The centre will be used as a welcoming place for all Aboriginal people. Local indigenous communities can apply to provide activities, workshops and functions from the centre.
Celebrations kicked off at Bathers Beach, where Whadjuk Noongar elder Cedric Jacobs gave a welcome to country and invited the approx- imately 300 people who attended to join in the relaunch of the Recognise relay around Australia, which started in Melbourne in May 2013.
‘I invite you on behalf of our elders to walk with us, at our pace, in peace and unity, as it will align us with the soul and spirit of our land, and learn from our Aboriginal elders,’ he said.
The walk finished at the new cultural centre, where entertainment was provided by a didgeridoo player and dancers from the Lockridge Senior High School’s Locko Dreamers dance group and speeches by Noongar elders.
Recognise campaigner Pete Dawson said it was an ‘honour’ to watch the important community space come to life, giving many the opportunity to connect with the stories of local indigenous people.
‘We are deeply honoured by the generous welcome we had today and the invitation to be part of this special day for the Whadjuk Noongar people and the Freo community,’ he said.
City of Fremantle Community Development director Marisa Spaziani said the idea for a cultural centre had been talked about for a long time.
‘The opening of the Fremantle Aboriginal Cultural Centre on Monday goes beyond words to investigate a facility and provides tangible evidence that helps to strengthen Aboriginal relations between the City of Fremantle and local Aboriginal people,’ she said.