What's in a name? Exploring the idea of renaming Kings Square

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The historic heart of Fremantle is being transformed into a vibrant city centre with a host of fantastic new public facilities and features. As part of our preparations for the opening, we’re exploring the possibility of renaming the space known as ‘Kings Square’ in the Fremantle city centre.


Following an open call-out for additional name suggestions in late 2020, everyone is invited to explore and consider a shortlist of names. Council is keen to engage broadly with the community on the possibilities before finalising a position - maintaining the current name, renaming or dual naming Fremantle’s main public square.


What we’ve heard so far (at a glance)

  • In stage one of engagement (October 2020) we received 194 submissions, expressing a total of 241 ideas. This included 128 new names (both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal names), 5 dual naming suggestions, various suffixes and 108 general comments about keeping the current name or renaming.
  • These were assessed against the naming criteria adopted by Council (generates a sense of civic pride, directly relevant to Fremantle, enduring), provided to Landgate for preliminary comments and presented to a special Kings Square stakeholder group for this project.
  • Some names were not suitable and did not progress. The engagement report and names assessment are available in the document library.
  • The process reaffirmed names already put forward and resulted in a new dual naming option and several suffixes to be considered.

In November 2020, Fremantle Council gave ‘in principle’ support to a new public artwork in Kings Square that interprets both WA’s Nyoongar culture and Fremantle’s colonial past. The interpretive concept integrates the location of the original St John’s Church and includes a ring of 14 large stones representing WA’s 14 Nyoongar clans from Geraldton to Esperance. The stones will be sought from traditional owners from each of the clans, and with their consent, transported to Fremantle for final installation. View a video about this artwork here or via the video library on this project page.

The Kings Square name stakeholder group explored the unique opportunity of integrating this artwork into the naming discussion, resulting in a third theme and name for you to consider.


Join the conversation

The existing name (Kings Square) and shortlisted names fall into three broad themes:

  1. Monarchs and leaders (people) - Kings Square; Midgegooroo Square
  2. Fremantle / heart of (place) - Walyalup Koort (or Walyalup Karlup)
  3. Inspired by future artwork (destination) - Boya Karla (or Boya Karla Koort)

Dual naming is also an option - using a Whadjuk Nyoongar name and Kings Square.


This is a big decision so we encourage you to explore the information behind the space before sharing your thoughts. Comment below (on as many names as you like) by Sunday 18 April 2021.

You can also host your own discussion using our discussion pack - download a copy, host a discussion and submit your discussion notes online.


The historic heart of Fremantle is being transformed into a vibrant city centre with a host of fantastic new public facilities and features. As part of our preparations for the opening, we’re exploring the possibility of renaming the space known as ‘Kings Square’ in the Fremantle city centre.


Following an open call-out for additional name suggestions in late 2020, everyone is invited to explore and consider a shortlist of names. Council is keen to engage broadly with the community on the possibilities before finalising a position - maintaining the current name, renaming or dual naming Fremantle’s main public square.


What we’ve heard so far (at a glance)

  • In stage one of engagement (October 2020) we received 194 submissions, expressing a total of 241 ideas. This included 128 new names (both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal names), 5 dual naming suggestions, various suffixes and 108 general comments about keeping the current name or renaming.
  • These were assessed against the naming criteria adopted by Council (generates a sense of civic pride, directly relevant to Fremantle, enduring), provided to Landgate for preliminary comments and presented to a special Kings Square stakeholder group for this project.
  • Some names were not suitable and did not progress. The engagement report and names assessment are available in the document library.
  • The process reaffirmed names already put forward and resulted in a new dual naming option and several suffixes to be considered.

In November 2020, Fremantle Council gave ‘in principle’ support to a new public artwork in Kings Square that interprets both WA’s Nyoongar culture and Fremantle’s colonial past. The interpretive concept integrates the location of the original St John’s Church and includes a ring of 14 large stones representing WA’s 14 Nyoongar clans from Geraldton to Esperance. The stones will be sought from traditional owners from each of the clans, and with their consent, transported to Fremantle for final installation. View a video about this artwork here or via the video library on this project page.

The Kings Square name stakeholder group explored the unique opportunity of integrating this artwork into the naming discussion, resulting in a third theme and name for you to consider.


