The Fremantle Society event was held in response to a State Heritage Office announcement that the West End could be added to the State Register of Heritage Places. But members of the original West End Working Group have since said the area that is being considered is smaller than what they submitted to the City of Fremantle.
According to John Dowson and Agnieshka Kiera, who worked on the original recommendation, it also included Kings Square and the Fremantle train station, areas that were removed from the submission to the State Heritage Office.
Ms Kiera said the WEWG initially wanted the ‘historic town of Fremantle’ considered for the register, saying it was the City that cut it to just the West End.
Using a map which outlined the era in which Fremantle’s buildings were constructed, Ms Kiera argued that some buildings just outside the West End were built at the same time, backing up their initial inclusion in the submission.
Speaking on the night, former WA premier and Fremantle MHR Carmen Lawrence told the audience that it might not be what they wanted to hear, but lines on a map were not the most important thing.
“The critical thing is to protect the heritage we value,” she said. “I don’t think there are huge differences between the party in this discussion and I hope we don’t lose sight of those objectives.
Ms Lawrence said she believed both parties wanted the same thing, to get more of Fremantle on to the heritage list, and that they should do whatever it took to do so, even if it meant doing so in small increments.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said there were pros and cons for both options, but council had to decide what had the better chance of “getting up”.
“They (Heritage Council) did their own independent assessment and they came to the same conclusion,” he said.
“In the attempts to make it bigger we could get nothing.”