What’s in a name? Help us get it right | City of Fremantle

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07 October 2020
What’s in a name? Help us get it right

Momentum is building towards the completion of the City of Fremantle’s rejuvenation of the city centre, and now we are looking for feedback on the right name for our civic heart.

As part of preparations for next year’s opening of the new public facilities and features, the City is exploring the possibility of renaming the space known as ‘Kings Square’ and inviting community input.

A public engagement process began this week seeking feedback on the current name, Whadjuk Nyoongar names already put forward and additional suggestions.

“Following consultation with Traditional Owners, Council considered options for renaming the public space of Kings Square to a Whadjuk Nyoongar name,” Mayor Brad Pettitt said.

“This was in the spirit of our Walyalup Reconciliation Action Plan (WRAP) and the state-wide Aboriginal Place Name Initiative to preserve and reawaken local Aboriginal languages through place naming.”

Cr Hannah Fitzhardinge led the decision to extend the engagement process for the space and be open to suggestions, including non-Whadjuk Nyoongar names, to encourage a really thorough and mature conversation.

“Ultimately, this will be a community space, a fantastic place to gather, shop and play or simply sit and relax amid the greenery in the heart of our city. We want to make sure the name is one that reflects the views of our community,” Cr Fitzhardinge said.

The engagement process will be in two stages, with the first seeking suggestions for names and stage two providing an opportunity for comment on a shortlist of names proposed.

A stakeholder group representing local business, cultural, church and community interests will help to guide the process and review suggestions before providing a recommendation to Council.

At its meeting in February, Council decided that the name should:

  • generate a sense of civic pride
  • be directly relevant to Fremantle; and
  • endure, be able to withstand the test of time.

Community contributions should explain how they relate to these parameters.

To have your say, simply visit the My Say Freo website or complete an idea card available at locations across the City.

You can find more detailed information in the information pack, or by contacting 1300 MYFREO (1300 693 736).

Changes over time

  • Kings Square was marked in its current location on the official 1833 version of the town plan for the colonial settlement of Fremantle, prepared by Surveyor-General John Septimus Roe.
  • Illustrations and accounts from around this time show Fremantle was still largely undeveloped.
  • The space has undergone continual change over many decades, including road names, the building of two Anglican Churches and the Town Hall, shops and other commercial buildings on the southern triangular half. The space was briefly renamed St Johns Square (after the church) in the 1980s but the name Kings Square was reinstated in 1990.
  • The Whadjuk Nyoongar name for the Fremantle area is Walyalup and to the local Whadjuk people, Fremantle is a place of ceremonies, significant cultural practices and trading.