Move to mark Mokare’s resting place behind Albany Town Hall

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The Mokare statue in the Alison Hartman Gardens.
Camera IconThe Mokare statue in the Alison Hartman Gardens. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

A place of reflection would mark the area behind Albany Town Hall believed to be Mokare’s final resting place if a community-driven vision is realised.

It is understood the commemorative site would be positioned in or near what is now a carpark behind the Senior Citizens Centre at the corner of Collie and Grey streets.

It could be linked by an interpretative footpath to the Mokare statue in Alison Hartman Gardens.

The vision, which is in its infancy, emerged from a meeting late last year between the City of Albany and a group of local indigenous leaders who called for greater recognition of Mokare.

The City has allocated $20,000 in its draft 2019-20 budget to the creation of a detailed concept plan for the Mokare burial site.

Menang elder Lester Coyne has thrown his support behind the concept and congratulated the City for following through on the meeting.

Menang elder Lester Coyne.
Camera IconMenang elder Lester Coyne. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

Mokare, the famous Menang leader, is seen as the man largely responsible for Albany’s remarkably peaceful early settlement.

He formed a strong bond with government resident and surgeon Dr Alexander Collie who, on his death bed in 1835, requested to be buried alongside his friend Mokare.

Mr Coyne said he looked up to Mokare and tried to follow his example.

“His story is such a great message of integration, not that he would have realised that,” Mr Coyne said.

“Consciously or unconsciously, that’s what they did. They got together, they found water and they helped one another.

“I try to mimic what I think was running through his mind — to have relationships with people, to work in with them and see if we can achieve a win-win.

“And he did, he achieved that.”

The area behind the town hall.
Camera IconThe area behind the town hall. Credit: Shannon Smith

Mr Coyne said it was his understanding that other community leaders could also be recognised in the place of reflection behind the town hall.

City major project manager Anthony McEwan said the project was in its early stages and no draft plan had been released.

It would not move forward until there had been significant community input and co-ordination with the local indigenous community, he said.

“Off the back of extensive public consultation in relation to Alison Hartman Gardens, it has been discovered that a place of reflection around the area known as the final resting place for Mokare and other local Menang peoples linking through to the Mokare statue in the gardens would be a project that the whole community can culturally benefit from,” he said.

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