Live Review: One Day In Fremantle

31 January 2017 | 4:04 pm | Ted Dana

"Mayor Pettitt exclaimed there was no turning back now."

One Day In Fremantle is not just another free music gig in the heart of the port city; it shares an important message with punters. That message is to have the courage to stand up together in the face of adversity to ensure everyone's voice is heard as part of the democratic process in this country; not just for changing the date on which we celebrate Australia Day, but also for other issues such as protesting the destruction of Beeliar Wetlands.

Danielle Caruana (Mama Kin) spoke passionately about how having lived in an Indigenous community in Broome changed her idea of what it was to be Australian. Growing up in the western suburbs of Melbourne ("in this multicultural melting pot"), she learned of the range of events in Australia's history that didn't go well for our First Peoples. But they survived and are still here, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their knowledge. We should treat that knowledge with reverence and respect.

The momentum of her passion carried through her set at One Day, raising the crowd to a roar of applause for Fremantle Council "who dared to stand in the face of adversity".

On stage after Mama Kin's set, Mayor Brad Pettitt told Gina Williams that the decision to not celebrate Australia Day on 26 Jan was a joint decision entered into by Fremantle Council. He spoke about Indigenous elders who had come to the previous citizenship ceremonies to perform the Welcome To Country, saying that they wanted to celebrate just like everyone else, but said it was hard to do so on 26 Jan. He went on to say: "We need to have this conversation as a nation." When Williams asked him if this was a once-off, Pettitt exclaimed there was no turning back now.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

John Butler took the stage saying he was "honoured and privileged" to be part of One Day. Between songs, Butler said he wanted to give props to the Indigenous community, that he was humbled by the day's powerful, graceful idea and that we had so much to learn from the oldest continuous living culture in the world. He dedicated the song Kimberley to "all the mob out there at Beeliar Wetlands at the moment!" During his set, JB shared with the crowd that there was a plan to begin bulldozing "sacred sites" in Beeliar Wetlands from 6am on Monday (30 Jan).

Gina Williams took a moment to share a few songs in Noongar, the last of which she said she would not translate, but would like to dedicate "to [her] brothers and sisters standing against Roe 8!"

Dan Sultan hit the stage riding the wave of the crowd's energy, bringing home the show with a finale alongside Mama Kin, Williams, and Butler.