Who can participate and how?

    In stage one we asked for additional name suggestions. Following assessment and shortlisting we now have a short list of names for discussion. 

    You can participate by:

    • Sharing your thoughts online on My Say Freo mysay.fremantle.wa.gov.au (from 15 March 2021)
    • Host a discussion and upload your notes
    • Complete a hard copy form and return to one of these locations:
      • Fremantle Visitor Centre (Town Hall, 8 William St, Fremantle)
      • City of Fremantle customer service desk (Fremantle Oval, 70 Parry Street, Fremantle)
      • Fremantle Library (Fremantle Oval, 70 Parry St, Fremantle)
      • Fremantle PCYC (2/34 Paget St, Hilton) - from 19 March 2021

    You can also scan a submission form and return it by email to communityengagement@fremantle.wa.gov.au or post it to Community Engagement, City of Fremantle PO Box 807 Fremantle WA 6959.

    What is the process?

    There will be two separate stages because first we are calling for any further suggestions. The opportunity to comment on all names comes in stage two. The process is: 

    • Stage one (ideation) – In this stage we are gathering additional name and suffix (e.g. place, square) suggestions. This runs from 2 October 2020 to 1 November 2020. 
    • Contributions will be assessed against the naming criteria, comments from Landgate then the Kings Square naming stakeholder group will meet to review the contributions.  
    • An engagement report will then be compiled and stage two will be prepared. 
    • Stage two (selection) – In this stage the community is invited to consider all options and provide their thoughts. 
    • Contributions will be compiled into a report with key themes and the stakeholder group will meet to review the findings. 
    • A report will be prepared for Council, who will then make a decision. This will affect what any future stages may be. 

    How did you quality control name suggestions?

    Given the significance of the space, three parameters were set to guide the process:

    • Generating a sense of civic pride 
    • Directly relevant to Fremantle 
    • Enduring, able to withstand the test of time 

    Contributors were asked to explain how they relate to these parameters. Suggestions were then provided to Landgate for comment against standards for geographical naming. 

    What options are there?

    Options include:

    • Kings Square (no change)
    • Dual name (a Whadjuk Nyoongar name / Kings Square)
    • Midgegooroo Square
    • Walyalup Koort (or Karlup)
    • Boya Karla (or Boya Karla Koort)
    • We’re also asking for comments on the use of Piazza, Gnalla and Koort as suffixes.

    Find detailed information on the space and a timeline of the area in our updated discussion pack

    How is a decision made?

    This is not a simple vote or a tally. Community engagement aims to identify themes, understand the issues and reasons, and possibly identify areas of disagreement / agreement. To ensure we reach as many people as possible the engagement will be promoted widely and we will use random sampling methods. 

    An external stakeholder group will meet to discuss the findings and assist with the process. This group is made up of representatives invited from Whadjuk Elders, St. Johns Church, Department of Communities, Fremantle Chamber of Commerce and Sirona Capital. It also includes some elected members and City staff.  

    An engagement report will be compiled by specialist staff and an officer’s recommendation will go to Council, who will make a decision. Further steps will be dependent on Council's decision. Everyone who has supplied their email contact will be kept up to date with progress. 

    Will any street addresses be affected by this?

    No street addresses would be affected should the name be changed, as all buildings in the space have existing street addresses (High Street and Newman Court).

    Is it a square?

    The ‘square’ is used as one space but is bisected by High Street which has been turned into a pedestrian mall, effectively creating two triangles.  

    The northern triangle of the square contains St John's Anglican Church (1884) which is set in landscaped grounds.

    In the southern triangle the Fremantle Town Hall (1887) stands at the western end of what will be the new civic building, which is due for completion in 2021.

    Remnants of the first St Johns Church (1844 – 1884) remain buried under the paving in the centre of the square.

    No change is proposed to William, Queen and Adelaide Streets, and Newman Court (surrounding Kings Square) and there is no intention to rename these streets and/or property addresses.

New question submitted by community members

    "Why consider this now?" (asked in stage one)

    The new play space, library and civic building is due for completion this year but this is just one reason why we are considering this now. 

    In 2016 the Nyoongar people were recognised through an Act of the WA Parliament as the Traditional Owners of the south west region of Western Australia[1]. 

    In 2017 the Kings Square renewal project began and the following year the Kings Square Public Space Concept Plan was adopted by Fremantle Council. 

    In 2019 the City was invited to put forward Aboriginal place names by the WA State Government with one reason that Aboriginal languages are amongst some of the most endangered in the world. 

    The same year, the City of Fremantle Walyalup Reconciliation Action Plan (WRAP) was adopted. The WRAP includes actions around naming/ co-naming and including significant symbols and information about Whadjuk culture and history as part of Kings Square. 

    This culmination of events means the time is right to have this conversation as a community, and we encourage you to explore the background and information in further detail.


    [1] WA Government (2020) South West Native Title Settlement, 4 August 2020. https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/south-west-native-title-settlement 

    "Why is this square not being automatically named after an aboriginal name? Please no more men!" (asked in stage one)

    Thank you for you clear thoughts. This is an important public space in Fremantle, so we’re engaging broadly so that anyone in the community has the opportunity to participate, share their ideas and convey their views. 

    Interestingly, we received a large number of Aboriginal name suggestions from the community in stage one, however we need to ensure that any Aboriginal name put forward is either suggested by or endorsed by Traditional Owners of Whadjuk country. 

    The current name (Kings Square) does refer to a male and it was common for place names associated with British settlement to be named after European cities (shift naming) or distinguished males. Midgegooroo, who was leader of the Whadjuk people at the time of British settlment, is also a male. There are also other names for discussion and welcome you to participate in stage two.

    "Why do you want to destroy all of our history?" (asked in stage one)

    The colonial settlement of Fremantle has an important place in the nineteenth-century history of the Swan River Colony. It is also reflected in many names in inner-city Fremantle. A study by Jillian Barteaux in 2016 assessed names assigned in the Fremantle town boundary between 1829-1850 against the current Australian National Place Names Survey categories. It found out of the 59 names, 61% were either 'shift' names or names of people (settlers) or vessels. Shift names were primarily British places and town features 'shifted' to the new settlement, and was part of an intentional strategy to use familiarity to attract settlers and investors. No indigenous names were used.

    The history of Walyalup (the area around Fremantle), within the region of Beeliar, dates back tens of thousands of years. In 2021 there are just over 500 street names across the City of Fremantle and approximately 10 are Aboriginal names, although some of these do not have local significance (they are not Whadjuk Nyoongar). Landgate’s newly released Aboriginal and dual naming guidelines aim to ensure that names have local relevance. 

    A submission in stage one from the History Council of Western Australia recommended that dual naming of Kings Square could be a way to point to the multiple histories that a single place might have. This is just one option to consider in stage two, along with no name change or renaming.

    "If it already had a name before it was given the one Kings Square, why not just revert back?" (asked in stage one)

    Unlike other places in Fremantle (like Manjaree / Arthur Head) the specific location of Kings Square does not have an original name that we currently know of. However, it is well known that Walyalup refers to greater Fremantle and that Midgegooroo was the leader of the Whadjuk people at the time of settlement, even though the first European colonists regarded Western Australia as Terra Nullius or ‘unoccupied’.

    Kings Square itself was originally shown at the intersection of High and Packenham Streets, but by the time the official town plan was published in 1833 it was in its current location. The name Kings Square records how the Swan River Settlement was established before Queen Victoria’s 62-year long reign (the 1844 town plan had a Queens Square added in honour of Queen Victoria). It also demonstrates an assertion of ownership and that the new arrivals wanted to maintain ties with their homeland and be part of the British Empire.