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Our show must go on: Fremantle

Fremantle, the West Australian port city that became the nation’s first to cancel Australia Day, is unrepentant as it moves into its second year without the celebration.

Mayor Brad Pettit said the Fremantle council wasn’t bothered that it had come under fire from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Federal Government.

“They don’t like what Triple J has done either,” he said. “That doesn’t surprise me or bother us really in the sense that this is the kind of change that is going to happen locally first.

“We had some wonderful leadership from our Noongar Elders in our community.”

In Fremantle, Australia Day on January 26 will again be replaced by a free ‘One Day’ concert on January 28.

The concert will be headlined by singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke.

She will be joined by DJ Kevin Parker from Tame Impala, Arnhem hip-hop artist Baker Boy and dance group Djuki Mala.

The event will be held on the city’s Esplanade from 2-8pm and again be hosted by Balladong Noongar singer-songwriter Gina Williams.

About 15,000 people attended the first concert last year and similar numbers are expected this year.

Mayor Pettit said the council’s decision last year to cancel Australia Day was controversial at the time but support had risen as people understood the issues.

“We had local government elections since last year and myself and all the councillors were returned,” he said. “After all the controversy, having the direction being embraced was a positive thing.

“I knocked on hundreds of doors as part of the election campaign and I would say that overwhelmingly it was a positive response I got.”

Elsewhere around Australia, it will be the first year the Victorian councils of Darebin, Yarra and Moreland will go without holding citizenship ceremonies on January 26.

Triple J is also no longer holding its Hottest 100 on January 26.

Wendy Caccetta


Also read Treaty supporters to march on Jan 26.

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