After months of discussion, reflection and consultation among Fremantle’s Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community, the Council signed off on the Walyalup Reconciliation Action Plan (WRAP).
Reconciliation Australia encouraged us to undertake a stretch RAP because of the degree to which the Fremantle has engaged with reconciliation issues over the past 30 years.
Below is a summary of Fremantle’s reconciliation journey so far, taken from the WRAP:
1992 Fremantle Festival ceremony marking the closure of Fremantle Prison, acknowledging the histories of the site, as well as Black Deaths in Custody.
1993 The Baldja Corroboree was a joint project between the Fremantle Baldja Network and the City of Fremantle in order to celebrate Aboriginal culture during the International Year for Indigenous People.
1994 Special plaque for the Explorer’s Monument was laid on the monument in Esplanade Park in order to acknowledge the suffering imposed on Aboriginal people during this period.
1996 City of Fremantle employs first Aboriginal Engagement Officer.
1996 Nyoongar welcome and Ceremonial opening to Fremantle Festival.
1996 The City lead a project aimed at producing a map to identify Nyoongar place names along the Swan River. The project was a joint effort between 12 local governments located along the Swan River. The map was presented to the Crown Prince of Netherlands in time for the Tri Centenary of the landing of Willem de Vlamingh in January 1997.
1997 Australia Day Celebrations in Fremantle involved a reconciliation component for the first time. Australians for Reconciliation spoke at the ceremony, and Aboriginal artists performed.
1997 Sorry Day events occurred in conjunction with the Fremantle Reconciliation Group, the City hosted several Sorry Day events, these included the Fremantle Sorry Day Ceremony and the Stolen Generations Story Circle.
1998 Began hosting the annual Wardarnji Aboriginal festival.
1998 Council not become a party to the Federal Court proceedings on the Native Title Claims 94/10, 95/81 and 95/86.
1998 Council notify the State Government as the owner of the land under claim accordingly and notify that the City of Fremantle wishes to maintain the community uses of the land under claim.
1999 City of Fremantle Statement of Commitment to Reconciliation between the People of this area.
2000 Council developed a Reconciliation Policy that included a framework for allowing relevant Indigenous groups an advisory role in the management of the vested lands that are subject to Native Title claims. The Policy and above mentioned framework should identify places in the City of Fremantle where tangible recognition of the prior ownership of the Fremantle area by Aboriginal people can take place.
2011 Cultural Development Strategy and developed an Indigenous Action Group.
2011 Traditional Owners invited to the swearing in of Council for the first time and a new protocol of a Welcome to Country at all Council swearing in ceremonies is established.
2012 Identifies possible site for an Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Arthur Head.
2012 Mayor writes to Department of Local Government in support of Designated Aboriginal position on Council.
2013 Community Consultation for Aboriginal Cultural Centre.
2014 Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre opened at Arthurs Head, and the development of a Fremantle Indigenous Employment and Reconciliation compact target of 4%.
2014 Installed Aboriginal signage at Bathers Beach, including acknowledgment of the site where 3400 Aboriginal men left for Rottnest Island prison.
2015 City of Fremantle Aboriginal Engagement Plan endorsed by Council.
2016 Statement of Significance for Fremantle developed after consultation with Traditional Owners on Cantonment Hill sacred site.
2016 Council proposes to move the date of celebrating Australia Day respecting feelings of Aboriginal people.
2017 Council supports the development of a Reconciliation Action Plan.
2017 Council supports the feasibility study for an Indigenous Cultural Centre. 2018 Supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
2019 Notes the Visioning Report for the feasibility study for an Indigenous Cultural Centre.
2019 Anzac Day Ode of Remembrance translated and recited in Noongar language by Professor Len Collard.
And now we embark our next steps. There are 109 bold and tangible actions included in the WRAP. These include:
- cultural awareness training for all City of Fremantle staff and councillors to improve understanding
- extending this training to the community
- increasing employment and business opportunities for Aboriginal people locally
- establishing a Aboriginal reference group for culturally appropriate consultation with Elders and Traditional Custodians
- promote and share Aboriginal culture locally
- investigate a Treaty with Traditional Custodians
For more information, visit https://mysay.fremantle.wa.gov.au/RAP
The WRAP is a plan for how we as a community will work together towards improving the lives and relationships with First Nations people who live in Fremantle, and Traditional Custodians for this beautiful place we all share.
This is the next step in a long and important journey that I’m really pleased to be a part of.