The annual BROOME TO BICTON concert with the famous Aboriginal Kimberley band Pigram Brothers is on again this Saturday February 18 from 4.30 pm.
It is at Quarantine Park just above the Bicton Bath on the Swan River.
Bring a picnic for this fun family events that will be held for the 15th time this year, so it has become a great tradition.
One of the things I very much enjoy is showing people around Fremantle and a few of the hidden treasures they might not otherwise discover, so today I spent two hours with the lovely Italian Elisabetta and Matilda.
Matilda lives in Freo and runs the cute fashion boutique and Birkenstock outlet Creato a Mano at Marine Parade and her husband Roberto runs the equally cute Galleria D’Arte West End just a few metres awy, so go and check them out!
Elisabetta though lives in beautiful Rome, so hence the need for a guided tour.
The Roundhouse and Arthur Head had to be the starting point and soon we walked into Bruce from Replants who is setting up a tree installation on Bathers Beach for the Sculpture@Bathers show which starts on the 24th of this month.
The former long jetty and ocean pool and the mortuary and kerosine store were clearly a must and gave me the opportunity to talk about the horrendous Rottnest Island indigenous Quod prison.
From there we wandered into Notre Dame University territory. We had a few sneak peeks inside some of the gorgeous adaptive reuse heritage buildings, the beautiful library and also the stunning Aboriginal art collection of UNDA. I recommend anyone to take a guided tour of the campus on Friday morning which UNDA organises. Contact them to book it!
The flat where FBI boss J Edgar Hoover lived, which is now part of Kerry Hill architects in Mouat Street, is also largely unknown. Kerry Hill by the way designed the new City of Fremantle Civic Centre at Kings Square.
I showed my guests the PS Art Space and studios upstairs, the former Police Station at Victoria Quay and the historic artworks inside B Shed, even the toilets, and wandered around the Maritime Museum under the watchful eyes of a lone Nankeen heron.
The old submarine, the connection to Gallipoli and the migrant wall were a talking point for us that connected Freo to Europe.
From there past the J Shed art studios and back through the Whalers Tunnel for a nice iced coffee at my friends at Chalkys in the former Trams Building.
What is there not to love about Freo. So happy I live here!
If the City of Fremantle is serious about an Aboriginal cultural centre in Fremantle it has to stop the tokenism and invest money and get expert advise on how to provide an Aboriginal experience for overseas visitors.
It is known from tourism surveys that many visitors complain about the lack of opportunities to meet Aboriginal people and engage with them and get to know more about their culture and history.
I don’t like to say it, but I told you so when I still lived at Captain’s Lane that the Walyalup Centre in a tiny old cottage was never going to work. Even Councillor Rachel Pemberton said at the FPOL committee meeting this week that Councillors knew the cottage at Arthur Head would not be perfect but it was a case of better something than nothing.
In my opinion it was also not going to work because of the wrong choice of personnel to manage the centre. The cultural centre needs someone who knows how to engage with tourists, who knows how to run an art gallery and who knows how to come up with and manage events. The Aboriginal liaison officer of the City of Fremantle is not that kind of person, no matter how likeable he is and how good he is at the job he was employed for. It is unfair to expect him to run the centre and it is not his failure but that of the administration who put him in charge. I am sure his job description when he applied for the position did not mention managing a cultural centre .
A totally different energy and knowledge base is needed to run a cultural centre than the one needed to liaise between a Wadjela administration and the Whadjuk Noongar community.
If the Walyalup Centre was to be moved it should be to the No 1 studio at J Shed that was wrongly and stupidly leased to Sunset Events to create a tavern and outdoor music centre.
If the Noongar community is not against a centre at Arthur Head this is the right location because it has a large outdoor area suitable for music and dance events and story telling, while the large space of J Shed allows for serious Aboriginal art exhibitions and events that might help fund the centre and even make it self-funding over time.
Wishy-Washy Fremantle City governance and inconsistencies are to blame for the mess the Bathers Beach Art Precinct is, because there is a serious lack of quality control and lack of a real concept for the area.
Up at Captain’s Lane the City has created a night-time ghost town that has attracted anti social behaviour (I told them so!), while it has created day-time mediocrity, with the exception of the excellent and professional Glen Cowans underwater photography.
The Walyalup centre could enhance the historic, cultural and art aspect of the area and tell the Noongar stories, and the impact of British settlement and about the connection of the area to the horrendous indigenous Rottnest Island Quod prison where so many Aboriginal men died.
