Freo's View

KAYA AND WELCOME TO FREMANTLE WALYALUP

 

The Sunday Times reports today that Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt would “seriously consider” to use Walyalup side by side with Fremantle, to acknowledge the Aboriginal history.

I would welcome that move, and Fremantle Walyalup does sound good, but question why it is taking so long to get more recognition of our indigenous history with more street and place names getting Noongar names.

It makes far more sense to add Aboriginal names than to delete the names of some of the early settlers, so what are we waiting for? The call for more Aboriginal names in Fremantle has been going for three decades, and while we now see Wanju Whadjuk Boodja signs underneath City of Fremantle ones, that is not good enough.

Fremantle Council also needs to be very clear that if it is serious about adding Walyalup to the Fremantle city name, the decision needs to be made before a major destination marketing concept has been developed, so that Walyalup can be included in all promotional material.

Ayers Rock became Uluru years ago, and the Bungles in the Kimberley are now better known as Purnululu, so there are no great obstacles that prevents our leaders to introduce more Aboriginal names for places of significance.

Roel Loopers

WE ALL GOT RED BLOOD AND BROWN SHIT

 

There is plenty of time for contemplation and soul searching during the cold and wet winter days and nights, so when it was suggested to me that I should try to speak at one of the new TEDx Fremantle events about Perception and Reality, I wondered what it was I would like to speak about.

My thoughts don’t comply with the TEDx Fremantle categories of; only good science, no political agenda and no religious proselytizing, so I decided to just write down my contemplations and publish it here on Freo’s View instead. Here it is:

When we talk about reality and perception we should start with the elephant in the room first, and that is that Australia is not the best country in the world. Simply because no country is! There are many great countries in the world. I lived in three of them.

Our soldiers are not braver than those from other countries, and there is nothing specifically Australian about people helping each other in a crisis. When there are floods in Bangladesh, earthquakes in Mongolia, or wars and disasters in other parts of the world, the communities rally to give a helping hand.

Australia has lived on the urban myth of being the fair go country, but how can we claim that when the British settlers mostly ignored Aboriginal culture and language and treated our indigenous people as primitive idiots. How can a fair country take children away from their parents to bring them up as Christians and does not allow them to speak their native languages, and how can a fair country allow many of these children to be abused and raped?

How can we believe to be the fair country when we ban genuine refugees from coming to Australia, but lock them up instead in camps of neighbouring countries, but want priority immigration for supposedly ‘endangered’ white South African farmers?

How can we claim that we live in the best country on earth, when tonight, like every night, 115,000 homeless Australians sleep rough in the cold and wet?

The perception of greatness has always confused the Australian identity and that’s why we are still looking for one. We are not the Akubra hat-wearing cowboys, who live in the red dirt outback, but 90% of our population lives on the coastal plains and in big cities.

You might be surprised now when I say that I really love living in Australia, and even more that I live in Fremantle. But we need to start cutting the crap and let go off the hubris, because to be able to move forward together as a community and nation we need to acknowledge the harsh reality that Australia is far from perfect and that there is a lot of room for improvement.

We at the grassroots need to insist that political debate is about issues and has substance, and is not about point-scoring and name-calling, and we need to let all politicians know that we will no longer put up with their infantile behaviour in our parliaments.

We need to stop believing in the urban myth of our own greatness and start by showing real compassion for the less well off in our society.

It is not acceptable that we spend millions of dollars on non-essential things when our pensioners are barely making ends meet, when our hospitals are over-crowded and have long waiting lists, as does social housing, and when so many suffer from serious mental health issues.

Australia joined the so-called war on terrorism, but why haven’t we begun a war on poverty, and a war on unemployment and homelessness?

We are not all equal when multinational companies don’t pay tax, but low-income earners, pensioners and people on social benefits constantly get scrutinised to the point that is causes anxiety and depression for many.

It is good to have dreams, but it is not good to live in dreamworld and ignore the pragmatic reality of Australian life. Racism is a daily experience for those who are not white, and verbal abuse is also a daily worry for Muslim women, who have become the easy targets for ignorant fools. Western Australia has the highest rate of domestic violence in the nation!

Australia is a beautiful country, and I strongly believe that most people are good, caring and tolerant, and even more so here in Fremantle, but there are also many intolerant haters, who do not positively contribute to our community.

The Australia I love was summed up pretty well one evening in the Fitzroy Crossing pub in the stunning Kimberly when a drunk and huge Aboriginal man looked down on me in the toilet and said “Isn’t it amazing brother that we both have red blood and brown shit.” Yes indeed. We have a lot more in common than what divides us!

My wish for Australia is to wake up to reality and stop claiming that this is the best country on the planet. There is a huge different between being proud of one’s nation or becoming dangerously-and unrealistically- nationalistic. We can only find Australia’s real identity when we stop the tokenism and engage in real reconciliation with our Aboriginal brothers and sisters. To do that we need to use the word RESPECT more often.

