More than a pint-sized park

Princess May Park could become Freo’s ‘Central Park’ with a new Indigenous name. Photo by Steve Grant.

PRINCESS May Park could become a thriving “Central Park” for Fremantle, providing a safe green space for inner-city residents and more events for the community.

The plan was first floated at Wednesday’s council meeting by Clancy’s Fish Pub co-founder Joe Fisher and his nephew Tom, who manages the iconic pub.

They’d also like the park to get an Indigenous name, given it namesake Princess Mary of Teck (she was said to be called May after the month of her birth) only briefly visited Fremantle in 1901 before becoming the consort of King George V in 1910.

“Since my uncles became publicans at Clancy’s Tavern in 1988 we kind of feel we are already unofficial custodians of Princess May Park,” the younger Fisher told councillors.

He said Clancy’s had run events for years, from “dog shows to log chops … but the potential for a beautiful City of Fremantle events base is definitely a huge untapped potential”.

They’d like to see the area directly behind the pub, where kids’ bums have worn the Rottnest tea-trees smooth over the years, turned into a nature playground and the trees that surround the park lit up at night.

Mr Fisher later told the Herald that would help to make the park a safer space at night: “It’s pretty hairy at times,” he said.

Clancy’s shares the park with the Fremantle Education Centre (which was given the original Princess May moniker as a state girls school and now has 1800 students through each week) and DADAA, and Mr Fisher told the council they were keen to make the park safer.

“We see beautification and population of this area as the best and most Freo method to address this, rather than over-policing,” he said.

Mr Fisher said with a spike in liquor license approvals over the last few years “we feel like we need to show some growth as a very long-standing family pub”.

“But also we see it as an opportunity to be a wonderful recreation Central Park-style opportunity for our clients, neighbouring business, existing and proposed residential expansion in our end of town.”

His uncle said the family was keen to work with the council on a fully developed plan.

“This is a historical and central green space for the eastern part of the city and an important gateway statement for people walking into the city from the east,” Mr Fisher told councillors.


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