King's Square Issues

Flags, and Trees

Here is the Australian flag again. You wont see it on the Town Hall for quite a while (see our last post), even though the mayor was keen to fly the Gay and Lesbian flag (before being told he couldn't by the then CEO because it wasn't a registered flag). 

When this flag was posted on Freo Massive a couple of days ago, there was a barrage of comments for and against having the nation's flag visible in Fremantle, the often vitriolic and nasty comments showing just how divided and angry the Fremantle community has become in recent years thanks to the leadership we now have. 

As Brendon Nelson said in a great speech last week (iView National Press Club address from Australian War Memorial): "What we need from our leadership is vision - it is vision which separates leadership from management....instead of allowing ourselves to develop into tribes that are indignant and angry, being force fed a diet of social media... that is making us angry, instead of lifting us to where we need to go." 

The vision for our town centre is wrong in so many ways and the flag issue there is just one symbol. Take trees. Why are you being shown a picture here of a Moreton Bay fig tree? (The Fremantle Society vision for King's Square by Dr Linley Lutton is available in the library).

This healthy iconic specimen of an Australian tree is flourishing in Santa Barbara USA and was planted there in 1876, long before the phantom planter Webster planted the Moreton Bay trees in King's Square. The latest magnificent fig tree to be cut down by Council in Kings Square last week was the Christmas Tree, so called when the mayor moved the location of the Christmas tree from the Esplanade to Kings Square, and strangled the fig tree with electrical cords and lights. 

With proper care that tree would have survived for years more. An arborist commented upon seeing the core of the tree after it was cut down that it was healthy enough to last for years. All the Moreton Bay fig trees cut down in King's Square would have survived if they had been properly managed by Fremantle Council. For many of us who live in Fremantle, those magnificent trees meant a great deal and their loss is distressing beyond words. They were more important than the warped vision uttered by one person connected with council that 'we need to get rid of the trees...they obscure the view' (of the new unnecessary $50 million admin building?). 

The Fremantle Society has received a magnificent gesture from its sister society, the Guildford Society, of several replacement Moreton Bay fig trees. They wrote: 'We were greatly saddened to hear of the loss of your beautiful landmark'. They are offering several nine year old trees (very hard to get), and we look forward to seeing if Fremantle Council will take up the offer. Councillor Lang has already contacted us.

(The Guildford Society is having the same problems the Fremantle Society had when trying to get the whole of Fremantle's West End listed  and are seeking support from those who appreciate Guidlford as one of the three founding towns of Western Australia with a special history and scale that urgently needs protecting)

Flag Fact

One of the designers of the Australian flag is buried in Karrakatta Cemetery.

Annie Dorrington was born in 1866  adjoining Queen Victoria's Windsor great Park, where her father was a tenant farmer.

Annie ended up in Western Australia in 1895 where her husband was manager of the Swan River Shipping Company. Annie, far away from the green meadows of Berkshire, fell in love with Western Australian wildflowers, and painted many of them. Apart from her legacy of being one of the designers of the Australian flag, 124 of her wildflower paintings are held by the Art Gallery of WA.

Her unmarked grave was consecrated by the Dean of Perth in 1999 with a handsome monument.

(courtesy Australian National Flag Association (WA) Inc tel 9321 7406)

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