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Fremantle invites you to come to the fire

Fremantle Festival returns this year with a series of events bringing people together in a celebration of community. Immerse yourself in the colour and pageantry of the Blessing of the Fleet, discover the beauty of Australian Indigenous culture at Wardarnji or bring the family down to a blaze on the beach with the return of Kraken.

Wardarnji is a dynamic experience of Nyoongar storytelling and dance.

For the first time, the City of Fremantle presents Karla-k Koorling, Come to the Fire, inviting audiences to gather around many fires to enjoy intimate performances, including song, spoken word, puppetry and dance. This is a taste of what’s to come, with the Fremantle Festival set to move to the depths of winter in 2019, with a ten-day immersive experience of wild art and hidden treasures. Intimate spaces, port history and cosy corners make Fremantle an ideal place for a winter festival.  This year’s three-day festival format will pave the way for the transition to an expanded ten-day format in winter in 2019. 

Now in its 113th year, Fremantle Festival is Australia’s longest running festival and continues to evolve as a celebration of one of the most unique cities in the world and its extraordinary community. 

Wardarnji26 October, 6.30 pm (gates open 5.30 pm), Fremantle Arts Centre

Let the beauty of the oldest songs, dances and language in the world transport you to another place, as fires burn long into the evening and people come together to celebrate Indigenous Australian culture. Wardarnji is a dynamic experience of Nyoongar storytelling and dance.

Blessing of the Fleet28 October, from 2 pm, procession begins at St Patrick’s Basilica

Watch the pageantry and splendour of the Blessing of the Fleet as this annual procession makes its way from St Patrick’s Basilica to Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour, culminating in a spectacular fireworks display at 8 pm. The Blessing of the Fleet is a tradition that began centuries ago in Mediterranean fishing communities to ensure a safe and bountiful fishing season. First celebrated in WA by an Italian migrant fisherman, the historical port of Fremantle has been the backdrop to the tradition for 70 years.

Kraken3 November, from 1 pm, Bathers Beach & Arthur Head

Kraken is a blaze on Bather’s Beach centered around the Kraken effigy – a sea monster emerging from the sands. Kraken is a free community event that delivers a small taste of the Blazing Swan Festival presented by the Fremantle based Blazing Swan Inc. Each year this not-for-profit organisation produces the regional Burning Man in Kulin, Western Australia. Surrounding Bather’s Beach the Blazing Swan theme camps offer entertainment and food. 

You are invited to wander the fires enjoying the elements and the voices of Fremantle.

Karla-k Koorling, Come to the Fire3 November, from 6 pm, Maritime Tafe Carpark, Fleet Street

As the sun sets over the Indian Ocean we will light fires to bring together the people of Fremantle. Between the river and sea we will gather, the fires will light the way, keep us warm and centre our community stories. Each fire will host a performance of song, spoken word, puppetry or dance. You are invited to wander the fires enjoying the elements and the voices of Fremantle.

The 2018 Fremantle Festival will run on 26 October, 28 October and 3 November, with a series of free community events. For more information, visit – fremantlefestival.com.au

Ed
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Performances, workshops & classes in Freo

Drawing workshop with Ross Potter at WA Museum - join this extraordinary artist in a fabulous drawing workshop where you will contribute to a wonderful mural of life-size animals. Using a grid system to combine small observational drawings into a large mural, Ross will teach you drawing and shading skills while you contribute your own patch to a spectacular large artwork.

Theatre camp - Yelo’s five day school holiday camps are first of all about having fun! Youngsters get the chance to work with fantastic directors, learn a scene from the show, and perform it for family and friends at the end of week’s performance.

Photography workshops - explore the As Eye See It exhibition at the WA Shipwrecks Museum and find out about the wonderful world of photography with expert photographer Kingsley Klaus. Develop your photography skills, train your eye and piece together your photos to make a wonderful record of your world as you see it. The best photograph will receive a wonderful D3400 camera prize from Nikon! As Eye See It photographic exhibition is a collection of photographs by young people living in care in WA. Participants were given a camera and encouraged to take four photographs of things which hold a special significance for them and provides an insight into the worlds of these young people.

Kaarla Kaatijin performance at WA Maritime Museum - Kaarla Kaatijin (which in Noongar means to 'understand fire') will use Noongar knowledge and storytelling to deliver traditional stories about fire in an exciting and engaging way. Come on a journey into the lives of Djitty Djitty (Willy Wagtail), Kulbardi (Magpie), Yonga (Kangaroo) and many more familiar friends as they explore the importance of Kaarla (Fire) in the next chapter of Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company’s immersive Kaatijin series.

