The W.A. Nyoongar First Nation people held a major cleansing smoking ceremony at the Fremantle Roundhouse and Bathers Beach this Saturday morning.
The very moving event attracted around 1,300 people to Arthur’s Head and made me quite emotional.
This was an event about Nyoongars and Wadjelas moving forward together and left me with real hope for the future.
This was not anti Australia Day but pro Australia. It was not about victims and perpetrators but about real reconciliation with mutual respect and about considering an alternative day to celebrate Australia.
One Day in Freo continues at the Esplanade today from 2 pm and from 4 pm with a concert with Mama Kin, John Butler and Dan Sultan.
Join in and spread the love!
Non commercial organisations are free to use these photos. Just drop and drag. Credit: Roel Loopers.
P.S. Unfortunately I won’t be able to take photos of the Esplanade event as I will be on guide duty at the Roundhouse for the Fringe Festival show there this evening.
The claim in the Fremantle Herald today by Fishing Boat Harbour traders that Australia Day was a big hit for Fremantle businesses is a very one-sided view of the reality. It’s more like a Donald Trump alternative facts statement.
The fish&chips traders in the FBH might have done very well when thousands of people came to Fremantle in the early evening to watch the fireworks, but during the day there was hardly anyone in the city centre because it was simply too hot, so many businesses did very little trade at all. We had only 114 visitors at the Roundhouse compared to over 1,400 two weeks ago.
No one is to blame for that and it is a shame the Freo Fiesta efforts were hampered by the hottest Australia Day in 79 years, but let’s not try to make a very average day look like it was an outstanding success because the Fishing Boat Harbour people organised it.
Also funny to read that the FBH traders have approached State Government to get $ 500,000 to install a shark net at Fremantle’s most underused beach where one rarely sees more than a handful of people in the ocean. No wonder the City of Fremantle is not keen about the idea, that I believe would be a waste of money.
But having said all that, I believe the City of Fremantle needs to become serious about the activation of Arthur’s Head and what better way to do that than activating the gorgeous inner city beach. More significant signs to promote the beach would also help.
Bathers Beach needs public toilets, showers at the northern end near J Shed and the extension of the boardwalk all the way to J Shed. Creating better connectivity between the Victoria Quay and the Fishing Boat Harbour and linking the Maritime Museum, Roundhouse and Shipwreck Museum would be very helpful.
The Whalers Tunnel also needs to remain open longer in the evenings so there is direct access from High Street for people to watch the sunset and the lit up cliff face there.
There are a lot better ways of spending half a million dollars on Bathers Beach than a shark net.
The FREO FIESTA is on today and all weekend, so check it out! More info on http://www.fremantlebid.com
The FREO FIESTA starts today with entertainment all over Fremantle, so check out the program on http://www.fremantlebid.com.
At Bathers Beach there is a beautiful old carousel the children will enjoy and the lovely Kelp Bar at Kidogo Arthouse will be open every day. Dal Pizza has put his food van next to the deck so you don’t have to move far to get a very good pizza with your cold drink while watching the Indian Ocean. Tom Fisher and his band will provide the music and at 8 pm there will be fireworks at the Fishing Boat Harbour.
The Italian navy frigate at C Shed at Victoria Quay is also open between 10 and 12 and 2 to 4 today so the boys might like to have a look.
Remember while having fun today that 30 per cent of cases at our seven major hospitals on Australia Day are alcohol related, so don’t overdo it as drink driving, anti social behaviour and domestic violence are very often the outcome of drinking too much alcohol.
Have a great, very long and very hot Freo weekend!
My personal Australia Day is March 13, as it was a balmy day 35 years ago in 1982 when my German partner Brigitte and I arrived in Sydney for the biggest adventure of our life. A big contrast from the snow storm we had at our departure a day earlier at Nuremberg airport.
Soon we rented a sixth floor apartment with two large balconies at Bondi Junction and overlooked the stunning harbour, Opera House and Harbour Bridge, as well as the beaches.
The culture shock impact was reduced when we attended two months of language and culture classes at the Blackfriar school together with people from all over the world. We became friends with people from Iran, Austria, Indonesia, etc.
What stood out most for me in our new country was the multiculturalism, and of course the great blue sky and gorgeous weather.
My job as a infill photographer at the Sydney Morning Herald during the Brisbane Commonwealth Games was cancelled because there was a recession, so I ended up working as a kitchenhand and cook at a posh yacht club and waiter at a golf club.
Even work was all about multiculturalism. In the Rose Bay yacht club the manager was Dutch, the catering manager Czechoslovakian, the chef from Wales, the cooks French, while at the Chatswood golf club I worked for an Austrian chef and German manager.
After a year though I started as a freelance photographer working for designers, the Housing Commission of NSW and Rugby League Week magazine. Multiculturalism supported me again with an Iranian friend getting me the work at the Housing Commission while a designer who had migrated from Prague also gave me some assignments.