To show real respect we need to acknowledge Aboriginal people in our constitution, we need to build a substantial Aboriginal cultural centre in Fremantle, so that overseas visitors can engage and learn about our indigenous history and culture, and we need a memorial on Rottnest Island telling the awful story of the inhumane Quod Aboriginal prison, where nearly 400 boys and men from all over Western Australia died.

Only with real mutual respect, and only with real, deep and soul searching honesty can we make Australia the best country in the world. Dismissing and patronising others is only holding us back.

Roel Loopers

IT’S NATIONAL RECONCILIATION WEEK

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, culture, heritage, history, indigenous, Uncategorized by freoview on May 27, 2018

 

Nat Reconciliation Week May 27

 

KAYA! A reminder that it is National reconciliation Week next week, so connect with our Whadjuk Noongar friends, read about indigenous history and culture or just buy a ork of Aboriginal art. There is a beautiful new exhibition at the Japingka Gallery in Fremantle’s High Street!

 

Roel Loopers

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FREO MAYOR’S BAD ARTHUR’S HEAD HERITAGE CALL

Posted in aboriginal, arthur head, city of fremantle, j shed, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 22, 2018

 

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt’s latest blogpost about the changing face of Arthur’s Head: https://cofremantle.wordpress.com is an attempt at trying to justify his support for the Sunset Events tavern proposal at J Shed. This is no doubt in response to the smoking ceremony held at Bathers Beach on Saturday in protest to the tavern proposal.

I am grateful for the historic facts and the fantastic historic photos the Mayor published, but I believe Brad Pettitt is missing the point. His argument that because Arthur’s Head changed so much and the J Shed building was added later, it is less significant than other parts of the area above it is flawed.

It is like arguing that land significant to Aboriginal people is no longer significant because mining and development have changed the area.

Just a few metres south of the proposed tavern was the Whaling Station, and Bathers Bay was where the Swan River Colony started, and sadly also the transport of Aboriginal men and boys to the inhumane Rottnest Island Aboriginal Quod prison.

As a board member of the Heritage Council Mayor Brad Pettitt should be well aware that there is tangible and intangible history. Even the beaches and slaughter fields of all the wars have changed over time, but have never become less significant because changes to the areas were made.

Historic significance of place is not measured in metres or what has been taken away or been added! There is very little tangible evidence left of the WWII bombing of Rotterdam, Leipzig, Nuremberg, Berlin, etc.

The Roundhouse is no longer the same as it was when it was built, so does that make the oldest public building in Western Australia less significant?

I have no issue with the Freo Mayor being a big fan of the tavern at J Shed, but I would expect a more intelligent debate from him to support his position than to try to discredit the heritage significance of parts of Arthur’s Head.

Bad call, Brad!

Roel Loopers

STORIES OF NYUNGAR DANCING PERFORMANCE

 

Nyungar dancing

 

I have been reading the fascinating Dancing in Shadows book about Histories of Nyungar performance by historian Anna Haebich and recommend it to anyone interested in the history of our local Wadjuk Nyungar, and all the indigenous people of Australia.

The book published by UWA was gifted to me by my generous mate Paolo Gumina and I can’t thank him enough! I have already learned so many new things about WA’s Nyungar history in the first 100 pages.

The book is about corroborees  and dancing and The power of Indigenous performance pitted against the forces of settler colonisation and is a fantastic read.

One important fact I learned is that with 40,000 people our WA Nyungars are the largest Aboriginal group/tribe/nation in Australia.

The book launch was held at the New Edition bookshop in Fremantle’s High Street, so they will have copies for you to purchase. Go and get one today!

Roel Loopers

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DESERT ART AT KIDOGO ARTHOUSE

Posted in aboriginal, art, city of fremantle, culture, indigenous, Uncategorized by freoview on April 17, 2018

 

Kidogo 19 April opening Daisy Ward

 

PURLTIKATJA is a stunning show of work by Daisy Tjuparntarri Ward that opens this Thursday evening at Fremantle’s Kidogo Arthouse on Bathers Beach. The exhibition runs from the 19-25 April

The exhibition, curated by anthropologist Jan Turner, features canvasses from the deserts of Western Australia and in particular the Ngaanyatjarra Lands. Canvasses gathered over twenty years to tell stories, to communicate, to make explicit, Indigenous concepts, histories and family relationships. Canvasses used as tools of explanation in the contexts of land rights, native title, mining negotiations and the politics of representation. Canvasses that by their existence have provided a conduit for two worlds to come together in often difficult circumstances.

The desert woman, Daisy Tjuparntari Ward makes a guest appearance at this exhibition. An artist, a cross-cultural educator, an ambassador for her people, a political rights activist and a proud upholder of her culture. Ward and Turner have shared for thirty years an inter-cultural space, as tjurturarra [a two sister team]. Born in the same year, cultures apart, they have grown together learning much about their own and each other’s cultures.

