Sunday, May 3, 2009

Fremantle Arts Centre

Kalamunda was popular this weekend. I had to drive up there on Friday evening to collect ten Macs destined for landfill. They are all good machines and I still have plenty of people on my list who are waiting for one.
And yesterday we travelled up to Kalamunda again to go to a large market. Kalamunda is a lovely village and except that it is quite a way from the ocean, prone to bushfires and pretty warm in summer, we could happily live there. The market was packed and parking was a problem. I don't think I have seen so many jewellery stalls.

We had to leave before midday as I had a chap coming to collect a computer early afternoon. He turned up early because he wanted to get back home in front of TV to watch the Derby between the Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles. As soon as he left, we went into Fremantle to look at a couple of exhibitions, one at the old George Hotel and a couple at the Fremantle Arts centre. A lovely ex student of mine, Rebecca Baumann, had a showing and being an artistic philistine, I must gently ask her what it was all about. Whilst there we visited the small museum and looked at a permanent exhibition about immigration to W.A. Even though I knew about the migration policy after ww2, this exhibition illustrated the hardships the 'New Australians' encountered. We also spent some time in the Sound and Light exhibition which has been the baby of Richard Rennie a retired teacher. It is a superb collection to rival that section of Sydney's Powerhouse Museum.

The Fremantle Art Centre is a wonderful building constructed by convict labour from 1861 to 1865 as a purpose-built Asylum for the Criminally Insane.
The building was designed to accommodate......'sixteen Imperial lunatics [convicts]; six Colonial lunatics; one Colonial lunatic prisoner; nine Colonial female lunatics'.

There were a couple of dodgy deaths of inmates in the early 20th century and eventually patients were transferred to other institutions around the city and the building became a home for Old Women up until 1942 when it was taken over by the U.S. Navy as their W.A. headquarters. After the war, the building fell into disrepair and The W.A. Education Department wanted it demolished to get the land for sports fields for the adjacent John Curtin High School. Big hoo-ha about that idea and it was eventually restored as the Fremantle Arts Centre. It is a wonderful building and we are lucky that some people saved it from the 1960s 'out with the old' movement.

No comments: