Today, we’re the news

• Fremantle Herald owner Andrew Smith. Photo by Steve Grant

by ANDREW SMITH publisher

THE Fremantle Herald, aka The Chook is now 30!

But what purpose should this milestone serve? First, an invitation to all our readers for their Herald recollections of times past. And second, to send us all their ideas and wishes for the Chook of the future.

Any trawl through our archives yields up an almost overwhelming wealth and breadth of people and stories documented faithfully for the future.

In the very first edition on November 30, 1989 we herald the difficult birth of Notre Dame University, the attempt by the now late Robert Holmes a’Court to bully the Herald into an unequal business partnership threatening to bankrupt us even before we had started, the retirement of the 37-year-long Fremantle Hospital nursing director Olga Hedemann, letters to the editor from Beaconsfield’s Adele Floate on protecting our groundwater, Ron Davidson outraged about the Fremantle Trades Hall being renamed Esplanade Manor after it was taken over by the hotel and from East Fremantle’s Joanne Taggart welcoming a new newspaper that would also concentrate on women and girls in sport.

We had detailed reviews of former mayor Bill McKenzie and then mayor John Cattalini, an interview with Father Elisha O’Shea founder of the former St Brendan’s College now part of the new Seton College, our first column from art academic Julian Goddard on ‘Coffee and art at Papa’s’ featuring local muralist Sam Abercrombie, advertising from a number of businesses and politicians, in particular our very first registered advertiser Old Papa’s (now Grilled) the iconic cafe of Nunzio Gumina’s that brought the cappuccino revolution to Fremantle, Desert Designs, The Sail and Anchor Hotel, ceramic artists Sandra Black and Pippin Drysdale with their Xmas gifts sale, Mills Record Bar, the Federal Hotel, Real Estate agents O’Byrne and Associates, a piece on Netball champ Yvonne rate, columns from food reviewer Bill Beatie, from Solar Talk’s Doug Shepherd, an article on 15-year-old Fremantle athletics champ Ryan Moore, a host of locals heralding our arrival and finally our very first Thinking Allowed from controversial academic Sister Veronica Brady.


And all this was packed into our inaugural 20 pages with a circulation of 30,000 from Fremantle to Applecross north of the Canning Highway.   

Birthday reviews are a timely reminder why we do this week in, week out to provide a measure of calm and balance in a mad and weird world of self-promotion and fake news in all its forms.

Inside this ‘themed’ edition you will discover the briefest resume of a number of stories to give a taste of last 30 years.

But in doing so we know we are only part of every story. The rest remains locked away in the memories of many of those who were reluctant participants or innocent bystanders at the time. So get writing and let us know what you know, the more colourful the better.

And at the same time this is also your chance to tell us what you want from us for the next 30 years: what we do right?; where we go wrong?; and what we should do to enrich the future of Fremantle and beyond.

Sometime soon we will have all our editions online and open for you to look at free of charge.

Happy reading and writing. Please include your name, address and contact details (landline, mobile email address) and how much you’d like us to include when we run your article.

Send your submissions to

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