ISAAC GROVES, HONEYROSE MAY and JASMINE UITERMARK-THAUNG
Doubts persist over whether a commitment to raise the co-badging of a major Perth park with a Nyoongar name was ever raised with a reconciliation committee as promised by the CEO of an inner city council.
At a City of Vincent council meeting last month, former city councillor Dudley Maier asked whether a long-mooted plan to give Weld Square a Nyoongar co-name had ever been raised with a Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group set up by the council.
The city had, at its Annual General Meeting of Electors held in February 2016, promised to refer the matter to the working group. And in June last year, council CEO Len Kosova made the same promise to Western Independent, which at the time had troubles extracting a response from the city’s administration, until raising it with then Vincent mayor John Carey.
Weld Square, at the corner of Beaufort and Newcastle Streets in Perth is of great cultural significance to Nyoongar people for a range of reasons explained in our earlier feature piece on the park.
In a written response to Mr Maier’s question, Mr Kosova said recently that the matter had been discussed by the working group.
However, a Western Independent scan of all Working Group minutes since Mr Kosova’s promise to us last year detected no evidence that the matter had ever been minuted. Several times in the past week we asked the city administration why, if what Mr Kosova told Mr Maier was correct, the matter had never been minuted. The city did not respond.
Now, Mr Maier says he believes the working group either did not discuss the proposed co-naming, or had “put it in the too hard basket”.
“The Reconciliation Action Plan was presented to the council meeting of 4 April 2017,” Mr Maier said.
“… I looked through it and could see no mention of Weld Square.”
Western Independent had also done this and can confirm the plan does not specifically mention the park.
Nicholas Tan of Bayswater, who was at Weld Square with his bicycle when we dropped by, said he was not aware of the park’s name, but supported an Indigenous name for the reserve.
Also at Weld Square, Chiquita Brams of Bayswater did not know the park’s name either.
“If they [had] an Aboriginal name then that’s great,” Ms Brams said.
“I don’t think too many people … know it as Weld Square and what … that means anyway.”
Damon Collins of High Wycombe, who was shooting hoops at Weld Square, said he did not know the park’s name.
“I would just like it if the council put new chains on the basketball hoops,” Mr Collins said.
Photography: Jasmine Uitermark-Thaung