Freo's View

BLACK LIVES MATTER-A LOT!

 

When the Prime Minister of Australia, in reaction to the George Floyd protests in the USA, says that Australia should not import those problems because we are a fair country, it is clear we still live in denial about racism in Australia. Australia is a fair country for fair-skinned people, but not for our indigenous people, or for our Asian and African people, and anyone with dark skin.

Racism started in this country the day Captain Cook set foot on land in the east and when Captain Fremantle and Captain Stirling arrived here in Fremantle at Bathers Bay.

The ‘wild black savages’ were hunted, killed, raped, abused, used as slaves, taken away from their parents, locked up and treated with absolute disrespect by most of the early settlers, who had no respect for the culture of the traditional owners.

The real history of Australia is rarely told. How many high school students in Western Australia are really aware of the stolen generations, the Pinjarra massacre, the killing and beheading of Yagan, the persecution of Jandamara in the Kimberley, the abuse that happened at the Moore River, Sister Kate, New Norcia, etc? How many have been told the truth about the awful Quod prison on Rottnest Island, where ten per cent of the 4,700 male prisoners died?

Just nine years away from celebrating 200 years of the start of the Swan River Colony Western Australia still does not have and Aboriginal Cultural Centre that tells the history of our state from the indigenous perspective.

We still do not have a significant memorial for those men and boys from all over WA who died on Rottnest Island, and many tourists leave the island without even being aware of it.

At the Roundhouse at least the volunteer guides acknowledged that they need to also tell the Aboriginal story and they have been working on new interpretive displays, but that will need state funding, so will they get the financial support from the McGowan government?

Racism is rampant in Australia and only many of those who are fair skinned believe it does not exist, but every dark coloured person in this country is subjected to it daily, sometimes it comes subtly and often it is blatant. Since 1991 432 Aboriginal people have died in custody in Australia!

We are lucky to have one of the best Treasurers WA has ever had in Ben Wyatt, a brilliant Aboriginal man. There are many of them, but they often do not get a chance to shine because of institutional racism in our governments and industries.

A country where Aboriginal people on average die ten years younger than non Aborigines, where Aboriginal kids often do not finish education, and where only a few study at universities, is not a fair country. We should be better than that! BlackLivesMatter!

Roel Loopers

 

PAUL MURRAY PUTS MIDGEGOOROO HISTORY IN CONTEXT

 

Paul Murray column

 

I rarely agree with anything The West Australian columnist Paul Murray writes, because of his right wing pro Liberal party sentiments. Murray is also well known for his criticism of the green and left Fremantle Council, but I highly commend him for today’s column about a suggested name change of Fremantle’s Kings Square to Midgegooroo Place.

Unlike Fremantle Society president John Dowson, who called Midgegooroo a cold blooded murderer, Murray puts that episode of history in context of what really happened and why Midgegooroo killed.

Too often we only want to accept that part of history that suits our believes or political inclination, so it is really good to read Paul Murray’s column, which leaves the Fremantle Society president with egg on his face, yet again.

Buy The West today. It’s worth the money, just for Murray’s clarification of history!

Roel Loopers

CAN WE GET CONSENSUS ABOUT NEW NAME FOR KINGS SQUARE?

 

Does Fremantle’s Kings Square need a new name, an Aboriginal name, a dual name? Most Councillors had something to say about it, with Councillor Doug Thompson being quite ambivalent about it. Whatever the outcome it has to be after a long and intense public community consultation process they all agreed.

The name  Midgegooroo, the father of Yagan, had been suggested and some elected members scoffed at the criticism that the Aboriginal elder had been accused of murder, with one Councillor saying we would lose half of Fremantle’s street names if we excluded people who had killed others.

Teachers had asked Councillors how their students could become involved in suggesting a new name for our city square, and it was important to open up the reconciliation conversation and take it outside Council and to the community, where we could expect a large diversity of suggestions.