To do that the City needs to go through a process of consultation, expert advise and contracting the right people to run a centre of significance that will attracts many thousands of visitors each year, help activate Arthur Head and will allow the proud Noongar history to be told by our first nation people. To continue as it is in any location will be a failure that the Noongar community does not deserve.
Fremantle’s JAPINGKA GALLERY in High Street is having new exhibitions which will open tomorrow Friday the 10th of February at 6.30 pm.
In Gallery 1, Gunditjmara artist, Kurun Warun creates beautiful and striking paintings of his culture and environment, using colours that reflect natural resources and cultural body markings.
The Gunditjmara people hail from around Portland and Lake Condah regions in Victoria (between Warrnambool and Mount Gambier in the lake country to the west of Melbourne).
In Gallery 2, Tanami Desert Artists – Yuendumu & Nyirripi is an exceptional and varied exhibition of colour and stories by an acclaimed group of Warlpiri artists which is held in association with the Warlukurlangu Art Centre.
Warlpiri artists from Yuendumu in the very remote Tanami Desert were amongst the first community groups to take up the desert art movement that spread from Papunya. In fact the senior men of the community established a Museum for their cultural artefacts in 1971, at a similar time when the Papunya artists began to record the first stories painted on murals and then on boards.
The powerful artistic traditions from this remote Community (some 290 kilometres north east from Alice Springs) which were already established by artists such as both Maggie and Judy Watson Napangardi continue to grow and develop with the artists’ distinctive love of and use of colour a strong identifying element of their remarkable artistic tradition.
Both Exhibitions open 6.30pm Friday 10th February, and run daily until 29th March, 2017. Admission is Free. Japingka Gallery, 47 High Street Fremantle. Open 7 Days.
The FPOL Committee of the City of Fremantle were debating the use of the DADAA premises at Beach Street last evening and the better use and/or better return for Council owned properties.
DADAA are moving into the former Boys School and FTI building at Princess May Park and the building opposite the East Street jetty they are using will become vacant in a few months, so expressions of interest will be sought by the CoF for that building.
Councillor Rachel Pemberton suggested the building could be used for the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre, which has failed to make an impact at Arthur’s Head, but I doubt the new location would make it any more successful because it is well away from tourism routes in Fremantle.
It came as a surprise to me that Councillor Sam Wainwright said the City should be clear about what the Aboriginal centre could be, because that focus should have been there three years ago before putting the centre in a former pilot’s cottage in the heritage precinct, which the city in its wisdom made into an unsuccessful arts precinct, where they then also wanted to put a tavern and outside music venue in.
The Walyalup Centre failed to attract overseas visitors and the local Aboriginal community because it wanted to do a tiny bit of everything and lacked focus, creativity and energy.
The seasonal programs on offer were very similar each time and there was no variety. There were also no events for tourists, especially the thousands of cruiseship passengers who might well have been interested in Aboriginal music and dance and story telling.
The centre attracted only a handful of people each month when hundred metres away from it the Roundhouse gets thousands of visitors each month.
The cottage is wrong, the offerings of the centre uninspired and not focussed on attracting people, and the Aboriginal community never embraced the idea and did not make it into a community hub for Noongar people.
I doubt very much that there would be improvement if the centre moved to Beach Street because it is the lack of concept and lack of passion that made it fail at Arthur Head. Who will change that?
It is always good to hear that Fremantle artists are involved in major public art projects so I went to Elizabeth Quay in Perth on Friday to have a look at the water playground designed by Aboriginal artist Sandra Hill with the ceramic work done by Freo J Shed artist Jenny Dawson.
They were testing the water again when I was there at 10 am so no kids enjoying the water spouts.
It is the last day of the first month of the new year and what a month it has been. It was the wettest January since 2010 and we had the hottest Australia Day since 1979.
We also had the most controversial Australia Day ever in Fremantle and the most inspiring Nyoongar smoking ceremony and One Day in Freo concert.
And we are witnessing one of the most distressing demolitions of pristine nature at the Beeliar Wetlands.
So here some golden oldies of rain to remind us all that we live in a unique place here in Freo!
I am not sure what the weather is going to be like today as the rain did not arrive in Fremantle last night, so take the risk and head out to the Fremantle Arts Centre for the Sunday music session from 2-4 pm.
The Red Dirt Crew from the Norther Territory will perform hip hop, some in traditional language and about Dreamtime stories. This group comes from three remote communities, stretching 700 kilometres.
Also on this afternoon is our Freo songwriter folk singer Donna Simpson, so extend the One Day in Freo day into today and have some more fun!
A SLIDE SHOW OF THE NYOONGAR SMOKING CEREMONY AT THE FREMANTLE ROUNDHOUSE THIS MORNING.