Anzac Day, Fremantle

Mums, Dads, Diggers, Kids, and Memories

Anzac Day in Fremantle is always a little less precise  on  military precision but full of camaraderie. Poignant moments sometimes give way to gentle humour.

Here are a few photographs from yesterday’s Esplanade assembly point.

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Finally a favourite from 2011. An old digger (sailor actually) was wheeled onto the parade ground but before he took his place in the parade he whipped out a hip flask and took a slug. The last picture was taken in 1977 in Perth. The parade was over and this old fellow walked over to what may have been his old regimental flags, took off his hat and stood silently, looking at them for a few minutes….

Anzac Day, Fremantle

Anzac Day Perth E 1977 CORR

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Dymocks Bookstore to Close

Lights Out For Dymocks -High Rents and Antisocial Behaviour  Force Closure

Dymocks Bookshop in Fremantle’s High street Mall is to close in mid-May as a result of high rents and anti social behaviour.

Clive Klikker, the manager of the family owned business said: “We pay $250,000 rent here while we know stores close by, in the High Street, pay around $100,000. We have tried to negotiate with the owners, the Manning Trust, but they will not listen”.

Mr Klikker went on to explain the decision is the result of several issues: “We’ve had a spate of antisocial behaviour. I had a can of Jim Beam and Coke thrown over me about two weeks ago and last week somebody tried to destroy our counter. He came in asking for scissors but I wouldn’t let him have them, his behaviour indicated that may not have been wise. He then proceeded to try to wreck the counter. The police simply said ‘Oh, he’s harmless, he probably wanted them to cut his guitar strings’.

“We do see a bright future for the city but not for ten years or so, when we have more people living here, when council’s development plans begin to work. The mall is a conduit for people but we have seen Queen Victoria Street refurbished, where there is virtually no pedestrian traffic, and nothing has been done here.

“I regret having to do this, we do have a viable business but with these high rents it has become impossible …  and we’ve been here for ten years. The shop was here for several years before we took over and we know so many of our customers personally, we’re friends, but we cannot be viable with rents this high”.

Clive Klikker explained that he and other mall traders have repeatedly asked for the area to be upgraded with better street furniture and lighting but to no avail. In the absence of effective policing High Street Mall traders recently employed a small team of security guards to combat anti-social behaviour in the area.

New York Cheaper

Anecdotal evidence indicates that rents in Fremantle are higher than in high-profile shopping areas in New York.

Perth/Fremantle is the fourth most expensive city in the world according to Numbeo.com  -well above New York, London, Sydney, Melbourne and Singapore. Oslo tops the list.

NOTE: John Dowson Comments

Since this story was posted former Deputy Mayor John Dowson has added additional  information relayed to him by the owners of Dymocks. Scroll to the comments below.

Fremantle Hospital

Ramped Up With Nowhere To Go.

My family had a virtual season ticket to Fremantle Hospital’s emergency ward. There were times when we felt we should have an apartment there, it may have been cheaper all round. We’ve had broken bones fixed; more stitches than a Chinese sweatshop could produce; cat bites treated and holes in the head patched up more than once. I doubt many people within striking distance of Freo’s hospital can be too critical of the service they have received. I can even remember the hospital being built. That would have been back in the mid 1970s and I can forgive it for being ugly with it’s overpowering neo-communist functional architecture.

A Shout Which Couldn’t Be Ignored

A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link and that link almost broke this week. In fact it may still prove to do so. A friend, I’ll call her Jane Doe for the sake of this article, had been helping my neighbour with some light decorating work, nothing at all strenuous. I was enjoying a quiet gin and tonic on my verandah when my neighbour shouted out in a voice bordering on panic: “Rog, get down here fast, really fast, quick” It was a tone which couldn’t be ignored.

I ran to her house. Jane had collapsed and was unconscious in the garden. Anne my neighbour (not her real name) quickly explained that Jane, who had been sitting chatting, had suddenly complained of a severe headache, looked at Anne, vomitted  and fallen unconscious out of the chair in a matter of a second or so (nothing to do with Anne’s looks, she doesn’t frighten people that much).  I asked Anne to call an ambulance, tell them it was very urgent. I had checked Jane’s pulse which was very strong and fast and I didn’t suspect a heart attack.

There’s no point in going into finite detail but this was obviously a life threatening situation.

The ambulance arrived within a short time and Jane had recovered some degree of consciousness but could not talk. A paramedic got to work, asked Anne and me some questions which we answered in detail with other information about how this had occurred. The medic said she felt Jane was dehydrated. Without any real medical experience between us we were not going to argue. However, we both felt that was a diagnosis which was way off beam. Jane was treated for about 30 minutes and then taken to the hospital.

Five Hour Wait For Diagnosis

This is where the system started to unravel. It was Monday 8th and by now around 6 o’clock. The ambulance was ramped for at least two hours as emergency was busy, treating cases on a priority rating. Jane was placed in a corridor for three hours and when a doctor finally diagnosed her it was to say there was a suspected aneurism – a life threatening condition. She was quickly sent to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital’s world-class neurological department and immediately  operated on to relieve pressure on the brain and drain the cranial cavity of blood. The following day she had a five hour operation to place a stent.

