Les Lauder founded the Fremantle Society and served as President 1973-78, and 1992-93. He came from the Geraldton area to the University of Western Australia from which he graduated with a degree in Psychology. He worked as a guidance officer at several Fremantle area schools. Inspired in 1972 by the work of the York Historical Society, he and others called a meeting in the Town Hall on 6 December 1972, which resulted in the establishment of the Society. He has been in the antiques business since 1979, trading with a partner as Lauder & Howard. They are now in Blinco St, but for some time had premises in Albrecht's Brush Factory in Duke St East Fremantle.
Congratulations to our founder Les Lauder AM for the Order of Australia (AM) awarded to him for his services to heritage.
For decades Les has been an erudite, passionate, and successful advocate for the heritage of Fremantle.
He was president of the Fremantle Society and Fremantle councillor several times. Most recently on council 2005-2009, Les was an exceptional councillor, mature, thoughtful, committed, and focussed on representing constituents.
Les’s term on council expired in 2009, 37 years since he had founded the group that saved Fremantle from the wrecking ball.
All the work Les did for Fremantle was done on top of running an antiques business with his partner Mark Howard.
Les is a real hero in the Fremantle landscape. He and others founded a community group that was pivotal in saving dozens of heritage buildings and pivotal in helping preserve the small scale special nature of the town. John Dowson, Fremantle Society President, FS email newsletter, 17 June 2017.
Les is the founding president and has been the power behind the Society for most of the time since it was established. The Committee wishes to acknowledge the enormous contribution that Les has made not only to the Society but also to the Fremantle community. Ralph Hoare, FS 1994 President, Fremantle, February 1994.
THE ‘Mr Fremantle’ of the port city’s battle to save its heritage has been awarded an Order of Australia medal (AM) in this year’s Queens Birthday honours list.
Leslie Charles Lauder was the founding president of the Fremantle Society, which burst into action in 1972 as the wrecker’s ball was smashing its way through the east end of the city.
Many buildings had already gone. The post-war Hepburn/Stephenson plan was poised to plough a four-lane highway through its historic West End when Mr Lauder and scores of Fremantle residents rose up and said: “Stop!”
If the plans had gone ahead, much of Market, High and Cliff streets would have been demolished.
Society stalwart Ron Davidson was lecturing in psychology at UWA when he first met Mr Lauder as a student.
“I mean, he was a hero and against all odds he really carried the Fremantle Society and the Fremantle Society carried so many things,” Mr Davidson told the Herald.
He recalls being blown away as Mr Lauder transformed from a “quiet, reticent” young man to a master orator within the space of one meeting; the society’s first.
Mr Davidson revealed that after the society’s formation, Mr Lauder told him he had to move to Fremantle, as long as “you live there and don’t just get tied up in houses”. He took the advice and has been living in the Fothergill Street home Mr Lauder recommended for the last 40-odd years.
Mr Lauder, who’s run an antique and fine arts business since 1979, was also president of the society from 1991-1993, its patron and a life member; he’s also been a Fremantle councillor and a member of the National Estate (now the Australian Heritage Council).
Mr Lauder’s out of town at the moment, but said he’d catch up with the Herald when he’s back. Fremantle Herald, 17 June 2017: 9.
Davidson, Ron & Dianne Davidson 2010, Fighting for Fremantle: The Fremantle Society Story, Fremantle Society, from which the top bio comes.
Lauder & Howard website
Photo thanks to the Fremantle Herald.
Garry Gillard | New: 30 October, 2016 | Now: 1 August, 2017