Fremantle Arts Centre (or FAC) – where do we start? FAC has an extraordinary range of classes these school holidays for all interests and age levels. 3D animating, pop art selfie painting classes to contemporary hand stitching for teens and all within the beautiful surrounds of the beautiful arts centre (you might be tempted to enroll in a class too).

Kids learn to sail (7-14 years) – learn to sail with the sailing experts at East Fremantle Yacht Club on the beautiful Swan River. No previous experience is necessary and courses run across 4 days from 8.30 am - 12.30 pm.

The Night Zoo - Spare Parts Puppet Theatre. Jamie lives in a concrete jungle, a fast-paced and busy city. From her window high above the city Jamie dreams of making friends with animals, but Mum and Dad won’t let her have a pet in the apartment. Tonight, her dreams will take her on a one-of-a-kind visit to the zoo, where she discovers the remarkable joy an animal can bring into her life. The Night Zoo explores the special connection between humans and animals and the importance of caring for another living thing.

Full circus carnival action with Circus WA – workshops for 5-8 years, 9-14 years and 15 + years are a great place to develop some of the tricks of the circus trade including trampoline, acrobalance, aerials, tight wire, hoops and juggling. This is a great way to start your holiday mornings then go home and share your tricks with friends and family.

Inkling Art Space school holiday art classes – draw and sculpt your own monster inspired by Tim Burton’s illustrations or perhaps the Tjanpi Desert Weavers from the central desert to sculpt animals and people. Inkling Art Space once again offers a collection of creative workshops designed to encourage and support creativity in children.

Find more activities on our special school holiday pages. One final tip–if you’re coming into Fremantle for the day we’d recommend parking on the outskirts of the city and riding in on the free CAT bus.

Ed
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Best kids’ eats in Freo

It’s the school holidays, you need to get out of the house, the kids want 'fast food' and you are beyond thinking about other options to appeal to fussy eaters, that’s cheap, easy and kid friendly. We’ve put together a shortlist of our top places in Fremantle. 

Early start options for breaky or brunch, South Beach Café is a top pick with families. Rolling lawns, a full size basketball court and playground keep kids of all ages happy while you watch on sipping your latte in the sunshine.

Family favourites for lunch or dinner; you can’t go past authentic Italian home style meals and the Capri, Roma Cucina and Parlapa welcome the whole family. Parlapa’s light and fluffy gnocci is just to die for!

Pick up all the yummy picnic bits you need from Manna Wholefoods, Abhi’s or Kakulas Sister for an outdoor lunch and some fresh air at one of Fremantle’s parks (head over to our parks pages for inspiration).

There are generations of families with fond memories of trips to Fremantle with lunch at Fishing Boat Harbour or Culley’s Tearooms. A complete refurb has retained the 100 years of tradition in homemade pies, sausage rolls, cakes and the best milkshakes!

There’s something on the menu for everyone at Old Shanghai food court in the Henderson Street Mall (Wed-Sun). It’s cheap and cheerful and on a nice day there’s room for the kids to be boisterous. A trip to the vegie section at Fremantle Markets (Fri-Sun) just across the lane might be a nice eye opener to the joy of fruit and vegies for kids.

Relax over a glass of wine or a beer in the alfresco area at Clancy’s Fish Pub while they burn off some energy at Princess May Park. The sandpit at Little Creatures is another favourite and Moore & Moore has a gorgeous nature play area tucked away in the rear courtyard, directly behind the heavenly Paper Bird Children's Bookshop & Arts

On a budget? Check the school holiday pages for special offers from local businesses – Atrium Garden Restaurant at the Esplanade is offering ‘a kids on us’ special for lunch or dinner. For an afternoon treat San Churro Fremantle offers free kids churros.

Kids will always have room for desert so we’ve saved the sweets til last…

Let them eat cake! But make it very good cake! Using the best ingredients and made on the premises our Freo favourites include Dolce & Solato in South Fremantle – they specialise in mouthwatering Italian pastries. La Vespa Patisserie on South Terrace makes a mean chocolate croissant and Exquise Patisserie in South Terrace Piazza (opposite the Pickled Fairy & Other Myths) is a world class French patisserie right in the heart of Fremantle.

