Letters 4.9.21

Stirred up

THIS week’s front page stirred me up; using Midnight Oil lyrics to suggest Fremantle Prison should have the Round House just seems so offensive to me (“Let’s give it back,” Herald, August 28, 2021).

Let’s campaign to actually give it back, to the Noongar people who were tortured there.

Please do something about this? Happy to get involved.

The Ed says: We borrowed the Oils’ lyrics as a subtle reminder that Indigenous people have a deep (though sorrowful) connection to the Round House that needs to be taken into consideration. Indigenous people from around the state were taken to the Round House on their way to imprisonment, and often death, on Rottnest Island, not just Noongars.

Not leadership

MAYORAL candidate  Hannah Fitzhardinge wishes to give the Round House back to the state government because she and her council have done such a dismal job looking after it, and the rest of Arthur Head (“Let’s give it back,” Herald, August 28, 2021). That’s not leadership.

If not for the wonderful Round House Guides who run the place free of charge, council would really be out of pocket. The guides tell the Fremantle Society they are surprised not to have been consulted by the councillor, as one of them sat next to her with a guide’s badge on at 

a recent function. The guides are already struggling with patronage numbers down from 139,000 a year to 40,000 and they don’t want to be cast adrift by an errant councillor, especially as they have a plan for restoration and interpretation that needs support. However, at the moment they dont even have power in any of the cells after 190 years, and council is not budgeting to help them. Council borrowed money from the state government for urgent cliff repairs, but has not budgeted to get Round House restoration or interpretation done.

The community needs to know that the current council in a heritage town have slashed heritage funding to the bone, and just last week Cr Fitzhardinge voted to abolish altogether a policy offering heritage grants to owners of heritage properties. 

She needs to be reminded that rates went up 10.4 per cent only five years before she was elected, to pay for asset management reports and to fund maintenance of council properties like the Round House. We are paying that 10.4 per cent every single year in our rates, but now Cr Fitzhardinge says we are just a ‘fixer-upper’ of a council. As chair of council’s finance committee Cr Fitzhardinge has pushed one bad deal after another.  

We need councillors who promote our great heritage assets, get funding, and do good deals for Fremantle.

John Dowson President
The Fremantle Society


I COMMUTE to work by bike over the Fremantle Traffic Bridge every day and have noticed, following recent works, that traffic management staff are still at either end of the footpath. 

A friend was told they were there because the pedestrian part of the bridge was deemed to be structurally unsound and in danger of collapsing, and they had to restrict people to crossing only two at a time. 

When I asked them, they confirmed this (though said they were to limit movements to five). 

I’m really concerned that there is no signage to this effect, no attempt to inform community members of this risk. 

I looked through last weekend’s edition of the Herald to get some clarity about the condition of the footpath attached to the Fremantle Traffic Bridge and was concerned that there was no story or information about it. 

I would have expected that Main Roads or the City of Fremantle would have issued a press release or printed an advertisement to inform the community, since it seems quite serious. 

If it really poses a risk there should be more effort to inform users. 

Heath Benjamin Adams

Ed says: Thanks for letting us know. 

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