I was introduced to fish&chips, pies, cricket and cask wine and while test matches were boring I quite liked one day cricket. Now after 35 years in Australia you can’t get me away from the TV during a test match and Boxing Day is sacred for that. And of course I love Aussie Rules!
In September 1985 we decided to move to Perth and start all over again. We crossed the country in our old Honda Civic and bought our very first property, a small brand new villa in Como, on our first weekend in the west.
We registered our photography business and started showing my portfolio, with mainly B&W press photos, as I had been working for newspapers, magazines and press agencies in Germany. Soon we got our first assignments; a shoot at Blina near Derby for an oil company, the State Energy Commission liked my work and so did designers, advertising agencies, architects, the mining and tourism industries, Fremantle Ports, and government departments.
I became the official photographer for the Legislative Council and the the Governor of WA Gordon Reid for some years and through that the official photographer during the visit of HRH Princess Ann and travelled with her to the Kimberley and Pilbarra. A photo album with my photos of that visit was presented to HRH by then Premier Brian Burke on her last day here.
Life was so good that we soon bought a beautiful Californian bungalow in Swanbourne that we later extended. We bought the house from well-known artist Ashley Jones and his wife Nina and decided to keep their tradition of an open house on Friday evenings, and we ended up getting to know a lot of people fast that way.
In the late 80s my partner wanted to open an art gallery and Artplace in the Old Theatre Lane in Claremont became our new adventure and a great success for Brigitte, but after 20 years of living together we decided in the early 90s to split up and I moved to Fremantle.
Although I had a great life while living in the Netherlands for 20 years and in Germany for 13, Fremantle is the love of my life, so I soon became involved with community groups, the Walyalup Reconciliation Group, Fremantle Society, Roundhouse volunteer guides, etc. and was awarded Fremantle Citizen of the Year 2012 by the WA Premier.
I love Fremantle because it is full of interesting, quirky, caring and creative people from all over the world, and because of the stunning historic West End. There is not a day that I don’t drive onto the South Mole to look at the harbour and Indian Ocean and my favourite West End cafes know that I drink double espressos.
My respect for Aboriginal culture and people started early when I met Michelle, an Injibandi woman, at the Japingka Gallery. We became good friends and I one of the babysitters for her sons Simon and Reuben. I have always felt at home with our indigenous people and on my spiritual 58,000 km, eight-month trip criss crossing Australia in the mid 1990s I often connected with them as they showed me their land and told me their stories without ever treating me as someone responsible for their plight.
Multiculturalism is something I embrace and like, even in my love life, with lovers from Germany, Canada, Australia, Serbia and Sri Lanka. The one thing I absolutely can’t tolerate is racism because I believe that most people from all cultures and religions are good people.
Through my involvement with markets I became friends with many of the Muslim stall holders. All decent, hard-working family people who don’t pose a threat to anyone.
Adapting to my new country was often challenging but it helps that I am interested in just about everything, and having an open mind and a love for people. I handed back my Dutch passport in 1985 when I became Australian and never have regretted it.
Australia is not the best country on earth, no country is, but it is a bloody good one and I am so happy and grateful I made the brave decision to migrate here. It’s one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life!
I’ll be enjoying Australia Day at the Roundhouse talking to people from all over the world telling them about the fascinating history of Fremantle.
Fremantle BID and local traders have collaborated to organise four days of FREO FIESTA fun over the four day long Australia Day weekend.
If you can’t read the poster above go to the http://www.fremantlebid.com website and check it out on line.
The media reports that Reclaim Australia want to hold a rally in Fremantle on Australia Day, and as someone who migrated from Europe to Australia 35 years ago I have been wondering what Reclaim Australia actually want to reclaim and whom from.
Australia has become the great nation it is because of everyone who came here, including our first nation people, who also wandered into this part of the world some 50,000 years ago.
Why is there a fear of foreigners when foreigners have helped to make Australia great? Why is there a fear of non Christians when people of other religions have lived peacefully here for hundreds of years?
Muslims from Asia traded with Aborigines long before British settlement of this continent and Muslim Afghan cameleers came to Melbourne in 1890 and were reported to be in Western Australia even earlier.
Wander through Northbridge and witness the hive of activity and the enormous success of Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Indonesian and Japanese immigrants.
Visit Fremantle and see how this city prospered because of the Italians, Greeks and Croats. Our fishing industry would not exist without them.
Look at these statistics: Nearly 50 per cent of Australians were either born overseas or have a parent who was born overseas. Two hundred languages are spoken in Australia, including 48 indigenous one, so who are the real Australians according to those who want to reclaim Australia?
