Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Fremantle embraces new Truth Telling program

City of Fremantle Council has announced details of its new Truth Telling program, which will begin with a free public event next month.

The launch event will be held at the Whadjuk Nyoongar traditional gathering place of Manjaree | Bathers Beach on Sunday 24 March and promises to be a moving occasion for everyone, said Fremantle Mayor, Hannah Fitzhardinge.

“After the Voice referendum, we had a period of reflection and consultation with our WRAP working group and the group determined that we should shift our focus to another part of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which is Truth and truth-telling,” the Mayor said.

“Through this Truth Telling program, we are giving everyone the opportunity to understand and acknowledge the truth about our past so that we can walk together towards a better future.”

Walyalup Reconciliation Action Plan (WRAP) working group member and local artist, Sharyn Egan said the Truth Telling program will increase awareness in the community.

“It’s about the history of the place. The connection to the Prison, the Roundhouse. A lot of people don’t know about that,” Ms Egan said.

“It’s a long time coming. Not mentioning the past, hiding the past, even denying the past. It’s just time.

“It would give us a sense of belonging, sharing our stories with everybody, not just Nyoongar people.”

The Council is partnering with the Centre for Stories, to create a community program culminating in Backyard Truth Telling events across Fremantle, in which its hoped hundreds of people will have the opportunity to participate.

The Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre showcases local Aboriginal art, culture and history through various exhibitions, workshops, film screenings and tours, themed to the six Nyoongar seasons throughout the year. As the Centre approaches its 10th anniversary in May, its programming will focus on creating immersive Truth Telling experiences, while inviting people to explore the Centre, perhaps for the first time, Council said in a statement.

“Another initiative takes participants on an augmented reality journey through the city via a mobile phone application. BoodjAR creates 3D versions of Aboriginal artworks and places them in six locations around Fremantle. Developed by the team at Voyant AR, it is a legacy project from the 10 Nights in Port festival.”

Through the Fremantle Library, the Council will also expand on its Aboriginal collection, known as the Bibool Bang-ga collection, which is made up of books about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, history, art, life, people, and places.

“All the fiction titles in the collection are written by people of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. There are more than 700 books, movies, documentaries, and audio books in the collection,” Council said.

Fremantle will also host the Western Australian premiere of a series of films by award-winning writer, director and producer, Tom Murray, whose films will explore the history of colonialism, Indigenous culture and intercultural story telling.

Director of Creative Arts and Community, Pete Stone said the program evolved organically.

“We have drawn on the resources we have within the City of Fremantle and also collaborated with external organisations and community members to develop this year’s program.”

“This is a program designed for mass participation, even if people only do one thing in the whole program, it’s been worthwhile. Opening people’s minds to the cultural history that exists in Walyalup | Fremantle by recognising and understanding First Nations people’s connection to country and contribution to Fremantle’s development.

“There will be something for everyone, from painting and weaving workshops for children to morning teas and yarning sessions for seniors. At the launch event on the beach, the smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country will be a bridge between One Day in Fremantle and our new Truth Telling program, and everyone is invited to come along and join us,” Mr Stone said.

More details of the program will be announced at the opening event on Sunday 24 March.

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