When Freo was silly

SILLY TOWN is a fictional realm inhabited by colourful characters who lived in Fremantle between 1920 and 1960.

Using illustrations and poetry, artist Gaea Anastas brings to life an era when communities pulled together in adversity.

“It encompasses the spirit of community, carrying an important message of self-love and co-existence,” she says.

• Gaea Anastas’s vivid illustrations recall Freo’s larrikins.

• Gaea Anastas’s vivid illustrations recall Freo’s larrikins.

The Fremantle artist’s exhibition was inspired by Bill Marks’ book South to Sillytown, (Fremantle Press 1997),  a vivid evocation of the wags and lairs living in South Fremantle and Hamilton Hill between the two wars.

“From what I read people stuck together [then], Anastas says, “We still do that in Fremantle.”

Why locals dubbed Hamilton Hill, with its mix of housing and stables, Silly Town, is lost in the mists of time.

“It may be something to do with [horse] racing,” Anastas suggests.

Silly Town is part of Fringe World and is on at First Floor HQ, Frame Court Leederville until February 15.

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