Midgegooroo makes it to square round 2

Fremantle Chamber of Commerce CEO Danicia Quinlan, councillor Hannah Fitzhardinge and Fr Patrick King from St John’ Church in Kings Square, which may end up with a whole new name – or maybe just a Noongar prefix. Photo by Steve Grant.

MIDGEGOOROO has made it through to the shortlist for the possible renaming of Kings Square in Fremantle, but non-Indigenous folk have been all-but ruled out by the state’s lands department as adequately commemorated elsewhere.

Fremantle council released its shortlist this week after receiving 194 submissions during the first stage of consultation, which threw up 128 potential new names – The Peaceful Plaza of Knowledge one of a swag cut down at the first hurdle.

Retaining its original name still remains an option, having been favoured in 66 submissions, while adding a dual name or a Noongar suffix such as Koort (meaning “heart”) was also popular with the council’s stakeholder group.

Councillor Hannah Fitzhardinge was on the group and said the names were assessed against three criteria set by the council and given to Landgate for comment before coming back to the group for a final look.

The names had to be relevant to Fremantle, create a sense of civic pride and be enduring (Dockers Square was judged to have failed the pride and endurance tests, while there was a question mark against its relevance to Fremantle – ouch).

“The issue of acknowledging Fremantle’s Italian heritage also came up through the process, so we’ve included an option to use Piazza rather than Square to refer to the place,” Cr Fitzhardinge said.

“While it might not work out for the square, it pointed to an opportunity to address the fact we have not done a good enough job of recognising our Italian heritage, so it could be something like naming the piazza behind Gino’s on the Cappuccino Strip or the Italian Club redevelopment.”

Fire vessel

Cr Fitzhardinge said another suggestion had been to choose a name reflecting the artwork by Sharyn Egan and Simon Gilby which will grace the redeveloped square; their 14 standing stones and ceremonial fire vessel interpreted as Boya Karla Koort (Rock Fire Heart).

Cr Fitzhardinge said now the names had been whittled down, she’d successfully moved a motion at the council’s last finance and policy committee to have the stakeholder group’s terms of reference updated so it would take on a bigger role in determining how the space could be used to make it more “vibrant and engaging”.

Fremantle Chamber of Commerce CEO Danicia Quinlan wasn’t too worried about a lag in local sales caused by the disappearance of the name Kings Square, saying the site was already “in a fluid state”.

But creating a central gathering place was an important development for the city.

“The effort that gone in to reflect the old and the new is incredibly important and to be involved in the renaming opportunity, for business, helps create a sense of belonging that is very, very important,” Ms Quinlan said.

St John’s Church owns half the square, and rector Patrick King said they were very happy with how the renaming process was unfolding.

“From my perspective and the church’s perspective, in 1981 St John’s went from being under the banner of the Church of England in Australia to the Anglican Church of Australia, and that was an important conversation to have in terms of the individuation of the place,” Fr Patrick said.

“I would frame these conversation in the same light we had the conversations back then; that names do matter.”

The shortlist, along with the longer list and reasons for discarding outliers such as Congruent Square, are up at mysay.fremantle. wa.gov.au. The council’s media office said this phase of consultation would run until mid-April, but could be extended if necessary.

Next week: The incrKings Squaredible adventures of Marion Bell, who didn’e, but might have something named after her elsewhert make the cut fore.

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