The renaming of Fremantle’s Kings Square to Walyalup Koort is now official following approval of the new name by the Minister for Lands.
The new name, which means ‘Heart of Fremantle’ in the local Whadjuk Nyoongar language, was selected by Fremantle Council last month following an extensive community engagement process.
Fremantle Deputy Mayor Andrew Sullivan thanked everyone who contributed their thoughts and suggestions.
“Over the past 18 months the idea renaming Kings Square was widely discussed through forums like the Whadjuk Working Party, South West Land and Sea Council and our Walyalup Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group and it was strongly supported by Fremantle’s Traditional Owners,” Cr Sullivan said.
“Of the final shortlist of options, which included retaining the name Kings Square, the name Walyalup Koort was the clear preference among Traditional Owners and the broader community.
“The current renewal of Fremantle presented a great opportunity to consider a new name for our town square, and Walyalup Koort – the Heart of Fremantle – is the perfect choice.”
Fremantle councillor Hannah Fitzhardinge, who represented the council on the Kings Square stakeholder group, said naming the square Walyalup Koort was an important step on Fremantle’s reconciliation journey.
“This decision is acknowledgement of the long history of Fremantle, from pre-colonial times through colonization and into a future of walking together for reconciliation,” Cr Fitzhardinge said.
The City of Fremantle’s Walyalup Reconciliation Action Plan, which was adopted in July 2019, includes a commitment to identify opportunities for the naming or co-naming of locations, streets and parks around Fremantle.
In February last year the council voted to initiate a community engagement process to explore the possibility of adopting a new name for Kings Square, on the basis that the new name would generate a sense of civic pride, was directly relevant to Fremantle and would withstand the test of time.
An invitation to the public to put forward their thoughts attracted 128 suggestions for a new name, which was narrowed down to a shortlist of five options by the Kings Square stakeholder group.
Following a second stage of community engagement the stakeholder group, which consisted of representatives from St John’s Church, Traditional Owners, Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, Sirona Capital, Department of Communities and the City, unanimously supported the name Walyalup Koort.
The City of Fremantle is undertaking the $270 million renewal of the city’s civic heart in partnership with Sirona Capital.
It includes the redevelopment of the old Myer and Queensgate sites to create offices for state government departments and the FOMO food, art and retail concept, the construction of the City of Fremantle’s new Walyalup Civic Centre and library and the rejuvenation of the public spaces around the square.