The lease of the DADAA premises at Beach Street opposite the East Street jetty was on the Fremantle Council agenda on Wednesday.
DADAA is moving into the former Boys School at Princess May Park and the officers wanted an Expressions of Interest period to find out which community groups are interested in leasing the building.
Speakers from arts, disability and the RSL expressed an interest in moving into the building, but a motion by Councillor Pemberton that there should be a three-months period to see if the building would be better suited for the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre than the present one at Arthur’s Head did get support from her fellow Councillors.
I do agree with Pemberton’s sentiment that Noongar people who are still suffering from multi-generational trauma deserve and need support to lift them to a same level playing field as other community groups. However that support was already there and the City invested $ 200,000 a year for two years in the Walyalup centre at Mrs Trivett Lane that got very little support from the Noongar community and basically failed to make any impact at all.
It was clear from the beginning that it would be very hard to make it successful because of family feuding in the Noongar community. The manager of the centre told me he had even considered a roster so certain families could use the centre on some days, and some on other days, because they would not be willing to share the space on the same days.
We know that there is constant disagreement who is allowed to speak or not for certain parts of the Perth metro region with some families claiming to be the only descendants of Yagan while other families claim they are also direct descendants of the great Noongar warrior.
This will affect the success of the Walyalup centre no matter if it is at Arthur’ Head or near Cantonment Hill. An EOI period to find an Aboriginal group to manage the existing Walyalup centre has failed so far and it is unlikely that the City will be able to find a Noongar group willing to pay the $ 16,000.00 rent per annum for leasing the Beach Street building.
My concern is that we will have a period where other community groups will be excluded from bidding for the DADAA building at Beach Street while the City is engaging with Noongar elders about the prospect of them running an autonomous cultural community centre.
We know from past experience that this will be a long drawn-out process that no doubt will require money to pay consultants and those attending meetings with no guarantee whatsoever that there will be a positive outcome and good community use for the Beach Street building.
In the meantime the Arthur Head Aboriginal cultural centre will remain a flop and closed most days and won’t be put back for Expressions of Interest, although Arts on the Move, who expressed interest in the DADAA building, appears to be a perfect tenant for the Bathers Beach Art Precinct building.
It is imperative that the City of Fremantle does not allow the Noongar consultation to go further than three months as it would hold back the opportunity for other groups to move in, in case Noongar elders can’t come to an agreement on who and how to run the Walyalup centre in the new location.
While I deeply respect Aboriginal culture the City needs to be realistic about the fact that the DADAA building can’t be allowed to be vacant for too long as that will attract anti social behaviour and homeless people to the building, and the same applies to the Walyalup Centre at Arthur’s Head.
What also should be considered is if a city centre location is really the best for a Noongar community centre as not many Aboriginal people live in the CBD. Maybe a building in the Hilton/White Gum Valley area would be more appropriate if the centre is not meant to be a cultural centre for overseas and Wadjela visitors.
The Noongar community will need to make a few good decisions fast if they are genuinely interested in managing a community centre. Kaya!
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.
While the City of Fremantle has been contemplating how to activate historic Arthur’s Head, long time occupants are already doing it well and appropriately.
Yesterday we had a huge crowd at the Roundhouse for the Nyoongar smoking ceremony and for the last weeks we had sell-out performances inside the Roundhouse in the evenings for the Out of the Cave Fringe Festival show. See the photo above I took last night at 7.45 pm.
Great also that Glen Cowans opened his underwater photography gallery next to the Roundhouse early at 9 am yesterday during the smoking ceremony!
Down the road at J Shed the number 2, 3 and 4 galleries with Greg James, Janet Nixon, Jina Lee, Lesley Barret, Jenny Dawson, Peter Zuvela, Ross Potter and Ellen McCarthy are all involved in activation. Sculptures are on the reserve, exhibitions are organised, there are programs for school children during the holidays and a real engagement with the community.
Interesting that one Freo Councillor said to me yesterday that when the Roundhouse puts new displays up we need to acknowledge the Nyoongar people, and that is already planned. But we are waiting for the City to put power into the Roundhouse so we can start applying for grants and it would also be a very good idea for the City to allocate a substantial amount of money for that to support the volunteer organisation. We are looking after over 130,000 visitors a year, seven days a week and only close on Good Friday and Christmas Day, so we are a significant tourist destination.
At the smoking ceremony four of the elderly Roundhouse guides came in very early to support the event. Pretty bloody good I reckon, and two of them were on duty every night for the theatre performance!
The Sunday Music Sessions in the courtyard of the Fremantle Arts Centre are very popular. It is a great community event for young and old and the perfect spot for catching up with friends.
This afternoon from 2-4 pm The Dashleys will hook you in with their charismatic blend of rich pop harmonies, rhythm, blues and rock.
Opening the show is captivating indie-folk songstress Helen Shanahan.
This is a free event, the pizza oven will be on and the cafe and bar are open, so come along and bring some friends!
