Her Maj gets a meeting room

QUEEN ELIZABETH II will be recognised by having a Stirling council meeting lounge named after her, a firm sign the council’s intent on returning to its Commonwealth naming tradition after a brief push to use more Aboriginal names.

Last week councillor Suzanne Migdale put up a motion calling on the council to name a facility after Queen Elizabeth II and to also hold a high tea on May 6 to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III.

“Queen Elizabeth II was the monarch of the United Kingdom from 1952 till her passing in 2022,” Cr Migdale said.

“During her reign the British Empire went through a process of decolonisation which resulted in the independence of many former colonies.

“As a figurehead and symbol of the British State the Queen played an important role in promoting a more positive and respectful relationship with former colonies and commonwealth countries alike. 

“The Queen acknowledged the painful legacy of colonialism and sought to build bridges between former colonies and the UK.”

Cr Migdale said the queen “showed us all that change was not to be feared but embraced.

“As a woman I was inspired and motivated by her dedication to service, grace, and assurance… she was the longest serving female monarch in history, the likes of which we will likely never see again.”

Cr Migdale’s original motion would’ve seen the civic dining room currently called the “Stirling Room” renamed after the Queen, but councillor Liz Re suggested giving her name to the “Anglesea Room,” an elected members’ lounge.

“I don’t agree with getting rid of the name Stirling,” Cr Re said.

But she was more than happy to rebadge one of the four council rooms named after governor Stirling’s first fleet (Challenger, Parmelia, Calista and Anglesea), joking that whoever gave them their monikers may have thought “it was going to sail away like the Sydney Harbour”.

A majority of councillors voted in favour of renaming Anglesea after the Queen, and they’ll also hang a portrait of her in there too.

Four councillors were against naming either room after the queen: Crs Andrea Creado, Felicity Farrelly, Bianca Sandri, and Lisa Thornton.

Cr Farrelly said the Queen’s reign was outstanding, but the room renaming is “not Australian”. She said if the Stirling Room needs a new name “there are other names that we can use, both Indigenous and Australian”.

Since 2014 the council has made a few steps towards Indigenous co-naming on signage as part of its Reconciliation Action Plans. 

One RAP item due in December 2021 was “re-name the Stirling Administration Centre meeting rooms to Nyoongar names in consultation with Traditional Owners/Nyoongar Elders”. 

That hasn’t happened yet and the meeting rooms are still currently named “Challenger Room” and “Calista Room”.

In mid-2021 the re-naming/co-naming trend hit a roadblock when councillors firmly rejected a resident’s motion to change the “Stirling” name, a request put up on the grounds that James Stirling had been involved in the event known as the Pinjarra Massacre or the Battle of Pinjarra.


One response to “Her Maj gets a meeting room

  1. I am absolutely appalled that the “Anglesea Room” be renamed unless it is to be the “Marquis of Anglesea Room” which was the ships full name on which my wife’s ancestors arrived in 1829. The history of this 320 ton sailing ship’s voyage, its passengers and ultimate partial wreck in a wild storm at the former Anglesea Point, Fremantle during a wild storm in August 1829 is epic. Whilst not totally wrecked, the ship was somewhat resurrected and became the Governor’s residence when he visited Fremantle before it became Fremantle’s first Post Office. After living in limestone caves my wife’s family worked for the first Colonial Secretary (a Mr Brown) as farmer at his property in Bassendean. They ultimately owned title to significant parts of the land Royal Perth Hospital now stands on; Coincidentally, she trained at Royal Perth and attained her formal SRN degree there in early 1960 before doing her midwifery qualification at King Edward. Interestingly, she then travelled to England where for some time she cared for the sister of the then Earl of Sandwich in London. It was the fourth Earl of Sandwich who sponsored James Cook’s voyage to Australia and elsewhere. Without the Earl and James Cook most of us would not be here today. My late wife is probably the only Australian ever to have made a sandwich for and eaten a sandwich with one of the blood line who founded and named the universal sandwich eating tradition. Surely this and many of the Marquis of Anglesea’s other passengers whose families have done much for WA deserve the recognition of at least a room at the City of Stirling. Whilst my wife’s family and I have always been “Royalists” and never anti-Aboriginal, I believe in this case the “Anglesea Room” justifies it’s title more so than Queen Elizabeth Room or some Aboriginal name that has no consequence except for the sake of meaningless political correctness. History should be added too….not withdrawn.

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