Freo's View


Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, history, indigenous, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 22, 2019



How can we stop the ridiculous claims in the media that Fremantle wants to change its name to Walyalup? The Reconciliation Action Plan, that is out for community consultation, suggests to acknowledge Aboriginal names for our city and its landmarks, that means we add Noongar names to the English names, not replace them.

Already there are many negative comments on social media, as if our Aboriginal history is something we should be ashamed about when we should be proud that we are part of a 50.000 year ancient history.

It is not as if before British settlement this country we now call Australia was a fascist society with a past we’d better not mention. It is a huge island where Aboriginal people lived in relative peace and harmony. They lived respectfully in an often nomadic lifestyle off mother earth, in a society with strong tribal laws which kinship and tribal boundaries that were adhered to.

Men in the communities educated the boys and the women were responsible for bringing up the girls, and food was often shared in the best communal sense of extended families.

It is a proud history of stories and songlines and of sacred sites and of deep respect for nature and the earth.

Why should we not share our Aboriginal history by letting people know the names the traditional owners have for all the landmarks and rivers? It is not as if a Big Bang happened in 1829 on the west coast of this huge continent and suddenly there was population in this terra nullius, or uninhabited land. That disrespectful suggestion was soundly rejected by the High Court of Australia which acknowledged that Aboriginal people have lived here for some 50.000 years. A history of hardship and resilience to be proud of!

What is the big deal to have signs that show Fremantle and underneath it Walyalup to acknowledge that history. What is wrong with pointing out that Arthur’s Head is also known as Manjaree and Rottnest Island as Wadjemup?

The acceptance of Aboriginal names is already widespread around Australia. Most people now call Ayers Rock Uluru, the Olgas are known as Kata Tjuta, the Bungles as Purnululu, and Turkey Creek is better known as Warmun.

The TV reporter who smugly told his viewers last night that Fremantle could not change the name of the Swan River to Derbarl Yerrigan because it would need State Government approval to do so was only starting a fear campaign because all Fremantle Council might do is put some signs along the river to also acknowledge the Aboriginal name and history of the river.

No one’s history is threatened people and Fremantle will not disappear from the map of WA and Australia. Our post settlement history and names will remain and be told next to the pre European settlement history of our Aboriginal people. It is showing respect for our now shared past and future, and in my opinion it is very welcome and a long time overdue.


Roel Loopers


Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, culture, indigenous, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 21, 2019


KAYA! The West Australian reports this morning that Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt has stated that it is very likely that Fremantle and some of its landmarks will get dual names which include the Noongar name, such as Walyalup for Fremantle, Manjaree for Arthur’s Head, etc.

Aboriginal names is already something I make school students visiting the Roundhouse aware of and also when I am in charge of firing the 1pm cannon, where we acknowledge the Whadjuk Noongar people as the traditional owners.

Making people aware of Aboriginal names for areas is good education and historic fact and it is good for reconciliation, so I am all for it.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt told the West it is encouraging what Fremantle wants to do while opposition shadow minister Tony Krsticevic says it would be confusing to have dual names.

Fremantle Council has just put out a new Reconciliation Action Plan for public comments that will guide Council toward a new and more up to date policy that will replace the policy implemented twenty years ago. Good on them! Moorditj!

Roel Loopers


Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, community, indigenous, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 10, 2019


RAP Working Group


The draft Fremantle Reconciliation Action Plan-RAP is out for public consultation, so I copy and paste this below from the City of Fremantle:

Our vision for reconciliation

The City’s vision for reconciliation is to create an inclusive, caring community where Aboriginal people experience the same life outcomes as other Australians, and where their special place in our nation and our City is recognised. We want a community and an organisation in which Aboriginal people are acknowledged, listened to and understood; a community and organisation that respect and tell the truth about history, and where healing and growth is nurtured by all of us. Ultimately, we want this to be a shared vision for Fremantle, where the City embraces culture and heritage, and where Aboriginal people are part of making decisions and improvements for the wellbeing of people.

