Rocking out

Fremantle local COLIN NICHOL questions why the “Rainbow” sea container sculpture gets repaired while the cliffs at Arthur Head continue to crumble.

WITH attention distracted to so many issues in Fremantle, the crumbling cliffs of Arthur Head have somewhat slipped into the background. 

But that doesn’t mean the situation is in stasis, in fact appearances indicate it’s the opposite.

Dissolving of rocks continues, as does fretting of tunnel ceiling sections, tumbling of rocks and stones, and there are new signs large, high sections on the western front may be in danger of loosening and hurtling down. 

The hill seems to be either expanding or sinking – pushing out chunks of its sides.

Danger to people in the area should be avoided by dint of the surrounding fencing and the tunnel cage, but all that detracting fencing and those bars can’t be permanent – they’ve already been there too long. 

• The cliffs at Arthur Head need urgent maintenance.

Now there is cause for disquiet over the size of new openings, potential falls and undermining of the grassed area and wall at the top. 

The town hall has twice recently talked-up forming a committee to look at the future of the area – the latest of several similar unfulfilled intentions – but that hasn’t progressed. Unless physical improvement is prioritised, the signs are there that deterioration will continue to escalate toward an even more shameful situation for the city, its citizens and the state. 

What that committee should discuss is not what they should do, but rather what they should not do. 

No tinkering, little should be changed, Arthur Head is what it is and that is enough. 

It just needs care, to be repaired and restored, and to function effectively, and it will sell itself. 

A lesson to be observed about the whole central city. 

Prettying it, metaphorically putting a ribbon around it, will not make it better than it is.

When focusing on Arthur Head, it should be recognised that the Kidogo Arthouse and its immediate surrounding areas of Bathers Beach Art Precinct are finished product. 

They don’t presently need much improvement; well, again like the rest of the city, better and more colourful lighting would be good.  

At the other end, J Shed needs maintenance from time to time but presents very effectively and cheerfully and takes care of itself. 

Hard surfaces are insufficiently maintained by council, although they say they want improved access through there and more could be made of the park in its remarkable location without losing its charm. 

Importantly, there is no friendly wave from that area across to the beach and Fishing Boat Harbour to signal, “Hello, we’re here.” 

It’s the middle that is the urgent challenge – erosion on the Round House and tunnel, plus those dangerous cliffs and large threatening cavities, crevices and cracks close to the top. The rusting and fading rainbow arch by the bridges is being repaired, while Arthur Head gets sticky plasters. 

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