Time for icecream - kids with special dietary needs can get in on the action with these sweet treats. Roho Bure in South Fremantle offers small batch vegan ice cream from scratch and Coco Whip at Fremantle Markets is 100% vegan, gluten and dairy-free and packed with probiotics making it the perfect snack or treat for both adults and kids.

We all love a good old fashioned lolly shop and there’s two in Fremantle that will make your kids’ eyes boggle; Fremantle Candy Store at Fremantle Markets specialises in sweets from all over the world (Strawberry Shortcake Oreo’s are a thing!) and Sarah’s Lolly Shop in South Terrace Piazza (just next to the waffle place) stocks chocolate flavoured salt & vinegar chips (whaat!!), choc coated spearmint leaves and a great dolly mix. 

Find more yummy ideas on the eat & drink pages.

You can stay longer in Fremantle with your second hour free parking at Parry Street, Point Street and the new Cappuccino Strip Car Park.

Ed
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Top 10 fun Freo school holiday adventures

There's a stack of adventures on offer in Freo these school holidays - get the kids outside and enjoy this gorgeous spring weather (there's a few inside options too!).

1. Jet boat ride topped off with a whale watching experience on the ‘Okie Dokie’ during September and October. Westcoast Jet offer the experience of a lifetime on their 850 horsepower open ocean jet boat departing from Fishing Boat Harbour. Book early as these tours sell out quickly!

2. The Escape Hunt Experience in Fremantle is the chance to be your best Sherlock Holmes. There are five rooms split into 3 different themed adventures in varying degrees of difficulty. For beginners try The Lost Treasure of Captain Black Jack, there’s lots of trickery in The Young Wizard’s Quest and you’ll need to really be on your game with the hardest of the three, Escape from the Mine – you’ve got 60 minutes of air. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4F6N5u2lYkk

3. Fremantle Prison Tunnel Tour is for those with an adventurous spirit. Wearing a hardhat and overalls you descend ~20 metres below the prison to explore the labyrinth of tunnels built by prisoners. Discover original blast holes, bores, oil lamp recesses and artefacts from the days when working in the tunnels was hard labour for prisoners. Guides lead the trek through dry sections of the tunnels before boarding replica convict punts to explore the submerged passageways accessible only by boat. (Minimum age 12 years, bookings essential).

4. The Antartica Experience, a virtual reality adventure at WA Maritime Museum where you can explore a day in the life of Antarctic scientists as they research this mysterious continent and the effects of climate change. This is the first documentary of its kind, filmed in Antarctica in 2018 in spectacular 360-degrees with 4K, high-resolution images. Bookings essential http://museum.wa.gov.au/museums/maritime/antarctica-experience

5. Rollerskating – Tony and Isabelle have been operating the Rolloways Leisure Centre in O’Connor since sometime in the eighties if the retro wall carpet is anything to go by. It’s one of the oldest skating rinks in Perth. Sessions are two hours long and entry includes skate hire if required – or you can bring your own skates. Check the website for the school holiday timetable. No credit card or eftpos here – it’s cash only.

6. Army Museum of WA Victoria Cross Exhibition – commemorating the centenary of the last 100 days leading to the Armistice of 11 November 1918, the Army Museum presents a special exhibition featuring six original Victoria Crosses together with the story of their recipient and the action resulting in the award.

7. Fremantle Public Golf Course – did you know Fremantle has a public golf course! It’s only 9 holes but we are told it’s a tricky combination of narrow fairways and small greens where the Freo Doctor can be your best friend or worst enemy. You can hire everything you need and you can even tootle around the course in a motorised buggy.

8. Learn about Fremantle’s dreamtime stories - take a journey to the time of the Wadjuk, the traditional Nyoongar custodians of Fremantle, Perth and the Swan River. Indigenous Tours WA share Fremantle's untold history spanning 40,000 years from the Dreamtime to the arrival of the early explorers and settlers.

9. Bouldering – firstly you might ask what is bouldering? It’s a form of indoor rock climbing on 4.5 meter high climbing walls. Problems (the boulders) are climbed without ropes or harnesses with one person climbing at a time. Portside Boulders has over 100 problems available within the one bouldering area at any one time and problems stay on the wall for 4 weeks before being changed. So there will always be something new to climb at Portside!

10. Watch the whale migration – there are two main species of whales that can be sighted off Fremantle’s coastline, the boisterous and graceful Humpback Whales are a crowd favourite and if you’re lucky you’ll see the Blue Whales – the dinosaur of the deep. Whale Watch WA tours depart from Sardine Jetty in Fishing Boat Harbour – it’s the experience (and an adventure) of a lifetime. Use the promo code FREOSH18 when booking online to receive a 10% discount off your booking.