Our Walyalup Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is a three year plan that is reported on annually. This is Council’s first RAP following the formative policy for respect, recognition and conciliation with Aboriginal people in 2000. Based on recommendation from Reconciliation Australia on the work the City of Fremantle has done thus far, Council decided to begin with a Stretch RAP.

This draft RAP was developed in consultation with the RAP Working Group, local Aboriginal community, elders and other stakeholders through a series of workshops and meetings facilitated by Kambarang Services. The diverse input from over 100 people has been summarised into a practical plan for Reconciliation, focused around Relationships, Respect, Opportunity and Governance. It contains 15 actions and 74 deliverables.

Our hope is that, in working together, speaking together, hearing each other and most of all committing to a better future together we will replace ignorance, mistrust, racism and hostility with genuine connection, trust and unity.

There are several ways to access the draft RAP or find out more:

  • View the draft RAP online, by clicking here or visiting the document library on this page.
  • A hard copy is available at the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre(External link) (WACC), Thursdays and Fridays from 10.00am to 3.00pm. Staff are also available at the WACC during these times to tell you more about the RAP and a paper submission form is available.
  • A hard copy is also available in the Wanjoo Lounge(External link) at Fremantle Library, staffed by volunteers Monday to Friday 9.00am to 3.00pm. A paper submission form is available.

We encourage you to read the draft Walyalup RAP including the actions and tell us your thoughts below by 4.00pm Monday 27 May 2019.



I missed the Fremantle Council FPOL Committee meeting on Wednesday due to the Candidate Debate being at the same time, so could not observe myself what went on about Arthur’s Head.

What I hear is that that tired buzzword ‘activation’ was thrown around a lot and that Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt talked about a “Grand Vision” with substantial development, ideally in the form of a National Aboriginal Cultural Centre at the location where J Shed is at the moment.

The one major issue here is that such a building would probably cost $ 40-50 million, which Fremantle has not got, and staff cost and maintenance Fremantle cannot afford either, and…. the State Government wants to build the centre somewhere in Perth and Fremantle is not a preferred location unfortunately.

So should we risk $ 50,000 of ratepayers money on a feasibility study for an Aboriginal centre Fremantle can’t afford to build, manage and maintain, when there is hardly even a remote change that it would be approved and funded by the McGowan government?

Grand visions are great, but they need to be realistic and achievable if we are going to throw money at it.

Now let’s talk a bit about activation. First there was the idea for the Bathers Beach Art Precinct that was meant to activate the area, but did not, and galleries who tried it up on Arthur’s Head closed.  Only the Glen Cowans photograpy gallery established itself well. Now the residential cottages will become artist studios and that will do absolutely nothing to activate the area and attract more people there because the artist studios do not have to be open to the public.

Then Fremantle Council had the brilliant brain flash that a large tavern with an even larger live outdoor music venue would activate Arthur’s Head, against the wishes of the community. They proceeded anyway, to finally be told by the WA Planning Committee that it was inappropriate use of the area, after Sunset Events had wasted a lot of money and Council had managed to frustrate many Freo people. Who cares, we’ve got a grand vision!

To top it off Fremantle Council does not give a rat’s arse about the only place that actually activates Arthur’s Head 363 days a week, the Roundhouse. This major tourist attraction that gets 150,000 visitors a year has not received a single cent of Fremantle Council funding since I have been a volunteer there, which is nine years. But who cares about that tiny activation when one has a grand vision for the area. Maybe we should just demolish WA’s oldest public building and get on with an ever bigger grand vision of a twenty-story hotel on the site. Now that would activate the area.

If this is good governance, Mayor Brad Pettitt, Elected Members and Minister David Templeman than we might as well keep supporting unrealistic pipe dreams instead of supporting those who have put the hard yards in for twenty years without any help from the local, State and Federal governments. You have disrespectfully been taking the Roundhouse for granted for far too long!

