LETTERS 10.6.17

Last week’s front page was a hotly debated topic in Fremantle, including this letter from prominent historian John Dowson, who’s also president of the Fremantle Society.

History war erupts
Letter from JOHN DOWSON:
LAST week’s front page (“Sacred: Noongars want Round House,” Herald June 3, 2017) contained wild and outrageous historical claims by the chairman of the Rottnest Island’s Death Group Aboriginal Corporation, Iva Hayward-Jackson, and I am surprised the Herald gave them such prominence.
For example, to say that Arthur Head is akin to Auschwitz in terms of Aboriginal suffering is a shameful comparison.
The Round House was used to temporarily house Aboriginals on their way to Rottnest, where they were often checked by a doctor before being sent.
There was no systematic mass murder of Aboriginal people there.
In fact being sent to Rottnest and the freedom of movement it gave was a humane alternative to being locked up at the large Fremantle Prison in tiny cells, and being made to work on chain gangs building roads, as white prisoners had to do.
For almost 100 years Rottnest was used as a prison for Aborigines, latterly (1903-1931) for low risk prisoners doing work such as maintenance on holiday cottages.
Altogether 3670 Aborigines were sent, and 365 are buried there, giving an average death rate of under 4 a year.
Many of those deaths were from flu and Aborigines sharing blankets.
There is no doubt Aboriginal people could have been better understood and treated, but often, justice in early times was brutal for all.
Three nine year-old Fremantle boys were arrested c1880 for stealing grapes and locked up overnight before appearing in front of a magistrate. One of them was marched to the Round House and birched six times while strapped to a plank.
I am not writing this letter as president of the Fremantle Society, but as a teacher and writer of history for over 40 years.
I have seen the damage already done by revisionist history teaching, making many young Australians feel guilty about their past, when in fact there is much to be proud of.
History should be presented warts and all, but it should be the truth.
John Dowson
Mouat Street, Fremantle

Playing the victim
YOUR headline regarding the Noongar’s desire to control Arthur Head and to place it together with Rottnest, on a par with Auschwitz or Anzac Cove is yet another example of the political nature of indigenous heritage (‘“Sacred”’, Herald, June 3, 2017).
These outrageous statements serve no purpose except to perpetuate the constant notion of victimhood espoused by leaders within the Aboriginal community whilst alienating the rest of society.
Whilst I recognise Bella Bropho works with the homeless and unwanted who live at Heirisson Island, it begs the question as to why these people have reached the parlous state in which they exist.
Contrary to indigenous belief, the white community has provided many resources in health, education and welfare to assist Aboriginals to function within the white world, much of this has been denigrated and thrown back in the taxpayer’s face as being, paternalist, colonialist, and not in tune with their culture.
The push by the well-educated leaders of ‘First Nation’ appear to desire a system of reverse apartheid where those that bother to educate themselves in order to better their lives provide for those who feel they do not have to contribute to this country.
What are we to do?
There is definitely no easy solution, but this constant denigration of European settlement, the placement of eighteenth and nineteenth century thinking on colonisation and treatment of indigenous races within a 21st century context does little to help.
Perhaps if the chip on many indigenous people’s shoulder was eased there would be more respect all around, we cannot change what happened in the past, but it within the indigenous population’s grasp to change the future through education and absorption of some of the better social aspects of white culture.
Geoff Dunstone
Carrington St, Palmyra

Jab in the arm
THE Herald article last week covering the Sunday, May 28 rally at the Esplanade in Fremantle, opposing the WA government’s support for the implementation of the No Jab No Play policy that will require all children to be “fully” vaccinated in order to attend government childcare or preschool centres was welcomed (‘Coercion a vaxxed question for rally’, Herald, June 3, 2017).
The current schedule has expanded to 16 vaccines over the last two decades and more vaccines can be added by the government at any time.
Seriously are we all walking around with blinkers on?
This is medical tyranny!
The Swedish government has recently stated it will not adopt coercive or mandatory vaccination policies for its citizens because of serious health risks from vaccines.
Where there is a risk there should be a choice.
Unless we take a stand now and take those blinkers off there will soon be No Jab No Play, No Jab No Job, No Jab No Pension.
Marie Zuidwind
High Street, Fremantle

Prickly topic
THANK you for your article on the medical freedom of choice rally that I helped organise on May 28 at the Freo esplanade (‘Coercion a vaxxed question for rally’, Herald, June 3, 2017).
Your article mentions Dr Judy Wilyman’s concerns for an independent scientific analysis.
I think this is worthy of investigation seeing a vaccine has never been tested against a true placebo.
How can we have a baseline of efficacy and safety without this crucial information.
A sophisticated democracy should be able to discuss this topic without abuse and misrepresentation.
My concerns are justified on several different levels.
Deni-Sue Huxtable
Stevens St,
White Gum Valley

Boozy Bicton
IS alcohol our priority in Bicton?
It seems the supermarkets think so.
Apparently Coles Bicton is planning on refurbishment and I am fearful that this will include yet another liquor outlet.
We already have the largest Dan Murphy’s in the southern hemisphere across the car park from Coles and half a kilometre down the hill , First Choice.
Not to mention, the other five outlets within a 2.4-kilometre radius. Bicton has a pleasant community shopping centre.
However, it seems a small variety of popular shops are leaving.
This is a real loss to the community.
The future looks bleak.
Robyn Patience
Foss St, Bicton