Join the conversation

The existing name (Kings Square) and shortlisted names fall into three broad themes:

  1. Monarchs and leaders (people) - Kings Square; Midgegooroo Square
  2. Fremantle / heart of (place) - Walyalup Koort (or Walyalup Karlup)
  3. Inspired by future artwork (destination) - Boya Karla (or Boya Karla Koort)

Dual naming is also an option - using a Whadjuk Nyoongar name and Kings Square.


This is a big decision so we encourage you to explore the information behind the space before sharing your thoughts. Comment below (on as many names as you like) by Sunday 18 April 2021.

You can also host your own discussion using our discussion pack - download a copy, host a discussion and submit your discussion notes online.


  • Kings Square

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    15 Mar 2021
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    Kings Square was shown in its present location in Surveyor General Roe’s 1833 town plan for Fremantle. The name refers to King William IV of England who was monarch at the time (he reigned from 1830-37). William, Adelaide and Queen Streets surrounding Kings Square also reference King William and his wife Queen Adelaide. The name demonstrates how the new arrivals wanted to maintain ties with their homeland and remain part of the British Empire. This link to the ‘mother country’ was used as a way to attract settlers and investors to the Swan River Settlement. The name Kings Square has remained unchanged since the 1833 town plan, except for a brief period as St John’s Square in the 1980s. [Image: Section of 1833 plan for Fremantle]

    What do you think about the name Kings Square? Tell us below...

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  • Dual naming (with Kings Square)

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    15 Mar 2021
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    Dual naming is acceptable under the WA naming guidelines. Landgate describe this approach as officially recognising geographical features or places by two distinct names - the requirement is for the Aboriginal name to appear first with the non-Aboriginal name occurring second, separated with a solidus (/) - for example [Whadjuk name] / Kings Square.


    What do you think about the idea of dual naming (adding a name and retaining Kings Square)? Tell us below...

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  • Walyalup Koort

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    15 Mar 2021
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    Aboriginal people named land according to their spiritual, physical, social and cultural connection to it. Walyalup was the name given by Yagan in 1832 to describe land around Fremantle. You can find more information on the name in our discussion pack download. Walyalup Koort (Heart) means a place in the heart of Fremantle. As a variation, Walyalup Karlup means Fremantle heart-country / home. Other suffixes are included for discussion below. The use of Walyalup was supported by WRAP elders and in February 2020 Council adopted the name Walyalup Civic Centre for the new building in Kings Square (pictured).

    What do you think about using the name Walyalup Koort (or alternative suffix Karlup)? Tell us below...

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  • Boya Karla

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    15 Mar 2021
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    Inspired by a proposed future artwork for Kings Square by Sharyn Egan and Simon Gilby, this means 'rock fire'. As a variation, the Nyoongar word Koort, (Heart) could be added, to acknowledge its place in the centre of Walyalup. Other suffixes are discussed below. You can find out more about this artwork in a video by clicking here or visiting the video library. This name was put forward for consideration by the Kings Square name stakeholder group.


    What do you think about using the name Boya Karla (or Boya Karla Koort)? Tell us below...

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  • Midgegooroo Square

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    15 Mar 2021
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    At the time of settlement Midgegooroo was leader of the Whadjuk clan that occupied and cared for Beeliar (including greater Fremantle). Midgegooroo was an influential Nyoongar elder often mentioned in the Perth Gazette. He was executed by firing squad on 22 May 1833 for allegedly having killed settlers, who were dispossessing Whadjuk from their land. In August 2019, the South West Aboriginal Land & Sea Council’s Whadjuk Working Party (representing Traditional Owners) confirmed their support for using this as a name for the Kings Square project. The suffix Place was originally suggested but does not meet the naming guidelines in WA. [Image: Place names and territories as told to Robert Lyon by Yagan in 1832.]

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  • Suffix options

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    15 Mar 2021

    In stage one we received several suffix suggestions. One key theme was using a Whadjuk Nyoongar name to recognise Traditional Owners and another was using an Italian word to recognise the contributions of Italian migrants to the development of Fremantle. Other suggestions (such as 'Place') were not approved for use against the naming guidelines.

    • Koort - A Nyoongar word meaning heart.
    • Gnalla - A Nyoongar word meaning us/our.
    • Piazza - A piazza is a public square, especially in an Italian town.

    Keep in mind these suffixes would be subject to a final approval process with Landgate.


    We'd like to know what you think of these potential suffixes, either in this location or elsewhere?

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