Friday, June 29, 2007

Freo Markets

(Freo visit, June 2007)

Fremantle Markets

The Freo Markets are Freo. No visit to Freo is complete without a wander through them. They were built in 1897 as a market and have been a market ever since. The building's a nice old bit of Federation Romanesque (circa 1890-c.1915) and is on the National Trust and Heritage list.

Up the front, near the South Terrace entrances, they're a lot more touristy than I remember them. Bright things with koalas and kangaroos on them snag the tourist's eye and wallet, hot pancakes and chicken sticks and dropped icecream perfume the air.

But up the back under the tarp it's still the same, slapdash stalls with cheap belts and ugg boots, corner stalls overflowing with farm-fresh fruit and veg, signs spelt in migrant English and Italian grandmothers weighing your zucchini and translating the price out loud. Excellent stuff.

Repro architecture on South Terrace Fremantle

Repro architecture on South Terrace Fremantle, across from the Markets and echoing the Markets' 19th century red and white.

Nicely done but definitely fake. There was a car-yard or something on this site when I was a wee thing.

Piper at Freo Markets

Busker at Freo Markets. I love a good bit of piping and this guy was not bad at all. Took his undies off and flashed us as he piped. Nice arse but it was blowing a cruel wind so there was little else to be seen.

Sword swallower at Fremantle Markets

Sword-swallower/fire-eater busking outside the Markets on the Sail & Anchor corner. He's not 20 feet tall, he's just standing on a pole.

Here here's waving the sword about and exhorting the crowd to chuck money towards his funeral fund if he stuffs it up.

Sword swallowed at Fremantle Markets

And down it goes. Nothing went wrong but he got money anyways.

The tattoo on his chest is of ribs and sternum. On his back he had a spine and shoulder blades. Looked pretty cool.

"1897" the date plaque on the Markets says and there's some Latin under the swans. Didn't translate it but such wording is usually along the lines of "as good as any in the eastern states or Pommyland".


Suzanne44 said...

How fun. Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston is like that, although last time I was there they had yuppified it quite a bit with specialty shops and what have you. No sword swallowers when I was there last, but a pair of unicyclists were giving a good show.

Spike said...

Other than ride without falling off, WTF do unicyclist buskers actually do?

Suzanne44 said...

I seem to recall they were chasing each other around in little circles, forwards and backwards, throwing shit back and forth to each other, that kind of thing.

I think I might have seen a sword swallower once, as a small child, and some fire eaters. Not the kind of thing you see a lot of in small rural areas - you need a thriving city for that. God, I miss civilisation!

Spike said...

I'd never thought of sword-swallowers as one of the advantages of civilisation but it's true!

Anonymous said...

Woy Woy needs a piper like that to welcome all the people off the train heading for fishermans wharf. Wasn't there a pipe band associated with the "old" Ettalong Memorial Club? Perhaps there are a few closet pipers on the Peninsula who could be up for the job. Standing on the new bridge might be a good spot (did they really name it after you Spike?)

Spike said...

Nup, they didn't name it after me, Damian. I'm the other Spike, not the Milligan one.

Woulda been nice if they named it after a local mover and shaker. We already got the Spike Milligan Room at the library, another at the Glades and a few other mentions of him here and there and he got the Environment Centre on Blackwall Road kickstarted I'm told.

A piper standing on the new bridge piping would be a fine sight. Though we may have to repeal the no underpants rule for the winter.

Spike said...


There was and possibly still is an Ettalong Club pipe band the Australian Pipe Bands very briefly informs me.

United Mineworkers Federation of Australia lists a piper as having played for Ettalong and includes members' Most Embarrassing Band Moments. Scroll down to Brad King's.

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