Is this ugly fence promotion for Freo Royale really the appropriate way of advertising the great fringe festival?
Why put a well-designed promo at one end of the High Street mall but this ugly black eyesore at the other end?
Hey City of Fremantle, do us all a favour and drop the bullshit to retain some integrity! I noticed you are now calling the Kings Square Project the Cultural Precinct. That is ridiculous spin!
A library and a few cinemas do not make a Cultural Precinct. In Perth the Cultural Centre has the WA Museum, WA Art Gallery, the Library and PICA and is a true centre for culture, but the Kings Square project will predominantly be a commercial and retail precinct with some bars and cafes, so not anywhere near being a cultural precinct.
I am in favour of the Kings Square development but cut the crap please!
Sunday is fun day in Fremantle and tomorrow will be a good day for music, but first things first and start the day at the Growers Green Farmers Market on Lefroy Road from 8am till midday. They have live music as well!
From 2-4 pm the free courtyard music session at the Fremantle Arts Centre with Luke Dux and Atomic Lunchbox is on.
The WAM Award-winner performs stripped back, acoustic versions of his extensive catalogue of solo tunes. Joined by a line up of talented musicians, be captivated by his moody lowdown blues style and intricate guitar work.
And from 5-7 there is Folk&Roots and a great sunset at J Shed on Bathers Beach and food van Flying Falafels will be there for dinner. This is also a free family event!
It should be a very good day of community fun, so I am looking forward to it!
It’s going to be a warm day this Sunday so why not head out to Bathers Beach for a few hours of culture and great art.
The Margaret River Gallery has moved to Fremantle’s Kidogo Arthouse at Bathers Beach to showcase the talents of artists from the south west.
All artists showing are exclusively with the Margaret River Gallery and have no representation in Fremantle or Perth, so this is a rare opportunity for city people to view works from the south west creatives. Mediums include painting, watercolour, ceramics, photography, sculpture and jewellery, musical instruments and light boxes.
Alice Linford Forte- a young Margaret River artist, is represented in her fourth show with the gallery- her previous shows a sellout. Troy Barbital – graphic artist and artist in diverse mediums, Shem Spina – works on paper.
Martine Perret – photography – Martine worked for the united nations before settling recently in Margaret River. Martine is a winner in the Kalgoorlie Art Prize and finalist in many other prestigious art prizes.
Anthony and Kate Debbo – an artist couple with their own ideas, Anthony creates walls sculptures from reclaimed jarrah from the south west, whilst Kate is an abstract painter exploring colour and form.
Melissa Boughey – an artist from the deeper south explores the landscape with her incredible illustrative style in mixed media on canvas or paper. Chris Bellamy – and her love of the forest. Chris paints from her childhood memories of the mystery and intrigue of the forests in south west WA.
Sculptors include Leslie Whitham, Di West and Fleur Marron and Len Zuks.
The show is on until 23 November 2016. Also on is the J Shed Open Day on today!
It’s Freo so there is a lot on again this weekend, so don’t stay at home and sulk about bad cricket.
The Beer Festival on the Esplanade starts today and is on all weekend for those who like to try different beers, but remember you become a pain to the community when you drink too much alcohol, so don’t gulp it down in buckets.
On Saturday from 10am to 4 pm is Maritime Day on Victoria Quay and that is always good family fun. There will be a navy submarine to visit and a tug boat, and also the Leeuwin sailing ship, rides on the harbour, entertainment, food stalls, etc.
On Sunday the J Shed artists at Bathers Beach have Open Day so make sure to check it out. The delightful Jina Lee still has her stunning stone sculptures on display there and those alone are worth a trip, but check out the new Little Space, Jenny Dawson ceramics and Peter Zuvela photography and Greg James’ great bronze sculptures and award winning artist Janet Nixon’s lovely dog art.
And Sunday arvo is of course the Fremantle Arts Centre courtyard free music session and it will be The Company playing great bluegrass from 2-4 pm. Pizza bar, bar and cafe are all open.
Last but not least, the mighty ZYDECATS are playing for the last time this year at the Fremantle Workers Club at Fremantle Oval from 6-8 pm. $ 10,00 for guests and only $ 5,00 for members.
The weather is going to be fine so get out and about and connect with our great Fremantle community!
I rarely post photos of exhibition openings but will make an exception for the Stone Dreaming show by Jina Lee at the Greg James Sculpture Gallery in J Shed at Bathers Beach because this is a very special location and Jina is a very special person and outstanding artist.
Last night showed what a perfect space this is for art exhibitions and other art related events and that a small cafe on the side could well attract a lot of people.
Let’s hope the City of Fremantle and Sunset Events see the light and realise this is not an appropriate location for a tavern and outdoor music venue, as the WAPC has already ruled.
An art related community space is perfect and Greg James announced he has just secured an exhibition in November with the women who won this year’s Australian Photography Portrait Prize.