Councillor Marija Vujcic said the terms of reference for community participation needed to be defined as inclusion was the key principle, while Mayor Brad Pettitt said they needed to make sure to get it right and have a robust debate about it in the community.

The name Walyalup civic centre was approved as the name for the new building at Kings Square as that had been one of the outcomes of the Walyalup Reconciliation Action Plan(WRAP), but Councillor Marija Vujcic said that was not a mandate and questioned the community consultation.

Councillor Hannah Fitzhardinge pointed out that the WRAP working group, of which I was a member, was not just Aboriginal people. She is right. There were about 100 people with different backgrounds and professions, and support agencies, including WA police, St Pat’s, etc and about 35 Aboriginal people at this extensive community process.

Fact is that there will be dozens of suggestions for a new name for Kings Square and many who will want it to remain Kings Square or go back to St John’s Square, after that it will still have to be a Council decision what the new name will be, so is it going to be a lottery, tossing a coin, suggesting a small number of names and let the community vote on it? But the latter would still be controversial as it will be impossible to get community consensus about a new name for our city square, and anything else for that matter.

How many people can councils realistically involve in the community consultation process about anything? Fact is that most people care little about what goes on in local government, as the low voter participation at elections clearly shows, so when do Councillors have a mandate to decide on anything? I thought the outcome of elections was the mandate for elected members. We elect them to make decisions on behalf of the community.

Roel Loopers

 

 

WHAT IS A GOOD ABORIGINAL NAME FOR FREO’S KINGS SQUARE?

 

The outcome, or lack thereof of the FPOL Committee decision about a new Aboriginal name for Kings Square and for the new civic centre was as clear as mud to me, but that was probably due to Councillors treating a public meeting as if it was a talk among themselves, and not bothering to speak into the microphones on the desk.

It looks like the new Civic Centre might just have the name Walyalup, but a new name for the city square, that is a triangle, will need more community consultation, probably because consultation was only done with local Noongar people.

Some Councillors were not convinced the new Aboriginal name should be that of a person, as the officers suggestion of Midgegooroo was, and were more interested making it into a Whadjuk Noongar place name, and that makes sense to me.

I don’t know what the Noongar name is for a place where people gather, but that is what Kings Square and St John’s Church are, and even the FOMO offices and retail and hospitality part of it, so that would be an appropriate name for the area.

It will go to full council, so there will be more ideas and suggestions and that is good, because Fremantle should have a significant place that has a Whadjuk Noongar name. It is only nine more years until we celebrate and commiserate the British settlement in Bathers Bay in 1829 but we still have not managed to have a lot of Aboriginal names in Fremantle, and I find that very disappointing.

Roel Loopers

 

ONE DAY NONSENSE FROM FREMANTLE HERALD

 

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I am disappointed that my friends at the Fremantle Herald make the totally unsubstantiated claim on their front page today that only 1,000 people attended the One Day in Fremantle event at Bathers Beach last Saturday. Where did they get the figures from? Who did the foot traffic counting?

I was at the event four times, starting with the Smoking Ceremony at 8am, which attracted around 500 people, and during the day there was a constant stream of people coming and going. It was a great day from 8am till sunset, where people really connected, and that’s what it is all about!

The Chook is keen to quote the Liberal MP for Tagney Ben Morton, who constantly bleats on about Australia Day in large advertisements in the Fremantle Herald, so maybe the front page article is just a quid pro quo to keep an advertiser happy?

By the way, on the four occasions I was at the One Day event, and stayed for considerable time, I never noticed anyone from the Chook. They even used a City of Fremantle photo to support their front page nonsense, because they could not be bothered to attend the Smoking Ceremony.

Roel Loopers

A TRULY WONDERFUL FREMANTLE DAY OF RECONCILIATION

 

 

I had tears in my eyes a few times today, because it was really very special to be part of the One Day in Fremantle event at Bathers Beach and made feel so welcome by all.

It was a true day of active reconciliation where Aboriginal people and Wadjelas connected in a very relaxed way. There were a lot of smiles, great kids, great music, just truly wonderful.