It’s a dog
SOUTH Fremantle non dog beach (“Dog beach stoush,” Herald, June 3, 2017).
The signage regarding the non-dog areas is not strategic; that is, there are no actual signs on the grassed areas and what are there are (around the edges) are ambiguous. Apparently no fines have been issued to those who ignore the signs—only ‘warnings’. Dog owners often smile indulgently as their dogs sniff your food, your clothing and your children.
Would those dog owners appreciate humans approaching and sniffing their food, clothing and children?
[Fremantle] council services manager Mark Donnelly furthers this ambiguity by his statement, ‘…in the last six months there had been an increase in people letting their dogs off the leash in prohibited zones at the foreshore’.
This could be interpreted that dogs are okay in the non-dog areas provided the dogs are on the leash.
He also said; “Owners are encouraged to watch their dogs at all times and take note of designated dog areas”.
This should read, “…take note of designated non-dog areas”.
There area many open dog exercise areas in Fremantle.
Surely it is not too much to ask that the only non-dog beach be respected.
Mattie Turnbull
Daly Street, South Fremantle

Taxing times
TELL Landgate the boom is over Landgate sets the GRV (gross rental values) for WA.
It is supposedly reviewed triennially for the metro area and every three to five years for country areas.
Perth metro was last reviewed August 1, 2012.
Perth’s economic bonanza from the mining boom is over.
Landgate is two years late in a review, placing undue stress on struggling households.
Land tax, water rates, EMS (emergency services levy) and council rates are all calculated from the GRV valuation.
No doubt the lateness in the review is due to the impact it would have on the state coffers from the current rental market in Perth.
Local governments set the minimum rate for properties inside their boundaries.
In effect the smallest properties carry a disproportionately large share of the rates load.
M Whitworth
Caribbean Drive, Safety Bay

Freo not Mosman Park, old chap
HERE’S a visitor’s sad view of Fremantle.
Got an expensive lesson this week on a visit to dear old beloved shabby scruffy half-abandoned Freo.
It’s become an awful stale dump since Jerry Dolan tried to ram algebra into my brain at Fremantle Boys High School in 1954.
In those days the city throbbed with shops like Pellews, Charlie Carters, Freecorns and Watsons Butchers often with queues of customers and workers.
This week I strolled past a few sad people and a lot of empty shops to give the local retail economy a little $200 boost…groceries, a windcheater and might have gone to Culleys for old time’s sake…(but I sometimes forget things).
Copped a $50 parking ticket outside the Wool Stores.
Drove around tangles of roadworks and blocked streets to find a spot close to Town Hall and went in to pay up for my sins.
Cash and credit card in my hand.
(On the way in, I was a bit surprised to see what looked like a meat pie with lots of gravy squashed on the big glass doors of the Town Hall).
Placed the parking ticket on the counter.
“Would you like to pay this?”
Not really, I wouldn’t LIKE to pay, but I HAVE to pay it.”
“Actually, you can’t pay this…the computer hasn’t told us it’s been issued.
You could come back—or pay it on line?”
But I got the ticket only 30 minutes ago. How about a discount for being an early payer?
Before I leave—it looks as if a pie has been thrown at your doors.
“Yeah. I saw that.”
(This stunned me)
Then how about cleaning it off?
Or, if you have a cloth, give that to me and I’ll clean it off.
I’m the sort of idiot to who picks up rubbish in the street and drops it in a bin.
“I’ve put in a request for somebody to clean it.”
Welcome to Fremantle.
George Williams
Doyle Street, Mosman Park

Bropho barney
WHAT a load of garbage (‘“Sacred”’, Herald, June 3, 2017).
What else do they want?
How about Fremantle itself, pretty much a useless place these days.
Why not give it back to ‘em along with the ownership of your left-wing rag.
The Bropho name of Goomalling is back in the press again…..boring…..!
Just what has this name got to do with Fremantle and how would Bella of Goomalling heritage know the Round House is a sacred site unless she just decided to invent it as such?
Another Holy Serpent lurks no doubt.
Bah humbug.
Bricknell Road, Attadale

Right is right
MY brief letter on the Marxist-inspired diatribe of Jasmine Kaslauskas clearly upset the comfortable leftist ideology of two Beaconsfield correspondents, A. Zeck and Jim Meckelburg.
I recommend that A. Zeck stop reading Henry Reynolds immediately, and instead read the better-balanced and factually-accurate Keith Windschuttle. And Jim Meckelburg—cool down your anger at a challenge to your obvious personal bias.
You cite one dictionary:  a consensus of numerous dictionaries, both old and newer, is that “indigenous” is synonymous with “native”, as in “born” in a country/place.
You have one correct fact in your letter: the British carried arms on their ships.
It’s called technology, Jim, and they were the Navy, after all.
But, what took place here was not military invasion—far from it.
Again, I recommend a corrective reading of Windschuttle.
As to your claim that Aboriginal people were “excluded” from citizenship until fifty years ago, how does that sit with the fact that Aboriginal people were voting in Australia well before federation?
Pauline Farley
Studley Rd, Attadale

WHILE it is acknowledged that the City of Fremantle is doing a lot of good for the Noongar community, I was very disappointed to read the front page story which claims Aboriginal elders want the Round House, regarding it as their ‘Anzac cove, or Auschwitz. (‘“Sacred’”, Herald, June 3, 2017).
Let me say this, “as soon as people use the Nazi argument they lose the debate. That’s not reconciliation pal”.
I’m pro-Noongar and I think the Noongar community should be more concerned about the anglicising of Perth in general, especially local places such as Point Walter, a far more important area to the local indigenous people which has not one scrap of Aboriginal recognition.
Point Walter has strange meaningless statues stuck on the lawn above that bear no hint to the rich history of the area.
Robert Middleton
Pilbarra St, White Gum Valley

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