past. He acknowledged that Fremantle needs a lot of work, and was willing to listen to anybody who opened their mouth. Peter knows a great deal about Fremantle's interaction with the local Indigenous people, and was able to point out many silly things White people have done.

A few things I learnt on the tour-

  • Most of the heritage buildings along High St were built in the 1890s around the time of the Gold Rush in Western Australia
  • Western Australia's oldest public building is in Fremantle: The Round House, built in 1931 as a gaol for Indigenous people who were then taken to Rottnest Island
  • In the 1970s there was a plan to widen High St into a four lane highway and extend Roe Highway such that it would run through where Henry Street now is. That would have been horrible!!
  • The building which Dome now sits in was Fremantle's first library
  • The site where Metropolis Fremantle now sits was an Opera house. Think that Fremantle had an opera house!