More uses sought for two iconic buildings

John Dowson, president of the Fremantle Society.
John Dowson, president of the Fremantle Society.

The City of Fremantle commissioned a report on the long-term use of the two venues, with 15 recommendations, ranging from restoration works and upgrades, staffing structures and marketing issues drawn up to show how they can be best used in the long term.

The Town Hall is used sporadically for events such as weddings and community events, while Victoria Hall was the home of Deckchair Theatre before it closed last year.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said the City wanted to explore options that would allow the venues to be used for things such as community events, school presentations, formal events, functions or trade shows.

‘Both are great venues and having them both operating provides for a growing community need for space while adding vibrancy to the inner city,’ he said.

‘We are not as concerned with them being profitable as them being well used by the Fremantle community for a wide range of community activities.

‘They both need substantial capital works to bring out their full potential but personally I would like to see Harbour Theatre performing in Victoria Hall alongside other artistic organisations so there is something on every night in that part of Fremantle.’

Former councillor John Dowson, who has been vocal in his fight to restore the Town Hall, said the report was short on detail of changes to the venues, but restoration was needed to make them of a higher standard.

‘I appreciate that some people may wish to extend the uses that these buildings can be put to, but because of the heritage values of both places any changes should not be damaging to the fabric of the places, nor obscure the primary impact of large volume spaces that they both contain,’ he said.

‘These places are always better used as they were originally intended due to the very high heritage value they possess.

‘A good use of the spaces would be performances such as musicals, plays and concerts along with weddings, formal dinners, product launches, exhibitions and displays.’