Onya Sid

I AGREE with the article quoting Sid Breeden (“Older Nashos feel left behind,” Voice, January 14 2023) as I was one of these Nashos, and now in my 80s.

We had basic training in the arms (the .303 Enfield, Bren machine gun, mortars etc and all explosives) by the returned regulars from the Korean conflict who were hard but fair, always saying if conflict did break out again in Asia we would be first in line to be deployed. 

We were regular army, paid and on call 24 hours a day, no different than those that went overseas.

Healthwise now the Gold card would be greatly appreciated for all of us surviving Nashos.

Don Clatworthy

Shaky start

GOOD quality planning got off to a shaky start in 2023 in Fremantle when mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge tried to sabotage an officer recommendation for a setback of a new proposed Coles development on Cantonment and Queens Streets.

She wanted it deleted, and put forward an amendment to that effect. 

Despite commercial considerations not being an allowable planning consideration for councillors voting on planning matters, she said just that – that the “commercial reality needed to be taken into account.” 

It was shocking to hear the Labor mayor and her Labor deputy Frank Mofflin try to undo what was part of the highly controversial scheme amendment 49 changes for that site where council, despite community opposition and promises of a 7-storey height limit for the site, actually passed a height limit of up to 12-storeys – and given those heights, required a wider road reserve for Queen Street. 

There are plenty of other good reasons for the prescribed setback as well.

Greens councillors, and sensible ones, voted the amendment down, but it was disappointing to see Mayor Fitzhardinge, and Crs Mofflin, Graham, Camarda, and Jones try to undo the orderly planning for Queen Street which will in the future not only be a new bus route, but is intended to be a boulevarde from the railway station to the centre of town.

Again, council showed that heritage does not matter much any longer in Fremantle. 

There was no requirement for an archaeological investigation of the site, and no mention of the heritage artefacts that had to be kept from the recent demolition of the Woolstores shopping centre.

Developer Silverleaf state that they have a high rise application of at least 14 storeys, higher than any building in Fremantle, for another part of the site already lodged with the state government. 

But no-one at council has even seen the plans. Extraordinary.

Onward into the dark we go. 

John Dowson
President, Fremantle Society


THE report that the visible asbestos/cement slate tile roof of the Fremantle Arts Centre building is to be replaced with galvanised iron or “tin” (“Fear tin will take shine off heritage,” Herald, January 13, 2023) is horrifying on a number of counts.

First, as Fremantle Society president John Dowson says, it would kill off any dream to have the building World Heritage listed.

Second, it would be sacrilege to spoil Fremantle’s arguably most important and imposing historical building by replacing the existing tiles with galvanised iron.

Third, and perhaps most important, there is no reason why the roof could not be refitted with WA sheoak (Allocasuarina fraseriana) roofing shingles. 

Many historical and heritage listed buildings in WA have sheoak shingle roofs (with appropriate waterproofing), mostly supplied over the past 50 years by Whiteland Milling, a native timber sawmill at Busselton. 

But our government has decreed that sustainable timber harvesting in our regrowth native forests must cease for ideological and political reasons. 

Whiteland Milling sold their last lot of sheoak shingles just a few weeks ago and will be dismantling their mill within three months. 

WA sheoak is a common timber species in our south-west forests that regenerates easily after harvesting and burning. 

There is no logical or scientific reason why a modest quantity of sheoak timber cannot continue to be harvested sustainably, ad infinitum, from our forests.

The unavailability of locally grown sheoak shingles to reroof the Fremantle Arts Centre – and other heritage buildings from time to time – due to the native timber ‘logging ban’ imposed by our premier is another tragic ‘unintended consequence’ of that awful decision.

Can you imagine the thatched roof on Anne Hathaway’s cottage in Stratford Upon Avon being replaced with galvanised iron!

John Clarke
JC Forestry

(Forestry and timber consultant) Floreat

It was war

THANK you for publishing my article describing our 1951-59 Nashos at Swanbourne and Rottnest followed by compulsory CMF and Army Reserve list for five years (“The Silent Generation’s Nashos,” Herald Reflections, January 20, 2023).

For readers clarification there is a correction for your covering article “Older Nashos feel deserted”. Cedric Bell is quoted saying although they were held in reserve, Australia was not at war.

Australia was indeed at war – namely the Korean War from September 28, 1950 to 1953.

The National Service Act 1951 was in response to global tensions leading to that war.

It required compulsory call-up of males turning 18 on or after November 1, 1950. 

After hostilities ceased on July 27, 1953 the Australian military remained in Korea for a further four years during which time the Reserve could have been deployed. 

Notably, the ANZUS Treaty came into force on April 29, 1952.

Even today, as part of Operation Linesman, Australia deploys four ADF members twice a year  to Korea to ensure tasks conducted within the DMZ are in accordance with the terms laid out in the Korean Armistice Agreement of 1953.

Sid Breeden

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