LETTERS 9.12.17

Veteran backlash
I REFER to your article in the latest edition of the Fremantle Herald (“RSL to leave Freo?”, December 2, 2017).
Freo council, why are you turning your back on the Returned and Services League of Australia, City of Fremantle Sub-branch in their time of need?
Have you completely forgotten the men and women of World War I and World War II, those of Korea, Malaya and Vietnam—they did not turn their back on Fremantle or our great nation of Australia when the nation was in time of need.  They gave their services and in some cases their lives either voluntary or in some cases by conscription.
It is obvious that most people sitting on the council were not around in the hard times, and possibly not effected by the wars and conflicts of those early years.  But you should realise that it has not stopped there for now it continues in  Iraq and Afghanistan, where Australians are servicing and some paying the supreme sacrifice.
At no time has the RSL of Australia turned its back on Fremantle—a classic example of support was in 2004 when mayor Peter Tagliaferri asked me to help in the resurrection of the Anzac Day Parade in Fremantle.
This I did voluntarily and willingly and it was being supported by the RSL of WA; we brought the Anzac Day Parade back to Fremantle after a 40-year absence.
At that time it was supported by the RSL state president and members of the RSL Fremantle and the RSL City of Cockburn—I was a deputy warden for the Fremantle war memorial, as well as the parade chief marshal—Did we turn our back on Fremantle? No!
I now call on the mayor and councillors of the City of Fremantle to do everything in their power to support the veterans of Fremantle, and to assist them in finding suitable premises for their RSL sub-branch.
Show your appreciation for their past service to Fremantle and to our nation, they in turn will show their appreciation to the city, as they have done in the past.  Please do not let our city become one that concentrates solely on the arts and crafts, and do not forget or dismiss  the historic value of our RSL veterans
“Lest we forget”.
Arthur J Stanton
RSL of Australia Life Member
McMahon Way, Samson

Military coup
I READ with disappointment and regret of the impending demise of the Fremantle sub branch of the RSL (“RSL to leave Freo?”, Herald, December 2, 2017)
That the City of Fremantle has so little regard for its own rich military history and heritage that it cannot find a home for this organisation that is fighting to overcome a decade of lost credibility and relevance to the veteran community and move forward in a positive new direction is a sad refection of their attitude to all Anzacs.
Whilst “flag pole” patriots abound, these veterans, one of who is a New Zealand Vietnam veteran, work assiduously to assist younger veterans, their partners and dependants as well as our state’s ageing veteran community, many of whom fall through the gaps in DVA legislation.
There is a certain bitter irony in the fact that “amalgamation” with the Cockburn RSL is being considered as an option when a former premier proposed a carve up of Cockburn and choice bits going to the dysfunctional cities of Fremantle, Melville and Kwinana.
Also the failure of the former and current state government to negotiate for 50 per cent of the Leeuwin Army Barracks that could have secured a home in perpetuity for the City of Fremantle RSL sub branch.
These old warriors live on a day-to-day basis with our national Anzac motto “Lest We Forget” and seek to have it retained in the national conscience.
Obviously, it is not all that frequently remembered by the City of Fremantle but I can say with pride and confidence, decidedly more so in the City of Cockburn
Kevin Bovill,
Anzac veteran
Noble Way, Success

Refugee?
DEAR John McClane, your letter of December 2 to the Herald, seems to favour the word “reffos” over “refugees”, which is a pity as it diminishes your status as, perhaps, a caring person.
However, you do make a point that the statement by “another bleeding heart article” is rather obvious, however the reason for it seems to have eluded you. Refugees in Manus and the new centre can cause conflict with the locals because these centres are principally imposed on locals by our Australian government, which has shirked its responsibility in resettling refugees originally intending to settle in Australia.
Your statement that “flooding [Australia] with [refugees] is a big change for our society too” is worth considering: you mention “60 to 70” refugees—not exactly a flood, surely?
In 1788 England flooded the country with rejects and refugees from Britain; as a consequence of other conflicts we have seen floods of Greeks, Italians and other displaced European nationalities, as well as Asians.
In each case those refugees, and their descendants, have made significant contributions to the Australian way of life.
Imagine if you can Australia with only Aboriginals in it—they would of course be delighted, but then where would you and I be?
Think about it.
Jim Meckelburg
Davies St, Beaconsfield

