NOONGAR elders who want indigenous recognition as part of the Victoria Quay redevelopment say they are still waiting for the state government to literally put them on the map.
In 2009 anthropologists, elders and representatives from Fremantle Port workshopped a plan for an interactive “pre-contact” map at the quay, showcasing traditional Aboriginal sites and the historical topography of the area.
This year plans were unveiled for the redevelopment of the port, but they do not include any mention of the map.
Local anthropologists Ken Macintyre and Barb Dodson attended the workshops and in their report stated that “all elders unanimously agreed that a map of pre-contact indigenous Fremantle would be the best way of highlighting to the wider population that Fremantle was a thriving indigenous community prior to white settlement and that its cultural significance continues to this day.
“They believed that the creation of such a map would not only be of great interest to tourists visiting the area but would provide an educational experience for all members of the wider community, indigenous and non-indigenous.”
A Fremantle Ports spokesperson says they “remain very interested in the concept of Nyungar map” and would “like to see the concept of the map further developed at the appropriate time with a view to including this as an interpretative element.”
Dr Dodson says many of the Aboriginal elders who were involved in the map project have since passed away, and sadly never got to see the fruits of their labor.
Vanessa Corunna, a traditional land owner and descendant of historical Noongar leaders Yagan and Midgegooroo, was involved in planning the map.
She says it’s frustrating when local businesses and governments don’t follow through with promises for Aboriginal projects.
by EMILEE NEESON