New adventures just listed…
Kids learn to sail
Drone flying lesssons
School holiday locked up tours
Survivor skills circus workshop

Stay longer in Fremantle with your second hour free parking at Parry Street, Point Street and the new Cappuccino Strip Car Park.

Ed
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Ten things to do in Fremantle - free or under $10

School holidays roll around 4 times a year – so why does it always catch us unprepared? We’ve put together the top ten things to do in Freo that are free or under $10 so you can save your dollars for a morning or afternoon treat.

Expand your playground horizons (pick up some yummy picnic treats from Kakulas Sisters or one of the bakeries in South Fremantle). Tuckfield Oval (new) it’s a hidden gem but it has the best views over the harbour and Swan River. Samson Park is Fremantle’s bush forever park with winding nature trails, jarrah, marri and tuart trees, wildflowers in September and it’s the home to over 50 bird species, reptiles and bats. Booyeembara Park (also known as Boo Park) offers large grassy areas, swings, a small skate park and a large pond waiting for paper boat racing! *Tip brand new playgrounds have been installed at Sir Frederick Samson Park, Davies Park, Davies R eserve, Gilbert Fraser Oval, Fremantle Park and Fremantle Leisure Centre.

Esplanade Youth Plaza has been voted one of the best skate parks in Australia by the people that use it, the kids, and there’s a cool etiquette between skaters of all ages and skill levels, sharing the space.

Get the bikes out–South Beach to Leighton Beach is a flat ride all the way with plenty of stops for a rest & a snack along the way. Early starters can pick up free bike hire at the Fremantle Visitor Centre (in the Town Hall).

Transportation Exhibition at Fremantle Prison. This exhibition marks the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Hougoumont, the last convict ship to arrive in Australia. It’s open til March 2019 and it’s free.

Each day at 1 pm sharp the cannon is fired and the time ball lowered behind the Round House – synchronise your watches everyone. You can register to fire the cannon at http://www.fremantleroundhouse.com.au/bookings (gold coin donation).

Find Fremantle’s amazing street art using the self-guided walking trail at Explore Fremantle. The trail explores the street art in our city, the artistic careers that were born here and the international artists that have contributed to an urban street art collection.

Set a photo challenge to explore Fremantle – try finding the word ‘Fremantle’ in obscure places or perhaps a word sleuth challenge to spell out the letters F.r.e.m.a.n.t.l.e (eg Ferris Wheel, Round House, Exit sign). Post your best on social media (hashtag fremantlestory).

Fremantle Port is WA’s largest general cargo port and the daily activity of the harbour as ships arrive and depart to and from exotic destinations is great viewing from Victoria Quay or looking back from the South Mole. You can find shipping movements on fremantleports.com.au

Visit a Fremantle gallery: September and October sees three significant exhibitions opening. Dark Swan–Contemporary Tales of the Gothic Antipodes–a contemporary re-imagining of the romanticism of the Victorian; the annual Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award and KOPA at Moore’s Building Contemporary Art Gallery celebrates the 100 year anniversary of independence of the three Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania.

The Batavia is one of Australia’s oldest known shipwrecks. It was wrecked on the Abrolhos Island’s off the coast of WA in 1629. It was located 300 years later, the timbers of the hull and artefacts excavated, and put on display at WA Shipwreck Museum in Fremantle (entry by gold coin donation). Tip: Batavia is also the former name of Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta.

Just in - free parkour workshops at Esplanade Youth Plaza - for more info and to register click through to the City of Fremantle website.

One final tip–if you’re coming into Fremantle for the day we’d recommend parking on the outskirts of the city and riding in on the CAT bus–it’s free too!

Ed
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Join the club

From pre–work to after hours, there’s a bunch of ways to both upskill and get social in Freo.

Crochet in the fish pub

Hooks, yarn and conversation are the heroes at The Crochet Rumble at Clancy’s Fish Pub. Learn or hone your crochet skills over drinks and chat while working on your creations–something of your choice, or a beanie to donate to clients of St Pat’s homeless centre. Just a fiver gets you a seat at the crochet circle, and there’s instruction and tools if you need. The rumble kicks off from 7 pm on the second Wednesday of each month.

