A WALKWAY to celebrate the 63-year reign of Elizabeth II as head of the Commonwealth is being seriously considered by Fremantle council.
If approved, the $10,000 Commonwealth Walkway will include up to 20 interactive markers displaying the EIIR (Elizabeth II Regina) cypher.
The project hasn’t been formally approved at this stage, but the council has voted for it to be considered in more detail.
Crs Jeff McDonald and Rachel Pemberton are so far the only elected members to express opposition.
“As we try and move towards reconciliation and becoming a republic I’m rather uncomfortable with the Queen’s cypher being across the city,” Cr Pemberton says.
“Aside from that, there wasn’t enough detail on how much the installation could cost, what indigenous content would feature and where the markers would be positioned.”
According to a council staffer’s report, the walkway is about “celebrating the Queen as head of the Commonwealth for over 63 years” and constructing a route that highlights the values of the realm.
The notion’s as popular with republicans as a Prince Philip knighthood.
“In the 21st century, when we are trying to cement our own national identity, it would be more appropriate to use symbols and emblems that reflect our own unique past, than the cypher of a royal family who live in a castle far far, away on the other side of the world,” says Australian Republican Movement national director Tim Mayfield.
“This comes on the back of your [state] government naming the Elizabeth Quay—what’s going on over there?” he asks the Herald.
Good question, except Fremantle council isn’t a bastion of Liberal bluebloods — but overflowing with Greens, Laborites and even a card-carrying Socialist.
The walkway has been requested by the UK charity The Outdoor Trust, which aims to install 100 across the Commonwealth over the next four years, modelled on the popular Jubilee walkway in London. “Markers” interface with smartphones to provide text, photos and video.
Perth city council signed off on its walkway in March last year and aims to install its first markers in April.
Glasgow, Wellington and the Falklands Islands are amongst the 11 destinations to have committed to the project so far.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK