City of Joondalup bestows highest honour on former mayor

Brian Cooper has become the fourth Freeman of the City of Joondalup. Picture: Chris Kershaw
Brian Cooper has become the fourth Freeman of the City of Joondalup. Picture: Chris Kershaw

BRIAN Cooper has been there for many of the big moments in the 21 year-history of the City of Joondalup, and in the lead up to its formation in 1998.

So it seems only fitting he last night became the fourth Freeman of the City.

“When I think of all the worthy people who could fill this role I am truly amazed I was picked,” Mr Cooper said at a special council meeting on Thursday night.

Mr Cooper served as the Wanneroo mayor on three separate occasions, and was the last mayor before Wanneroo split into two cities.

He witnessed the region’s first public golf course opening at Marangaroo, the unveiling of the first aquatic centre at Wanneroo Water World (the predecessor to Craigie Leisure Centre), and the opening of the Joondalup Library and Civic Centre.

Given the growth of the region in the 1980s and ‘90s, Mr Cooper spent much of his time as mayor at official openings such as new community buildings, parks and shopping centres.

Joondalup Mayor Albert Jacob and chief executive Garry Hunt sign the certificate to bestow the honour on Brian Cooper. Picture: Chris Kershaw

More than two decades on, he finds it hard to believe how far the region has come since he first moved to the area in the 1970s when there were just a few weatherboard houses, dirt tracks, bushland and kangaroos where the Joondalup city centre now stands.

It was his work with Wanneroo Rotary Club and the local junior cricket team where his community work began.

“I possessed a certain skill set and the more you do, the more you are asked to do, the more you get involved with, the more is expected of you,” he said.

Mr Cooper was a councillor at the Shire of Wanneroo in 1984, then City of Wanneroo before his first term as mayor from 1986 to 1988.

He then served again in 1989 and 1990 and started a third term in 1997.

A successful businessman, his strong work ethic and drive to give back to his community only increased with retirement from fulltime work.

Brian Cooper and his family celebrate the honour. Picture: Chris Kershaw

He held several senior leadership positions within many local community organisations and served on several community and government boards.

These included president of Marmion Probus Club, chairman and board member of the Wanneroo Shire Council Aged Persons Trust for 17 years, patron and life member of the Wanneroo Basketball Association, president of the Association of Independent Retirees (Northern Suburbs), life member and president of Wanneroo Rotary Club, life member of National Electrical Contractors Association, chairman of the Wanneroo Economic Development Association (Joondalup Business Association), board member of the Metropolitan Planning Council, and manager of Wanneroo junior cricket teams and president of Wanneroo Districts Cricket Club.

Mr Cooper was also this year awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to the community.

A long-term resident of Woodvale, he is married to wife Patricia and is proud father of three girls Julie, Sally and Shannon, and grandchildren Kayla, Lachlan and Matilda.

Mr Cooper still finds time to play golf in between his various commitments and believes age is a state of mind with plenty to still contribute to the City of Joondalup.

The four Freeman of the City of Joondalup: Margaret Cockman, Brian Cooper, Nick Trandos and Bill Marwick. Picture: Chris Kershaw

Mayor Albert Jacob said Mr Cooper had served his community with distinction for many decades as both an elected member and a volunteer.

“His willingness to put others before himself was a hallmark of his time as an elected member,” he said.

“Brian’s selflessness, strong work ethic and drive to serve his community continues to this day where he still holds several senior leadership positions within local community organisations.

“He is a credit to his family, his friends and this City and is a worthy recipient of the City of Joondalup’s highest accolade.”

Mr Cooper joins the City’s three other Freeman: Margaret Cockman, Nick Trandos and Bill Marwick.