Early morning ocean swimming

The Polar Bears are a North Fremantle institution, meeting daily at Port Beach for a bracing dawn plunge. Exercise is not the only benefit of this ritual. There’s a high level of social inclusion–tea and toast from around 8 am–plus the great sense of achievement from catching the day at its youngest. It’s a low key gathering, and swimmers range from the serious to the ‘tea–bagger’, but you need to demonstrate a commitment if you want to join the club. Swimmers meet at the Fremantle Surf Life Saving Club between 5.30 and 7.30 am.

Singing at the Navy Club

Love a singalong but intimidated by traditional choirs? Here’s a no–fuss solution. Sing!Sing!Sing! is a pub choir with an emphasis on fun, and drop-ins are welcome. The group gathers upstairs at the Navy Club to belt out three part harmonies for a range of pop songs. There’s no public performances, no auditions and no requirement to read music. Just listen to the songs (they change weekly, clues are available by email) before you show up with your fiver to sing, and get the dopamine hit that comes with singing in company. The tuneful fun happens on Tuesday nights, 7.30-9 pm.

Group gardening

Many hands make light work, and in the case of Hilton Harvest, the rewards are edible. Volunteer gardening sessions happen at the friendly community garden a couple of times a week. Enjoy some social banter, green thumb enhancement and recipe-swapping while helping with seasonal tasks like planting seeds, making compost, netting fruit trees, mulching, pruning, staking and attending to the chooks. Newcomers to gardening are welcome, and if you bring something home made to share for morning tea you’ll be well loved. It’s free to join in; Saturdays from 9.30 am to 11 am, and Mondays 9 am to 11.30 am.

Beer school

Going out for drinks can be educational. At the Monk’s Beer School, there’s something different under discussion each month, but politics and religion are unlikely to get a look in. If it’s hops related, it’s on the radar. Learn from the Monk’s brewer about all things beer, and taste a few brews while you’re about it. You can get small bites or a more substantial feed with your ticket to this informal talkfest, from $25. It’s on the last Thursday of each month, at 7 pm in the Ivy Room.

Book club

The Studio Anthro book club is all about reflecting on ideas and events, and getting fresh perspectives on life. It’s a relaxed gathering of keen readers, many of whom started as strangers but have become firm friends. The reading list is on the Studio Anthro website, and there’s a 10% discount at New Edition if you mention the Studio Anthro connection. Register if you’d like to join in. The group meets on the second Sunday of the month at Stacked Café at Stackwood, 10.30 am to midday.

Ed
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Quirkout

If your shiny New Year’s gym membership is languishing unused, you’re not alone. Keeping the love for keeping fit is hard, and never more than in winter. Maybe it’s time to find an off-beat, treadmill-free alternative.

Bouldering
It’s worth a visit to Portside Boulders just to clap eyes on the futuristic, multi-coloured, multi-angled landscape. Rock climbers and would-be climbers of all levels can get their rocks off here, climbing 4.5 metre walls without ropes or harnesses. It’s known as bouldering, and the ever–changing wall configurations are known as ‘problems’. There’s loads of them, and they change each month, for variety. Portside also has a gym and studio where you can take classes in aligned disciplines like yoga and core strength. You need special shoes but you can hire them, which is free on your first try.

Circus
Could acrobatics, stilt walking, unicycling and tightwire–walking ever be a drag? How about trapeze, devil sticks, trampoline and hoops? You can find out at Circus WA’s circus skills classes, which are run for adults as well as the youngsters. For the reticent, most classes come with a two week no obligation trial period at the beginning of term. This might be the chance to hone your sense of fun and thrill alongside the usual suspects of strength, flexibility and fitness.

Acroyoga
As much about creativity and play as it is about strength and balance, acroyoga is a blend of acrobatics and yoga. That generally means partnering up with someone (or two) in class, doing counterbalances, twists and lifts, but it’s fine to come to a class solo. At Yoga Grooves, they’re also keen to point out that you don’t have to be super strong or springy to participate. It’s more about trust and healing–they even incorporate some Thai yoga massage techniques into classes.

Rollerskating
Part disco, part running laps, part Xanadu fantasy, rollerskating is a recreational phenomenon with stamina. Rolloways in O’Connor is proof. With an in–house skate pro shop, they can kit you out in the latest blades and get you on the rink for some of the best heart-starting and buttocks-toning imaginable. During the week skating is a late afternoon and evening affair; on weekends you can take a lesson in the morning and be spinning past the retro wallpaper at speed by the afternoon.

Ed
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