We are apparently not going to see any celebration of Australia Day in Fremantle in 2017. Or at least not in any happy form – they have cancelled the annual fireworks display at one of the beaches. The city mayor has issued a statement that they will be saving its money for what he feels are more worthy causes.
To some extent it is a political sop to people who are angry that white people control Australia. These angry people are sometimes brown, sometimes white, and frequently pink. Many of them are professionally angry, though some do it on an amateur basis. The day of the first British landing in New South Wales has become a charged issue for them, and the more current and currency they can get out of it, the better…Make no mistake, there are university positions, government grants, and book contracts at stake here. And fact-finding commissions, legal fees, and white Toyota Land Cruisers.
There is also the matter of Fremantle City Council money. It may be that the downturn in the economy and the shelling out of Fremantle’s infrastructure has led to the unwillingness of the state government to shell out any more money to them. The place is not deserted, but many of the businesses that actually did something constructive there in the old days have pulled up sticks and moved elsewhere. Rates, rents, and levies are all very well if someone is there to pay them, but empty buildings turn no cash. In short – Fremantle may be strapped.
Well, there is always the Perth Sky Show over Perth Water on the day. I never see it, as I am in Melbourne watching people climb over antique cars – you’ll remember my report from earlier in the year. At least I will have the satisfaction of not costing Fremantle any money on the day, and apart from my peculiar insistence on being happy at being in Australia, should not disturb them too much.
Note for the fashionably guilt-stricken: The idea of Mea Culpa never worked for me once I found out she was Frank Sinatra’s girlfriend.