Many of the canvasses come from the period prior to the establishment of community based commercial art centres. The artists represented in this highly personal collection come from several language groups: Ngaanyatjarra, Mantjiltjara, Pitjantjatjara and Pintupi. The artworks are tangible representations of the anthropologist’s relationships through generations and across language groups. They were collected specifically for the purpose of cross-cultural education, as visual components of an anthropologist’s toolkit.

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STUNNING ABORIGINAL ART AT REVEALED MARKET

 

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Click on photos to enlarge!

 

No doubt Pauline Hanson would not agree with the wonderful, wonderful REVEALED Aboriginal art market and exhibition at the Fremantle Arts Centre today because there is too much emphasis on Aboriginal people.

Well, Pauline, if you want to ignore 50,000 years of a beautiful people and culture and their long history in Australia just please your own ignorance. For people like me REVEALED is a great opportunity to see art from the desert, the Kimberley and down South and connect with our indigenous friends.

The atmosphere in the courtyard is fantastic and half of Perth came out to buy some stunning Aboriginal art, so go and join them!

Roel Loopers

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ALL REVEALED ABOUT ABORIGINAL ART AT FAC

Posted in aboriginal, art, city of fremantle, fremantle arts centre, Uncategorized by freoview on April 6, 2018

 

revealed

 

The amazing annual REVEALED exhibition and art market by Aboriginal artists from remote communities starts tomorrow at the Fremantle Arts Centre with the delightful artmarket in the courtyard.

Hundreds of outstanding artworks will be on display and for sale and many of the artists will be present.

All the galleries will also display the works, so make sure to visit the FAC as it is a great opportunity to connect with WA’s indigenous artists and culture and purchase one of the works.

This once-a-year opportunity to buy art directly from emerging and established Aboriginal artists has become a firm favourite on the FAC calendar and definitely not to be missed. Bringing together artists from all over WA, with works starting from $50 and all profits from sales returning to the makers and art centres, this is a great chance to purchase quality new artworks.

Browse a range of craft and artworks, including paintings, textiles, woven items, artefacts, clothing, ceramics, jewellery and more in the beautiful surrounds of FAC’s Front Garden.

Sat 7 Apr | 10am–5pm | Free Entry

Roel Loopers

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ABORIGINAL CHILDREN’S STORYTELLING FESTIVAL

Posted in aboriginal, BOOKS, city of fremantle, history, indigenous, Uncategorized by freoview on March 30, 2018

 

KAYA! A big mob of people turned up this morning at the Fremantle Moores building for the official opening of the inaugural Woylie Aboriginal Australian Kids Story Festival.

It is the concept of the Paper Bird bookshop’s owner Jennifer Jackson and already a great success.

Under the watchful eyes of kids and grown ups and State Treasurer Ben Wyatt, and elders such as Noel Nannup, Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, member for Fremantle Simone McGurk, etc. Noongar elder Marie Taylor did a welcome to country and smoking ceremony.

Today the program is 1pm Desert Tales, 1.30pm Madjitil Moorna Choir, 2.15pm Golden Spirit and 3pm Young Naturalists.

Saturday 7.30am, Breakfast with the Publishers, 10am Silly Birds!, 11am Story Custodian of Noongar Boodjar, 12.20pm Battle of the Illustrators, 1.15pm Diverse Voices, 2.15pm Colours and Dreams.

Check out more on http://www.paperbird.com.au/events/aaksf

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Roel Loopers

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WHAT FREMANTLE CAN LEARN FROM YAGAN SQUARE

 

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I am always committed to making Freo a better place to live, visit and work, so I hopped on the train to Perth this morning to have a look at the new Yagan Square and to see if Fremantle can learn anything from it for the Kings Square development. The answer is yes.

While Yagan Square has some really nice features the overall impression for me was disappointing. There is quite a bit of pretentious look-at-me design and the large space is ostentatious instead of good placemaking.

The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority-MRA clearly did not learn from the Elizabeth Quay mistakes because there is far too much heat-reflecting hard surface of concrete and pavement and not enough shade. There are also the now typical BYB seats-Burn Your Bum, which will heat up from the sun.

The Market Hall inside is just another food hall but this one is dark and claustrophobic, so nothing to write home about either.

While the Yagan statue artwork is stunning I was surprised to see no story telling about the great warrior and Whadjuk Noongar history. It might be somewhere, but I failed to notice it, which means it is not significant enough.

There are a lot of struggling Balga grass trees, but I did not get a cultural experience about our indigenous history. That saddens me as it is an opportunity lost.

My overall feelings were that the square looks as if it was only partly designed and the rest just filled with concrete and seats, so please City of Fremantle learn from that and make Kings Square a much more special and enjoyable experience!

Roel Loopers

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