Fremantle Space

fSpace Magazine – In Case of World Health Problems, Please Call

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The following is from FREMANTLE Space, the fSpace magazine which celebrates the people who have embraced the ethos of small coworking space in the heart of Fremantle.

By Alexei Tsallis

It’s 9:05 am. You’ve just spent an hour in bumper-to-bumper traffic on your way to work in the CBD. You’re late for a meeting. You speed walk through the foyer past strangers who don’t make eye contact. You scan emails on your phone as you wait for an elevator. You push forward into an empty carriage before the ding announcing its arrival fades. You stare ahead, your thoughts alternating between your meeting and why the damn lift won’t go faster. Finally, the doors open to your floor, but your freedom from containment is short-lived as you sit in your small office. Rapidly pulling some papers together, you glance at a quote you printed on your first day: “You have to be the change you want to see in the world.” You cringe, knowing that yesterday was the same, and that tomorrow will be no different.

THAT is the type of workspace that the coolest company you’ve likely never heard of wanted to avoid. Fremantle-based Ausvet, a team of consultant epidemiologists, is the company which get calls from governments all over the world to explain the science of diseases and to discover solutions. I sat down with founder Dr Ben Madin to find out what Ausvet has been up to since they left fSpace, and also what they actually do.

“Global health is not about separate beings. It is the interrelation of all animals, humans, fish and plants. When one fails, so do the others.”

(Ausvet Team)

Many things can cause a disease: bacteria, a virus, a toxin and a nutritional deficit are just some examples. When Ausvet is called on to consult on a situation, the company takes everything into account. Says Ben, “Epidemiology strictly means the study of disease across (epi) people (demos), but in our world it really means the relationship between the affected person, animal or plant, the environment they are in and the agent that is causing the disease.” There is often a crossover as agriculture problems affect humans, which is why Ausvet is increasingly doing more plant work. “Most diseases in the world affect more than just one species.” Ben begins to laugh while adding, “And humans, whether we like to believe it or not, are just one of those species.”

When an industry has a problem or a disease within their production, Ben and his team look at all the potential factors. “Other than doing laboratory work or pathology work, we are asked to come out and look at the bigger picture.” A lot of the work he does involves comparing and contrasting healthy properties with unhealthy ones. “Sometimes it’s a difference within a person or animal and sometimes it’s a difference within the environment in which they live.”

Ausvet also deals with human diseases. One such example is Goitre, a thyroid disease that is mainly caused by an iodine deficiency. The disease had not been an issue in Australia since salt was iodised, but Ausvet was brought in to investigate a resurgence. They discovered several reasons for its return, including the fact that much of the iodised salt in our diet has been replaced with rock salt and sea salt over the last thirty years. This loss of iodine consumption contributed to an emergence of the disease not seen since 1930.

With six epidemiologists working from their homes around Australia, it wasn’t until 2014 that the business decided to add a fulltime employee. That’s when Ausvet joined fSpace to have, as Ben puts it, “A workspace that wasn’t just my kitchen table.” Growth took off and it was little more than a year later that Ben decided he needed to employ more people in WA and would need a larger space of their own. “We now have 10 people in Western Australia and 30 people globally, with key offices here and in Canberra, and a growing presence in France.” His team mostly travels to their clients to conduct investigations and collect data, but they occasionally stay longer (up to 7 months!) to implement solutions.

(Ausvet project in Namibia)

Although growth continues to be a goal, Ben doesn’t want Ausvet to become a massive corporation. “We’d like to have a staff of maybe 60 to 70 across three or four offices, so we’re about halfway there.” Ben wants enough in-house people with different backgrounds to develop a unique solution to each problem, while still contracting relevant specialists.

Through diagnostic work and subsequent trials, Ausvet is often involved in making significant changes to processes and policies in both business and industry. Focusing on research and solutions that can make a difference, Ausvet’s final reports include practical policy options so that changes can actually be implemented.

They strive not only to solve problems but to inspire the owners of the problems to manage them, regardless of whether the problems are found on a farm, in an industry, even a country. This affirms the value that Ausvet places on sustainability and why they always keep the big picture at the forefront. They are particularly pleased that after working in Indonesia to develop a national animal and public health system, it is now fully managed by Indonesia, receiving thousands of individual messages a day from across the archipelago.

“Change is useless if we cannot empower people to manage it themselves.”

Ben’s team can collect an incredibly high volume of data during their research. Dealing with upward of three million samples a day, they translate the data into workable information so that the right decisions can be made. “We used to think our clients wanted more data, but actually they want us to translate ‘data’ into ‘information’ so they can make evidence based decisions.”