We wish you a boozy Xmas
COUNCIL recently sent out a letter to South Fremantle residents regarding the Candlelight Carols event at South Beach on Sunday, December 17, and advising that the event would feature, amongst others, The Australian Girls’ Choir, pop-up performances from Santa and his elves and The Bush Fairies.
A kids orientated family affair I would presume.
So why the “small licensed area”?
If my memory is correct, the wise men brought gold, frankincense and myrrh not Glenmorangie, Frangelico and Mead.
Is serving alcohol really necessary at a family carol singing event—especially when there’s a perfectly good pub so close by?
Ian Scott
Walker Street,
South Fremantle  

Save Manus refugees
RECENTLY, two prominent people have visited Manus Island and reported on the deplorable treatment of the detainees there; Tim Costello, the chief advocate of World Vision Australia and Shen Narayanasamy, a lawyer and asylum seeker advocate.
Their pleas to the government were palpable and persuasive.
We need to call on all sides of government to put an end to the suffering of these incarcerated men, we can’t treat human beings like this!
It was gratifying to see Fremantle MP Josh Wilson supporting the Iranian refugee Mehdi and the Herald’s article (“Refugee fears”, November 25, 2017).
The government needs to respond to the medical voices that warn of the dangers of allowing medical conditions to go untreated.
Accommodation needs to be adequate and safe.
Decisions need to be made for re-settlement.
Your readers surely see that we must keep the pressure on our MP’s to obtain immediate and humane outcomes.
Bev Hollyock
Blinco Street, Fremantle

Life in the slow lane
SPEEDBUMPS.
Not only are they annoying and arguably, ineffective, they are also a danger to motorcyclists.
In Swanbourne Street they are so poorly maintained that there are uneven ridges and gaps on them that a wheel could slip and skid on causing the rider to lose control and fall off.
And falling off a bike pretty much assures injury and sometimes death.
You may say that it’s easy to go around them on a motorbike, but that is not always possible with oncoming traffic and it kind of defeats the purpose.
Come on council, get rid of these dangerous, ineffective, ugly and annoying bumps.
Helene Markmann
Sewell Street, Fremantle

Living heritage
THE Herald article “Mr Fremantle says goodbye”, presents a very limited observation of Fremantle’s heritage.
This heritage is not ‘saved’ by any single individual.
The city’s heritage is contained in the history of the people who worked, constructed, relaxed, lived and settled families here, providing for the whole population—the married, the singles, the young and the old.
In the beginning it had merchants and their warehouses mostly located in the west end.
As trade expanded with the opening of the harbour in the swan river, a process of industrial activity developed.
A workforce of casual labour increased to load and unload cargo from the ships. They were called the Fremantle Lumpers, being employed for one or more shifts.
In time these workers became organised into a union.
They developed demands for adequate wages to be able to fulfil the needs of daily living and improve the safety standards on the job.
At its peak it had a membership of over 2,000.
In 1919 a pitched battle took place between the union and the state government which attempted to bring non Union labour into the wharf.
One man, Tom Edwards, was killed while protecting their union leader from a police assault.  The premier of the day was removed after one month in that position.  The outcome was that non union labour was not attempted again until 1978, after which live animal export proceeded.
Other industrial activity included wharf and jetty construction and maintenance.  The workers formed the Coastal Dock River and Harbour workers union.  This union had branches in Wyndham in the north to Esperance in the south, and all ports in between, with a membership of over 2,000.
By the early 1970’s, problems within cities and how they functioned became a cause of concern and had to be dealt with.  These realities led to the formation of the Fremantle Society to involve people locally in the resolution of these difficulties.  Les Lauder was a prime mover in this organisational development.  Another early member of this organisation was Paddy Troy.
The Whitlam Government elected in December 1972 had major policy in relationship to regional development and supporting systems for city development. The City of Fremantle was in many respects a front runner in taking up the opportunities that unfolded with these policies.
Welfare programmes were developed by the City, extending its child care and aged care facilities. The Stan Reilly Lodge that emerged from this period was one of Australia’s most advanced aged care facilities.
Funds were made available for the restoration of some key public buildings, notably the building that is now the home of the Fremantle Arts Centre and the old Maritime Museum.  The programme for the maintenance of heritage buildings around Australia led to the formation of a national body.
The main initiative had emerged from the Department for Urban and Regional Development.  The leader of this programme was Professor Patrick Troy, the son of Paddy Troy, who when asked to nominate a person of sensitivity and repute, Les Lauder’s name was put forward by Paddy, a well known and respected communist.
There is no need to save Fremantle’s Heritage. Those that “once sneered at (Fremantle) as the home of wharfies, communists and prostitutes” reveal their hostility to the positive and powerful impact of the organisations of labour whose contribution to the charm and development of our city is considerable.
Dr John Troy
Pass Crescent, Beaconsfield

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