I love hanging out with blackfellas, even when it is politically incorrect to call them that, and it was a special day because I caught up with Reuben, a young Aboriginal man I have known since birth and used to babysit quite a bit. I had not seen him for ten years or so. His mum Michelle is my oldest, well she’s not old, but my most long term friend, in Australia. She’s a proud Irnjibarndi woman from Roebourne and curator at the new WA museum.

Roel Loopers

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ONE DAY CONNECTING FOR THE FUTURE

Posted in aboriginal, australia, city of fremantle, community, culture, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on January 25, 2020

 

 

Here a few impressions of the ONE DAY IN FREMANTLE event at Bathers Beach.

There is live music, dance, story-telling, art, culture, fun, face painting, sand painting, etc.

It goes till 8pm this evening and finishes with the burning of balga trees on the beach at sunset.

It is a much more intimate event than the previous years on the Esplanade and it is easier for everybody to connect. It feels good. I really like it!

Go and say KAYA!

Roel Loopers

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HUGE MOB AT FREO’S ONE DAY SMOKING CEREMONY

 

 

The ONE DAY IN FREMANTLE reconciliation event started at 8am this morning with a smoking ceremony at Bathers Beach.

A huge crowd of around 500 people attended, and that is special so early in the morning at the start of a long weekend.

There were a lot of Aboriginal elders and younger generations and federal, state and local politicians.

It was a lovely relaxed gathering with a lot of mutual respect shown.

There are activities, live music, food, and much more at Bathers Beach all day and it finishes at sunset with the burning of six Balga trees on the beach.

Come and join in. Connect with our indigenous friends, have fun together, lose the fear and prejudice!

Roel Loopers

 

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ONE DAY FOR ALL

Posted in aboriginal, australia, australia day, city of fremantle, community, Uncategorized by freoview on January 24, 2020

 

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ONE DAY IN FREMANTLE is on this Saturday, January 25, so come and enjoy Aboriginal music, food, art, etc. It is on all day at Bathers Beach.

Roel Loopers

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FREO’S ONE DAY AN ABORIGINAL SHOWCASE

 

 

Some of WA’s best young artists will be showcased during this year’s One Day in Fremantle event this Saturday., January 25

The free, all-day event will commence with a traditional smoking ceremony at Bathers Beach at 8am and conclude with a sunset ceremony featuring the burning of six balga trees, signifying reflection and renewal.

From 11am-4pm the stage will be thrown open to some of WA’s brightest young talent, including 2015/16 WAM Song of the Year winner Beni Bjah, 2018/19 WAM Song of the Year runner-up Joshua Flewnt, 2018/19 WA NAIDOC Music Award Winner Indigo Ellis and emerging rapper Trent Howard.

The program has been put together by Perth singer/songwriter and Abmusic Aboriginal Corporation representative Natasha Eldridge, who will also be taking to the stage with her band Kruize Control.

13-year-old Indigo Ellis said she couldn’t wait to perform in front of the One Day crowd.

Rapper Trent Howard said it was an honour to be able to perform at an event that promoted reconciliation and encouraged everyone to come together to celebrate Australia.

Beginning with the smoking ceremony at Bathers Beach, One Day will incorporate Aboriginal artwork, music, workshops and food at Kidogo Arthouse and around the grassed area at Bathers Beach.

Activities include boomerang painting, rock mandalas, weaving, an art exhibition, storytelling and poetry readings along with Uluru Statement from the Heart and a number of other information stalls.

Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, Walyalup Kannajil and Madjitil Moorna choirs will be among many other performers.

The free celebration will also serve as a fundraiser for the Australian Bushfire Appeal with attendees encouraged to donate to the Fremantle Foundation’s Freo Fire Fund which has been set up to support affected communities in the wake of the recent devastating bushfires.

For further information, visit fremantle.wa.gov.au/oneday.

 

Roel Loopers

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