Ausvet reinforces their community ideology by creating solutions that actually work in practice, not just in theory. Making a difference to the health of a community is not just an aspiration; it is a prerequisite of their work.

“We don’t want to be just another cog in the wheel.”

Our planet is one huge eco-system. The impact of humans on this ecosystem is undeniable, and we expect to see new diseases emerging continuously. Ben, although optimistic, realises that Ausvet can’t change everything. “We are not trying to solve all the world’s problems, but we feel very strongly that we can have an impact in some way.” Ben’s team is actively trying to change perceptions of those in power that there will be a single silver bullet solution, and those who treat the symptom instead of dealing with the often-complex causes of the problem.

(Ausvet project in Cambodia)

Ben believes a workspace can have major impacts on lifestyle and happiness, as well as on the focus and determination of a staff. Ben also believes that just walking around your area can remind you of what is important in life, adding “If you just drive your car into a basement of the office you work in, you’re not engaging with your community very much.” This engagement with community and sense of purpose are cornerstones of his business philosophy.

Ben’s time at fSpace influenced him to engage with others, which in turn became an important aspect of his business. When Ausvet moved into its own space, Ben focused on creating an environment that would inspire his team more than a paycheque. By treating them as members of a community rather than reinforcing a hierarchy, Ausvet is more focused on solving problems than running a traditional business.

According to Ben, basing their operations in Fremantle is “probably a mix of pure practicality and slight idealism.” Ausvet wanted to avoid the congestion of the Perth CBD while remaining connected to public transport to limit their use of personal vehicles. Heavily involved within the agriculture and aquaculture industries, they are close to Murdoch University and the hospitals with which they work. Fremantle’s port city artistic heritage also provides a beautiful scenic place to walk around with ample options for lunch and coffee; all of which contribute to the revitalisation of spirit and focus.

Ben’s vision for the future includes a public understanding that health problems are multifactorial and there is rarely just one cause. The reality of the agriculture industry is that many of the health problems Ausvet solves are economically caused. For instance, giving more space to animals such as chickens and pigs would help to reduce some problems, however the costs of such changes are often more than consumers are prepared to pay. Ben believes in a healthy equilibrium: “Consumers need to realise that environmental balance has a cost. If they want it, they have to be willing to pay more.”

“Will it work out in the future?”

My final question hung in the air between us and Ben thought about it for a moment. “Humans are where we are today because we managed to solve all the problems that have been put in front of us so far. I have enormous faith that humans can solve these problems. My only real concern is that people seem to be increasingly focused on ‘What is in it for me?’ and not in ‘What is in it for the broader society?’

With a vision of ‘one world, one health’, Ben and Ausvet will continue to do what they can to solve health problems and encourage decisions that lead to a healthier and more sustainable planet.

fSpace Magazine – Smart Living

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The following is from FREMANTLE Space, the fSpace magazine which celebrates the people who have embraced the ethos of small coworking space in the heart of Fremantle.

Smart Living

Words: Sabine Albers, Artwork: TRAM

Living Smart is a behavioural change program that helps people take action in their own homes to improve their quality of life and reduce their environmental impact.


Sabine: How would you introduce yourself?

Dr Stephanie Jennings: I’m Steph and I’m someone who’s decided to live life at a slower pace, a more sustainable pace. A pace that gives me more time to do the things I love, like spending time with my young children, commuting in environmental friendly ways, and enjoying the vibrant community I live in – Fremantle.

I’m a scientist with a focus in energy efficiency and building design and am privileged to be part of Living Smart, a Fremantle not-for-profit that has won national awards and has increased its reach beyond WA.

Living Smart is a behaviour change program that helps people take action to improve their quality of life and reduce their environmental impact.

It’s about connecting people too. It’s about building community, which is hard in this day and age. fSpace is part of that too so that’s a nice cross over.

People who take our courses also meet others who are looking to take action, which creates new friendships.

What makes Living Smart so unique?

There are so many programs out there that people just dip in and dip out, and it barely causes a ripple in their lives. What I love about ours is it really works.

Part of it is we use behavioural psychology to effectively build capacity within individuals to make change. It’s not just about technology – it’s exploring how you live, how you want to live, and what makes you happy.

Within the course there are some traditional education elements, but a lot of time is spent discussing solutions. It’s very interactive, but there’s also time for reflection.

It’s really about moving off the problem and looking at what can we do. There’s no shaming. It’s all about positive actions we can take and every action, large or small, is celebrated.

Living Smart focuses on ten topics that can make a change. What are some key points people can work on?

It gets people to start on whatever point is relevant them. It might be waste, it might be what’s happening in their garden, it might be their own health or improving their home.

