Stable squeeze

Ted Miller (from the famous racing family) and Randwick Stables manager Alison Bolas with Bill the horse and Brahma the pooch.

THE owners of the last working stables in the Fremantle area fear the McGowan government’s plans for the former Roe Highway corridor could squeeze them out.

Randwick Stables is just over the border in Cardigan Street, Hamilton Hill; two years’ time will mark the 100th anniversary of the site’s sale to Frederick ‘Jack’ Marks, who was from a prominent racing family and built the L-shaped stable that still exists.

Stables manager Alison Bolas said a recent concept plan produced by WA’s lands department showing residential development surrounding the property has them worried (“Roe warriors fear betrayal,” Herald, November 5, 2022).

“What I’m most concerned about is needing a curtilage – a protective zone around the stables, because it’s heritage listed and can’t function as a stables without having a zone around it,” Ms Bolas told the Herald.

Beach access

“We want Cardigan Street protected too, because it’s our access to the beach, and its traditional access too – historical.”

Ms Bolas said they were worried people would buy houses nearby, then start complaining about the stables.

“But also the access, because we get daily visits from people coming here to see the animals. 

“Adults and children, all sorts of people; even homeless people come and see the horses, the whole spectrum of the community comes and goes.

“They love seeing the horses and they love the other animals. 

“Also, we’re getting increasingly less and less places we can ride and our access to the beach is very, very important to us.

“We still have to cross two main roads, but we don’t need a whole lot of development to have to negotiate as well.”

Ms Bolas wants to see more of the former Roe corridor zoned parks and recreation under the scheme amendemnt proposed by the McGowan government; it wants the current road reserve removed from the books permanently.

Ms Bolas said $50,000 had been set aside to look at a curtilege for the stables, but the money was used to pay for consultants to produce a broader study of the Hamilton Hill swamp area. She said the study was comprehensive and probably paved the way for sections of Clontarf Hill being returned to traditional owners under a recent Native Title deal with the WA government, but she feels as though other aspects of the area’s heritage aren’t getting the same attention.

“When [Randwick] was heritage listed, one of the categories it was listed as was as living heritage because it’s still a stables; a lot of people seem to have forgotten that. 

“Also that it was a landmark, and if you develop all around it, it’s no longer a landmark.”

Ms Bolas said there were about 40 Cape Lilac trees at the rear of the stables, along with a stand of tuarts which had become an important foraging site for black cockatoos; indeed, the Herald arrived at the stables about the same time as a large flock of around 60 Carnaby’s cockatoos who planted themselves in the trees. 

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