You can’t see the activation of Arthur’s Head because you are blinded by your grand visions. Grow up! Mature! Inject some reality into your thought bubbles instead of talking nonsense.

Maintain Arthur’s Head better and make it more attractive. Support the Roundhouse volunteers financially and substantially, and market the old prison more and better. Get rid of the artist studios and offer tourism merchandise along Captain’s Lane, hold a monthly art&craft market on the A Class reserve at J Shed, include it in more festival events such at the Street Arts Festival, and PLEASE stop believing you need to build a monument to be remembered by. It’s not working.

Roel Loopers




After the WA State Government’s announcement of the redevelopment of the former East Perth Power Station and Premier Mark McGowan hinting that it could be a good location for a National Aboriginal Centre it would be prudent for Fremantle Council to reconsider spending $ 50,000 of ratepayers money on a feasibility study to have the centre built at J Shed on Bathers Beach.

No matter how much we would love that centre to be established in Fremantle it is no use throwing money at a pipe dream that will never happen. The proper way is to have a meeting with the State Government first and find out if they would consider Fremantle at all, before we are spending so much money on researching the feasibility of it.

The City of Cockburn also want an Aboriginal Centre, so let’s not get too carried about a Fremantle one.

A shame though that the State Government allows the former South Fremantle Power Station to rot away and not develop it into a major attraction for Fremantle and Cockburn.

Roel Loopers




Fremantle Council minutes that deal with J Shed must be reaching biblical proportions when one considers how often the art shed at Bathers Beach comes before Council and Council committees.

It is on again this Wednesday at the FPOL Committee where officers recommend not to engage in new lease negotiations with the current artists there but continue the existing leases, with a 12 month termination-of-lease clause because of Council’s desire to built an Aboriginal cultural centre in that location.

Perth is well overdue for a WA Aboriginal centre and it should be in Fremantle, but it is highly premature to not extend the artists’ leases as it will be many years, if at all, when such a centre will be built at Bathers Beach.

A Western Australian Aboriginal centre is well beyond the scope of the City of Fremantle and should be a State facility; financed, curated and managed by the WA Government.

It will require extensive and very lengthy consultation with our indigenous people from Wyndham to Albany and Fremantle to Kalgoorlie and beyond, so that is going to take years.

Then there should be an architecture competition for a remarkable and outstanding building, plus detailed curatorial work that will require years of research with the support of the WA Museum, Bernd Museum, WA’s Aboriginal people, historians, art experts, etc.

Once the historical, cultural and art content has been agreed on the design of the displays will need to be dealt with, and that won’t be done overnight either.

It will be brilliant to have a stunning Aboriginal centre at Bathers Beach, as Manjaree/Arthur’s Head is where the first contact between the British colonists and local indigenous people took place. It is also the location of the Roundhouse, WAs oldest remaining public building, and the location from where many Aboriginal men and boys were transported from to the horrible Quod prison on Wadjemup/Rottnest Island.

And if this becomes a State project Fremantle’s feasibility study might be superfluous as the State will have to go through a process first of identifying preferred locations for the new centre and decide if it will actually be in Fremantle, or Elizabeth Quay, Burswood, or elsewhere. That is not going to happen  in just a few years, so why not give the J Shed artists at least a two-year lease that can be extended by 12 months from thereon. It’s the realistic and pragmatic course to take.

Roel Loopers


Posted in aboriginal, australia day, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 1, 2019



Some of the feedback given at the RAP Working Group about the One Day in Fremantle event and Smoking Ceremony is worth considering as both events lacked the same spark as the very first year the alternative Australia Day celebrations were held.

The first Smoking Ceremony on top of Manjaree/Arthur’s Head and in the Roundhouse was nothing short of powerful and inspirational, but the subsequent years it was watered down to a much smaller event with a lot less impact and next to the Kidogo Arthouse boardwalk at Bathers Beach.