You get exposed to the full content of the course and you might be surprised by what you don’t know. With that content, the goal setting and reflection time, you can find a topic that really fires you up, that you can put your energy into.

We share ideas like practical ways to remember to take a bag to the supermarket so you don’t use plastic bags. We also talk about the global waste issue and how together we are making a difference. You don’t feel alone with it.

So the focus is on helping people find a place to start and reminding them that small changes do make a difference.

That’s exactly what it’s about. It’s working out where you want to start or progress to, then taking some fresh actions and seeing that you are not alone. The conversations are very positive.

Due to its broad nature, people typically start with one topic and then it flows onto another. Someone might start by just turning off the tap while they’re brushing their teeth. And then they might start to think about their choice of toothbrush, whether it’s compostable or disposable. And then they might start to look at cleaning products in the bathroom. There’s a lot of flow on things called spillover in terms of behaviours.

Change can be difficult. What can help start to make a change within a community?

Our lives are so busy with so many distractions that a key step is just slowing down and making time to ask the important questions that are often ignored. Questions like are you actually heading where you want to go? What are the things you cherish? Are you giving those things enough time? Are you living the way you want or just dealing with the guilt of not living the way you want?

That’s an example of what people go through on this journey. They may realise that they need to downshift, to simplify their lives, to create some space.

So is looking after the planet also looking after your own health?

It is. Part of the impact on the planet comes from people trying to do a lot and the resource consumption goes with that – doing a lot, driving a lot, consuming a lot. Slower lives have smaller footprints.

I just do what I can to inspire people to tread gently on our planet.

fSpace Magazine – A Crazy Dutchy

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The following is from FREMANTLE Space, the fSpace magazine which celebrates the people who have embraced the ethos of small coworking space in the heart of Fremantle.

A Crazy Dutchy

Words: Sabine Albers, Photography: Anna Duwe 

At its best, community is an experience of deep connection and awareness. It allows us to be ourselves and focus on things that are valuable. When we are in the right space, feeling safe, respected and supported, we are more confident. We flourish.


Our world is beautiful, but it carries a lot of weight and can feel disconnected at the best of times. I love creating beauty, to add it to our world, to help reconnect it. I take great joy from connecting people and seeing them thrive together. The energy from that is beautiful and powerful.

It’s hard to believe that our Fremantle space is five years old. I started fSpace with pure joy and crazy enthusiasm. I wanted to meet people and connect on a creative level – to share, collaborate and inspire. So many things have changed over the years and there are many things to celebrate, but what I love each time I walk into fSpace is the experience of being part of a community – of bringing people together around ideas that we believe will bring joy and growth on a personal and global level.

A community also creates opportunity – not just to collaborate or land a new client or project. A community can connect you to others and raise your level of inspiration. Conversations can help you evolve and expand your vision, and great things can happen from there.

A community can be a space where you really meet and connect with others. A space where you share thoughts and ideas, from helping improve the lives of others, fighting legal battles for the disadvantaged, or creating stunning designs. A space where you’re part of a more empathetic society.

Communities like this aren’t specific to a religion, culture or identity. They are inclusive around passion, ideas and interest. fSpace doesn’t fit in a box.

We are young and old and in-between. We are men and women. We are locals and we are from all over the world.

For me, success is to go into the world and create something that is part of the lifestyle you want to live. Our common goal is we want to make a positive change in the world and we seek inspiration to do so.

I’m delighted, excited and honoured to celebrate five years of this. Sincere thanks to everyone who’s been a part of our small space in Fremantle, and for sharing their awesome, extraordinary selves.


Business Development Program – Round 2

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Fspace Dave Coggin Visit

Images by Miles Noel

A big thanks to Dave Coggin, Deputy Mayor of Fremantle, for his visit to fSpace last week.

The Deputy Mayor was on hand to mark the launch of the second round of the Business Development Program, a joint initiative between fSpace and The City of Fremantle to support small businesses.

As with the initial launch, this program helps subsidize workspace for qualified applicants who work within the creative industries.

The Deputy Mayor met with Sabine to discuss the program, including a review of the results from the initial program. He then chatted with a variety of people working from fSpace, including several participants from the initial program.

Applications for the program are now available. Visit for more information.

Thanks again to the Deputy Mayor and The City of Fremantle for their support with this program.

