Fremantle’s only avenue

On the weekend, a friend remarked that Wray Avenue was the only avenue in Fremantle.

I had never thought about it before, but it’s true.

While there are a few in Whitegum Valley (Minilya, Yalgoo, Wongan etc.) and a couple in Beaconsfield (Fifth and Central), in the locality of Fremantle, Wray Avenue is the only road to be classified an avenue.

For me, an avenue conjures up images of a tree lined, main street. While this seems to be a common connotation, it’s origins apparently come from the French verbĀ venir, meaning “to come”. This fits in with the typical role of an avenue road regularly used as a throughway.

While Wray Avenue certainly has trees along it now, tending to be (proudly) native in origin, this hasn’t always been the case.

Back in the 70s, the verge was set back much further and much of the current land used for landscaping was for parking cars.

Here are links to some photos from that time of houses on the corner of Wray Avenue and Brennan Street, further up at the now vacant shopfront that used to be the St Vincent de Paul’s store, and houses on the corner of Wray Avenue and Attfield Street.

I know a few people who have suggested widening Wray Avenue, either to allow better flow of traffic, add bike lanes or accommodate tramlines. I also worry that a conversion to underground power will mean trees have to be felled. Any return to the considerably balder verges of the past would be awful and likely be met with steely resistance.

Many of my neighbours are fiercely proud of the revegetation of Wray Avenue with native trees and the cringe at the idea. I’d actually like to see even more.

There’s so few trees on the streets of south-central Fremantle that they’re an important feature that should be recognised and retained.

Even the olive trees planted by the previous owner of the house next door (number 38) were much hated by my neighbours. One of them – the one in front of my house – was mysteriously chopped down a few years ago. I’m actually rather glad.


The Laundrette

Just as a followup to my last post, I’ve discovered what the new tenant of the Laundrette will be and it’s not a restaurant at all.

Unbelievably, it’s going to be a dressmaker. Yes, another dressmaker!

I’m not sure what the attraction for dressmakers is on Wray but I’m not complaining. Madame Bukeshla’s store always looks incredible. It makes me feel jealous that I’m not female as I can’t wear any of their stuff but still get to see her cool store everyday.

Hopefully the two stores on the street will generate a buzz around the area attracting customers for the two stores – I hope they do well together.

The dressmaker will retain the name The Laundrette too, including the sign out the front.

I’m looking forward to seeing some amazing window displays competing for our attention on either side of the street in the future.

Wonderful stuff for Wray!

What the shop?

The Laundrette has closed down on Wray Avenue at the only time I’d really use it: Winter.

I mean, where the hell am I going to dry my duds on the three or four days it’s going to rain this year?

I figured it had just gone out of business, since there’s a lot of talk about businesses doing it tough, with high rents and reduced returns. So I was pretty surprised when I saw some folks in there over the weekend setting something up.

And here’s a picture.

It looks like a restaurant of some kind, with a kitchen being set up in the back and two toilets being built against the right wall. In the front right of the space are bamboo poles and the frame (just visible) behind which is a pile of Balinese furniture.

So it looks like a Thai or Indonesian place. I hope the latter as Peds around the corner is pretty good for Thai.

What’s really cool about it is that, despite all the talk of businesses lacking confidence, the Wray Avenue precinct seems to be thriving. The (terrribly named) winebar Who’s Your Mamma? is also being set up at the moment.

I’m really looking forward to whatever this shop is and hope it serves great food!