The area is too small for all the people attending and the event is not significant enough anymore because only a small number of Aboriginal people conduct it, and none of them are women. It needs to get back to the powerful ceremony it was the first year of One Day in Fremantle.

There is also a disconnect between the Smoking Ceremony, which starts at 8am, and the One Day concert, which only starts in earnest at 5pm. There needs to be either more on offer between 10am and 5pm, or the Smoking Ceremony needs to be much later in the day.

While the symbolism of the Smoking Ceremony at Bathers Bay is important the connection to the One Day concert would be much more apparent if both events were held in the same location. Would Fremantle Oval be an option?

The lack of shade on the Esplanade forced people to hide under the trees, which gave the area a deserted impression when I arrived at 4.30pm this year, so shade structures need to be erected and there needs to be entertainment on the stage all day, not just from 5-7.30pm, because it lacked energy.

Some Aboriginal people at the RAP meeting on Monday believed that the One Day in Fremantle event is an Aboriginal event and they complained it had become too multicultural, but the alternative Australia Day entertainment was moved from January 26 out of respect for Aboriginal culture because many believe that Invasion Day should not be celebrated, but that does not mean the alternative day should not be about multiculturalism.

Important though to make visitors from outside Fremantle aware that it is the alternative Australia Day, although Fremantle Council no doubt does not want to make it too political and controversial. I am confident a good compromise can be found.

So a few adjustments are needed to improve the day. A more inclusive Smoking Ceremony in a better location, and more visual recognition during the concert of the Bibulmen, Whadjuk, Noongar culture and history would be a good outcome.

Roel Loopers


Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, community, indigenous, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on April 29, 2019


RAP Working Group


Here a photo taken about an hour ago of the Fremantle RAP Working Group. RAP stands for Reconciliation Action Plan, as explained in the previous blog post below.

We all can make a positive difference at local level, so get involved and get your voice heard!

Roel Loopers




I feel honoured to have been asked to join the City of Fremantle Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group, which will meet this morning and will guide Fremantle Council toward a new Aboriginal policy, as last night’s ABC TV documentary Will Australia Ever Have A Black PM? showed how disadvantaged our indigenous people still are, with a one in a million chance of an Aboriginal person becoming Prime Minister of Australia and hardly any Aboriginal people in a position of political or corporate power in our country.

The percentage of Aboriginal students reaching high school and university is also disappointingly low, but at least it has been improving over the last years and hopefully that will continue and increase.

There is a lot of talk and a lot of money spent, and often wasted, and there is a lot of near useless tokenism when it comes to acknowledging our Aboriginal culture and history, and only when that changes will we make real inroads.

While Frematle Council has allocated $ 50,000 for a feasibility study for an Aboriginal cultural centre it is clear that this could only become reality if the State or Federal governments are willing to financially support it.

But in the meantime there are many things we could do in Fremantle to give our city an Aboriginal context, such as giving streets and sites Noongar names. We could also have ‘story poles’ all around Fremantle telling snippets of Whadjuk Noongar history.

It would also be great to have entry signs to Fremantle that read:

KAYA. WELCOME. City of Fremantle. Whadjuk Noongar country.

It is simple, fast and not expensive to do, so let’s do it!

Roel Loopers





Posted in abc, aboriginal, city of fremantle, democracy, elections, indigenous, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on April 25, 2019


Black PM?


The ABC screening this Sunday at 7.40 pm of Will Australia Ever Have a Black PM? is very timely three weeks before the Federal Election.

I remember the joy of a first female PM, when Obama was elected President of the USA, and marriage equality, so I hope that a black PM, or president, of Australia will still happen in my lifetime, but I think that might be a bit too optimistic.

It is special for me that my friend young Fremantle Aboriginal woman Shari Hutchison was the Attachment Producer of the documentary. She traveled all over Australia with the team to film the interviews, so I am looking forward to viewing the result of all the hard work.

Roel Loopers



%d bloggers like this: