New Noongar Heritage Gangway Launched at Port

Yesterday, 15 June, Fremantle Ports officially launched Fremantle Passenger Terminal’s ‘Indigenous Welcome Statement’, a brightly painted, Noongar heritage gateway to Freo.

The launch, which included a smoking ceremony at the Passenger Terminal, saw passengers on the P&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Explorer, who had tied up in Freo a little earlier, disembarking and embarking the ship via the new gangway.

The gangway artwork concept emerged from a partnership between Tourism WA, Fremantle Ports and Indigenous artist, Jade Dolman.

Fremantle Ports’ Strategy Planning and Performance General Manager, Sami Zouad said:
“Fremantle Ports team has been honoured to work with Jade Dolman and Tourism WA to deliver the colourful mural, painted on our heritage gangway, telling the Noongar story of the local area. It is a proud, eye-catching, Indigenous welcome for cruise visitors to Western Australia.”

Whadjuk, Ballardong and Arrernte woman and Indigenous artist, Jade Dolman painted the gangway in a warehouse in Slip Street, Victoria Quay, before it was transported to the Terminal.

Jade explained the meaning of her mural and how it tells the story of the landmarks of the mouth of the Derbyl Yerrigan/Swan River, a significant location for the Noongar people. The roof of the gangway tells the story of the night sky with the Seven Sisters Dreaming, also known as Pleiades Constellation, followed by the Emu in the Sky/Milky Way at the other end. At the head of the gangway on the roof is the guardian of Walyalup/Fremantle, the dwert/dingo looking out over the land. The connecting circles represent our journey lines as we pass on these stories.

On one side, the large orange circle at the end represents the mambakoort/ocean connecting with the beeliar/river, which is painted from an aerial view of Whadjuk Noongar boodjar/country. The rocky sandbar where the mambakoort and beeliar meet was an important crossing and fishing place for Noongars. In the 1890s, the bar was blown up in the making of the Inner Harbour we see today.

The smaller yellow circles at the ends of the river flow are resting spots, while the meeting places – four sacred sites which form part of the dwert’s journey: Meeandip/Garden Island, Manjaree/Arthur Head, Dwertawirrinup/Cantonment Hill and Waugal Mia/Rocky Bay.

The purple symbols are the tracks of the emu, kangaroo, goanna and dingo as well as campsites, river and people sitting. Surrounding the symbols are raindrops painted in green to represent new beginnings. Below the orange are the aqua lines tracing the water flow as it moves through Whadjuk Noongar boodjar.

Jade’s work can also be seen on the walls of the new sky-bridge connecting Perth Airport’s T1 to the railway station, around Perth City buildings and car parks, in sports stadia, hotels and schools. Visit her website to view her amazing work.

We previously featured some of Jade’s work at Wellington Dam and Collie in our February 2021 Places I Love – Collie Mural Trail article here in the Shipping News. Magnificent!

By the way, this was Pacific Explorer’s last visit to Fremantle for 2024. She visits again next year before being exited from P&O Cruises Australia Australian fleet, as we recently reported here.

Pacific Explorer departing Fremantle 15 June 2024. Credit Deanna Shanahan

Yesterday’s visit to Fremantle was a transit visit with 1804 passengers on board. While the gangway launch event took place, passengers left and entered via the gangway, and workers touched up the ship’s exterior with paint. The ship sailed at 4pm, next port of call, Exmouth.

And in more tourism news – Fremantle is to host the 2025 WA Tourism Conference, which will bring together 250 industry delegates over three days next May.

Freo, the place to be.

STORY and photographs (except where credited otherwise) by Jean Hudson @jeansodyssey. Jean is our Shipping Correspondent and also a regular feature writer and photographer here on the Shipping News. You may like to follow up her informative Places I Love stories, as well as other feature stories and Freo Today photographs, right here.


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