Less than 3 per cent of the Australian population is Muslim and of those people 99.9 per cent are peaceful, law-abiding citizens who positively contribute to our nation. I am lucky to have made many friends with Muslim market stall holders in Fremantle, all hard-working decent family people who don’t pose a threat to anyone.
Are ‘real Australians’ only white Christian Anglo-Saxons and where does that leave our Aboriginal people and all immigrants who have been here for many generations? Are children who are born here not considered to be ‘real Australians’ when they are not white and not Christian?
What about Australia the country of freedom, tolerance and fair go for all, why does that no longer apply to those from different cultures or religions. Surely the colour of one’s skin does not affect one’s ability to be a contributing member to our society, and neither does it matter what clothes people wear.
The City of Fremantle has not cancelled Australia Day, only the fireworks. There is a citizenship ceremony on the 26th where we welcome many new Australians from all over the world and from all different cultures and religions.
It is not political correctness gone mad by some left wing loonies that many of us want to debate if a different date for Australia Day would be more appropriate for all states and territories and more respectful to our indigenous history. January 26 has only historic significance for NSW where the First Fleet arrived at Sydney Cove on that day, but it means very little to other parts of the country.
Australia only became a nation on the day of federation which is January 1, so why not have a mature debate about the issue. It does not deny anyone to celebrate Australia and it is not disrespectful to any part of our history.
Moving forward and looking to the future does not mean we should belittle the wrongs of the past, but acknowledge that we can improve and become and even better society.
Freedom is all about tolerance, acceptance and the willingness to share with everyone on earth, so instead of judging and condemning difference we should embrace the diversity and multiculturalism and be grateful for the contribution immigrants have made to Australia.
Giving EVERYONE a Fair Go is what Australia Day should be all about!
Two conflicting reports in the media today with the West Australian reporting the City of Fremantle missed the deadline to announce a date for the January citizenship ceremony, while the Fremantle Herald reports it will be held on January 26 at the Town hall, after the Federal Assistant Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke refused Fremantle to hold it on any other day in January, not even on Sunday the 29th during the Fremantle Arts Centre courtyard music session.
Enough has been said about Australia Day but I’d like to say to the Assistant Minister that great politicians find solutions and compromises, but his stand shows that he is just a power-hungry little man with a my way or the highway attitude that is unbecoming to a minister of the crown. No wonder the Liberal government is failing to make a significant impact with mediocre politicians like Alex Hawke.
The federal Assistant Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke has forbidden Fremantle Council to conduct a citizenship ceremony on January 28 during the One Day in Fremantle family concert with John Butler, Mama Kin and others, because he considers the concert to be a political event.
I believe Fremantle should throw it back in the face of the ass minister and his righteous Liberal government and now hold the citizenship ceremony on Sunday the 29th before or after the traditional courtyard music session at the Fremantle Arts Centre, and let’s throw a prawn or 100 on the barbie and show how Freo celebrates our history and multiculturalism!
It is very disappointing that Federal and State Liberal party politicians are politicising the City of Fremantle’s decision to have an Australia day event on January 28 and not on the 26th.
The claim that new citizens would be denied being sworn in on the 26th is pretty shallow, since they have only had that opportunity since 1994, the day Australia Day was introduced.
I was sworn in as an Australian citizen on December 19, 1985 and don’t feel I missed out on anything because the extreme significance of changing one’s citizenship is a whole lot bigger than the date it happens on.
Changing nationality is a huge step for anyone, and for me and my German partner it also meant we had to hand back our European passports as the Netherlands and Germany did not permit dual citizenship at that time. That’s a huge step and decision to make!
I have been going to the Fremantle citizenship ceremony for years and will attend no matter what day it is on because I know it is quite an emotional day for many who take the big step, but the importance of becoming a new citizen of this country is lost on most Australians as hardly any attend the ceremonies and mainly friends, family, colleagues and a few politicians turn up for it.
Personally I would like to see more substance at citizenship ceremonies with a prominent Fremantle migrant talking about what it means to become Australian and an Aboriginal elder explaining the significance of Walyalup and the Noongar people.
I find it disappointing that politicians who are keen on scoring cheap points before the March W.A. election believe a 22 year-old tradition is more significant than showing respect for a 50,000 year-old culture. That does not seem the right priority to me.
For Premier Colin Barnett and others to say Fremantle might ban Christmas because it would upset Muslims is absurd, ridiculous and stupid, and it shows the Premier is desperately trying to attract votes from the right wing and One Nation voters.
Christmas has been a religious celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ for hundreds of years all over the world, while Australia Day has only been celebrated for 22 years and is based on the invasion by the British of what is now New South Wales.
Those who want fireworks can still see them at the Fishing Boat Harbour on the 26th or go to Perth for the huge event there, and on January 28 we can all enjoy a great concert on the Fremantle Esplanade to celebrate our community and multiculturalism. The City of Fremantle offers us a choice!