Fspace Dave Coggin Visit

Fspace Dave Coggin Visit

Fspace Dave Coggin visit

Exciting News

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Bulls Eye

Hello there,

Exciting news! fSpace is a finalist for a Business of the Year Award with the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce for ‘Excellence in Professional Services’. Too bad it isn’t ‘Excellence in Best Cool Group of Fun Entrepreneurs’ because we would win every year! 😉

The Fremantle Business awards is an initiative of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce. Over 400 business owners and employees are expected to be on hand at the awards gala evening on June 10. This event is not just to announce the winners, but to celebrate exceptional business achievements within Fremantle over the past year.

Check out all awesome Fremantle finalists right here:

Multi Media Exposure

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MEDIA - Fremantle Herald 15FEB16

We had some great responds and media exposure about our new partnership with the City of Fremantle. In the last 6 months some great new businesses have joined fSpace. Great collaboration is happening and the energy and buzz is awesome.

The news has gone across several media channels and has helped getting fSpace out there. Keep spreading the word and come see us to experience some of the buzz yourself.

See you soon!
MEDIA - COF website Feb 2016

MEDIA - StartUpNews

MEDIA - Financial Review

How Atmosphere Affects Productivity

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People often try to become more productive workers by attempting difficult personal changes without first considering adjusting their own surroundings.

If you can make it in to visit us here at fSpace, we’ll show you how to create your very own effective workspace to encourage productivity and creativity.

Seemingly insignificant things like lighting, noise, scents and even a room’s arrangement can dramatically affect your work output in either a productive or counter-productive direction. Maintaining an optimal work space designed to enhance these factors  can be commonly overlooked leading to poor performance, discomfort, procrastination and stress.

Here are some tips to turn your space into an optimal work environment.


Natural lighting is an effective way of raising productivity through affecting our body’s circadian rhythm and the release of cortisol and other hormones in the endocrine system to regulate how alert or tired we feel. Studies suggest, people exposed to artificial light rather than natural were much less alert and focused than their counterparts while at work or not.


Probably the most infamous distraction or annoyance people find while working relates to unwanted noise pollution infiltrating your space. At fSpace we’ve found a good constant background noise at a relatively low volume to be the optimal option, it fills the space covering any other distracting noises or other workers’ chatter but doesn’t take away too much of your concentration. Ultimately your noise limits will also depends on the type of work your attempting. Don’t need to concentrate? Try some music with lyrics in it. Need to focus? Perhaps a pleasant upbeat instrumental track will work best for you. Positive sounding music can also help reduce to stress and keep up a productive vibe in the work space.


According to a studies of temperatures in work environments, people are happier in warmer environments. This is because of a close association with physical warmth to psychological comfort making people literally feel ‘warmer’ toward their work,  co-workers, and work environment. One study found workers were more likely to make mistakes when temperatures were too chilly. Workers made 44 per cent more mistakes than if the room was at a comfortable temperature. Western Australia has some of the most amazing climates in the world year round, although summers can often get too hot and sticky if you’re trying to focus. Luckily, here at fSpace we maintain a comfortable working temperature with help from our local daily sea-breaze, The Freo Doctor and our newly installed ceiling fans and air-conditioning.


We crave wide open spaces free of too many distractions and clutter to get our work done effectively. Interestingly a study conducted on office spaces found between an untidy workspace and a neat and ordered one, an untidy space is more likely to inspire creative thinking, although proved it wouldn’t help you if you need to use some discipline to be more efficient with your work. Participants in the study from the tidier room were also more likely to choose the healthy eating option when offered either a chocolate or an apple. So next time you’re too lazy to clean up your work station just remember, it may have a direct positive influence over the way you look after your body’s health also.


Scents and smells aren’t nearly as important as other factors in this list unless something really wreaks. That said, there is nothing worse than trying to concentrate on an empty stomach while you can smell something delicious nearby. People opting to work in co-working spaces such as fSpace over working from a café gain the atmospherically benefits of the crowded space without the rumbling stomach. But don’t panic there are still plenty of cafès and other places to grab a bite or coffee right downstairs from our offices.

Some extra tips

Maintaining a strong free flowing air current is an effective way to open up a space and to prevent your space from accumulating any stuffy, stagnating energy and air. Good air quality and having some plants around the office are just some things that go a long way in creating a productive, pleasant space for office workers. According to one major study, productivity of workers increased up to 50 per cent simply by placing houseplants on their desks. Another study said incorporating plants into a workspace can effectively increase both productivity and creativity amongst workers. Plants not only provide an additional oxygen boost to keep everyone more alert but also impact us on a visual level. Bringing living plants into a work space promotes tranquillity and calmness while grounding those nearby and reconnecting them with nature to reduce stress and be more present in their work.

fSpace would love to hear what ways our readers  increase productivity in their workspace.

Do you agree with the methods above or do you have your own approach to creating an efficient work atmosphere?