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!
Fremantle will have a fantastic celebration of Australia Day next years and we can enjoy it over the long weekend.
The Esplanade Reserve will host performances by John Butler, Dan Sultan and Mama Kin during ONE DAY IN FREMANTLE, and families will have the opportunity to enjoy and take part in a range of fun arts and cultural activities.
The celebrations will be hosted by multi-award-winning singer-songwriter Gina Williams and include a Welcome to Country by Marie Taylor and Dr. Richard Walley OAM. A citizenship ceremony will welcome new Australians from around the world.
To help shape future celebrations in Fremantle, a series of conversations hosted by locals and guests will encourage people to share their ideas and what they love about celebrating Australia.
“This family-friendly event will contribute to the nationwide conversation on celebrating our country and its people. Fremantle is offering Australians another day to celebrate – together,” said Dr Pettitt.
Everyone is encouraged to bring a picnic and enjoy the stellar line-up whilst embracing the diversity of modern-day Australia.Celebrate Australia in the heart of Fremantle – one day when everyone is welcome.
One Day in Fremantle is a free, family-friendly event that will be held at the Esplanade Reserve in Fremantle on Saturday 28 of January, 2.00–8.00 pm. For more information, visit fremantle.wa.gov.au/onedayinfremantle
Of course the Cracker Night fireworks will also be on the 26th organised by the Fishing Boat Harbour traders.
I am looking forward to it!
The traditional and very lovely Blessing of the Fleet was held in Fremantle again today, so don’t get a fright when the fireworks go off at 4pm and 8pm today.
The Blessing was held for the first time in Freo in 1948, the year I was born, so it is pretty old. Unlike me though it is still vibrant with many young people joining in the parade to the Fishing Boat Harbour, where they board the fishing boats for a ride through the harbour.
I love the tradition of the blessing as it has become so much more than a religious event and is now a true showcase of Freo’s fantastic multiculturalism.
The Fremantle Festival starts this weekend so make sure to get a printed program or check it out on-line and Facebook because there is a lot on that you don’t want to miss!
It is less than a week to go until Little Italy by the Sea is on at Bathers Beach, Fremantle.
The Italian community is bringing you a weekend of food, drinks, entertainment, and fun on 29 and 30 October, so come and enjoy traditional and modern Italian cuisine from an array of food vendors at one of the piazzas!
Check out the website for more information http://www.littleitalybythesea.com.au
Taste yummy food from: Black Pearl Oyster Shucking, Dal Pizzaiolo / Domenico Catering, La Pizzeria Mobile, Mondo Butchers – Mondo Di Carne (World of Meat), Parlapa, Piadina Bar, The Mattarello, The Pasta Truck, Eataly Fine Foods, Piadina nonna Pina, That Little Gelato Cart, Cold Matter Cold Brew Coffee, Roasting Depot, Rubra Coffee, Dolce & Salato, Miss Tartufo, Woolworths Supermarkets WA, Juice Day Events, Fremantle Sardine Company, Gelato Amico, Fremantle’s Family Cookbook, Cas in the Kitchen, Tarzan’s Chilli Oils…and Little Italy by the Sea’s Mambo Italiano Bar and Bambino Panini Bar, with the Campari Aperitivo Bar on Sunday 30 October.
On Sunday from 2 pm is also the Blessing of the Fleet and 8 pm fireworks, so come enjoy this lovely tradition. It starts at the Basilica at Adelaide Street and winds through the West End to the Fishing Boat Harbour.
Fremantle will host another festival this summer on the weekend of October 29 and 30, in conjunction with the Blessing of the Fleet. The Little Italy by the Sea festival will be held at Bathers Beach and the Fishing Boat Harbour and will also be the venue for the Australian Specialty Coffee Championships 2016.
The weekend will be a celebration of Italian culture, food, coffee, art, dance and music, while “Piazza Italia” will be a bustling cafe strip. Belissima!
I am only hoping now there won’t be many business people complaining and saying these kind of events take business away from those who pay rent in the inner city, as the piazza is basically a market with stalls.
I love Freo’s summer of festivals and events and hope the entire community and people from all over Perth will embrace and enjoy it. Uno double Espresso per favore!
The traditional Black Madonna, Maria Santissima Del Tindari, procession snaked through the Fremantle city centre this afternoon, accompanied by fireworks at the Esplanade, that appeared a bit too loud for two people in the parade. The procession started at the Basilica in Queen Adelaide Street
I very much enjoy the traditions of the Black Madonna and Blessing of the Fleet and wonder why they are not better promoted by the City of Fremantle, to attract more people. Most people just happened to be there and only a few had come to watch because they knew about it.
Footnote: I don’t mean this disrespectful in any way, but why are people in processions always looking so morose? You believe in your God, and going to heaven after this already beautiful life, so why don’t you smile and delight in your faith?
O.K! Hand on your heart! How many of you knew this organisation is in Fremantle? Shows how multicultural Freo is.
I went to the DUTCH JOURNEYS TO THE WESTERN EDGE exhibition in the State Library in Perth and highly recommend it to anyone interested in WA’s history or our connection with the Netherlands.
Why report this on a Fremantle blog some might ask, but I believe there are a lot of connections to the Dutch history here in Freo. The wreck of the Dirk Hartog’s ship Batavia is at the Shipwreck Museum and the replicas of the Dutch sailing ships Endeavour, Duyfken and Leeuwin were all built in Fremantle.
The exhibition was curated by Dutch born Nonja Peters who migrated here as a three-year-old child in 1945.
On the train on the way back to Freo I reflected on the ‘stopping the boats’ policy by the Liberal and Labor parties here in Australia when I read at the exhibition that during the second world war 170,000 Dutch people found refuge in Australia, 13,000 of them in WA.
But the Dutch of course fitted in well with the White Australia Policy with their blue eyes and blond hair and were considered to be adaptable, unlike those brown, non-Christians we refuse entry into Australia to at present.
In that context it will be interesting to see how many Brexit ‘refugees’ we will be welcoming in WA without anyone claiming they take jobs away from local people
The Duyfken will be sailing from Fremantle in August to be at Shark Bay on October 25 to celebrate the arrival there of Dirk Hartog 400 years ago in 1616. There will be an exhibition in all the ports she visits; Bunbury, Mandurah, Hillaries, Jurien Bay, Dongara, Geraldton, Denham.
The Diwali Festival of Lights was on at the Fremantle Esplanade this Sunday but it was organised by a different group and attracted far fewer people than previous years. It is always gorgeously colourfull to see the Indian females in their robes and the beautiful dancing, but the crowd was missing.
Dosas, hoppers, biryani, lassi and all the yummy Indian and Sri Lankan food was for sale, but no one had thought about putting some marquis on to provide shade, so that should be improved next year.
The Deepavali Swan Festival of Lights is on all next weekend in Perth in the Supreme Court Gardens, so that sounds like a much bigger Indian festival to enjoy.