Port City

Fremantle is a significant place for the Whadjuk Nyoongar people who named the area Walyalup; a place of significant cultural practices and ceremonies, and an important trading centre. The port city stands at the mouth of the Swan River where it meets the Indian Ocean, the place where Wagyl, the Dreamtime Serpent spirit fought the Crocodile spirit.

The Fremantle that we know today has been shaped by generations of migrants—the British, whose buildings included the Round House and Art Centre, and the Italians, Greeks and Portuguese whose entrepreneurial skills paved the way for the development of South Terrace, a place affectionately known as the Cappuccino Strip.

As times change, so too do populations and a new wave of European and Asian migrants are making their mark in Fremantle. This series explores the changing face of Fremantle Walyalup through the eyes of five migrants who call the port city their home.

These stories were collected by Centre for Stories intern, Jacqueline Kelly.

Thank you to our storytellers: Hans Hug, Eileen Tay, Roel Loopers, Matilde Balsamo and Roberto Balsamo

Thank you to Beau Est Mien (Magali Dincher and Alina Tang) for the beautiful image

"I didn't expect to experience such a difference in the culture of our two countries. Initially, in Australia, I was euphoric as everything had this lovely pioneering spirit of mateship and equality."
"In Fremantle, there are so many people to know and to talk to. Some of them are grumpy, some of them are cheerful, and some of them are fussy."
"I’m very optimistic about the future of Fremantle. I think that transformation is really necessary. It’s absolutely essential that we grow and that we change."
"But the day we unveiled the statues—my parents came from Italy for that unveiling—for me, it was touching the hand of glory, you know?"
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