The current situation is there has been an additional five hour operation and Jane is still in danger of not recovering.

Keep The Emergency Ward, Keep the Hospital, No More Ramping.

My argument, and I don’t think too many people will disagree, follows. It is not meant to be critical of the ambulance service or of the paramedic. A paramedic is not necessarily a doctor and they are well trained to deal with emergency situations. However, on this occasion Anne and I didn’t feel the paramedic had listened closely enough to our description of the incident.

However, as result it is likely the ambulance was ramped and Jane, who would have been reported as being dehydrated, would not have been considered the highest level of emergency. It took five hours for the critical nature of the patient to be realised.

The question of ramping at an overcrowd hospital has to be considered as a really weak link in an otherwise excellent statewide service. In this case it could yet cost a life or severe brain damage as a result of the delay.

Thus our new state member of parliament and Fremantle’s council must ensure Fremantle’s emergency ward remains open, ramping must stop and  consideration should be given to additional training for paramedics.

Fiona Stanley Hospital will open shortly. Two emergency facilities should be retained … in fact Fremantle Hospital, the medical heart of the city, must be kept pumping.

We live in one of the wealthiest states in the world (if we’re to believe what we’re told). Thus we should be able to maintain a fine medical service for the public.

 

Loopers BID Failed

Roel Loopers Quits BID Committee

Fremantle BackChat understands that Roel Loopers, the President of the Fremantle Society has quit his position on the board of the Fremantle Business Improvement District (BID) committee. BID is an organisation which has been established to assist businesses in Fremantle and is partially  funded by ratepayers.

Loopers resignation, unlike his resignation from the presidency of the Fremantle Society, was made without fanfare. Unlike that resignation he has apparently not been asked to reconsider his BID decision.

Deadbeats And Has Beens

Concerns had been raised about Loopers suitability to be a member of the board. Shortly before he was elected to the BID board the Fremantle based photographer had referred to a group of successful professional photographers and academics, who had organised the Fremantle Portrait Prize, as: ” … a bunch of dead beats and has beens” on social media.

The Fremantle Portrait Prize, run by a group of dedicated volunteers attracted close to 700 entries from 22 countries and world-wide publicity for the city. Though it received no public funding the success of the venture was such that about $6000 was donated to charity. Loopers comments reverberated throughout the Australian photographic industry, were condemned as unethical and unprofessional and prompted one committee member to ask : “Does Roel drink?”

Shortly after Loopers made the comments he was elected to the board of the embryonic BID and questions were asked as to whether a person who had condemned members of his own profession and openly admitted his own business was struggling was a suitable candidate to advise other business owners.

Looking For Work

In a recent blog headed “Fremantle’s Ugliest Man Looking for Work” (Freo’s View 29 March 2013) Loopers intimated that his business has failed and he is looking for work. He said: ” … as my profession has not sustained me … I am keen to find additional work to create regular income”.

Over a period of several years a number people, mostly friends and colleagues,  made generous attempts to assist Loopers but that help and advice, in nearly every instance, was rejected.

Loopers is normally a generous, jovial and gregarious character, prepared to help anybody and to volunteer for many things. He has, as a result, received public recognition in the form of a citizen’s award. He also promotes himself as Fremantle’s most popular blogger using the social media as a cut and thrust, though often one sided and inaccurate, vehicle for his opinions and is frequently outraged when his debatable opinions are challenged.

However, in describing himself as the King of Uglyland he may be advertising another side of his character.

American Journalist Threatened

It has come to the attention of Fremantle BackChat  that Loopers has periodically sent emails to members of the community who have agitated him. These emails often contain personal insults and threats of legal action. In some cases [including this writer] he made accusations of bullying and threatened to ‘inform police’. When asked to produce the evidence or to post a comment or retraction to accusations on his blog he has steadfastly refused to do so.

In one instance an American journalist, who wrote an excellent promotional article about Fremantle on the internet, was threatened with legal action for copyright infringement. The journalist was accused of illegally using Loopers pictures to illustrate the Fremantle article. If there was an infringement it was possibly on the part of the people who chose the picture and posted them on the blog, not the journalist. Loopers has never proceeded with his threats against anybody and in that case did not make an apology for his erroneous accusation.

Churlish Action

In an incident involving a local entrepreneur Loopers voluntarily supplied a set of pictures, free of charge, to be used on a promotional web site. They were excellent images and did Loopers professional ability no harm at all. However it appears he had a fit of pique, presuming his work was not well enough appreciated. As a result he asked that the pictures be removed from the site and if they were not he would take action for copyright infringement. The email was impolite and his action appeared to have been churlish.

In light of these and other intemperate outbursts it seems that the choice for Loopers to be a BID member may have been poor.

Roger Garwood

DISCLOSURE: Roger Garwood is a judge for the 2013 Fremantle International Portrait Prize. He was not involved in the organisation of the 2012 event mentioned in this article.