City square to be named after Yagan

Yagan Square: The centrepiece of new Perth City Link development. Illustration: Supplied

The centrepiece of the new Perth City Link development will be named after a controversial Aboriginal warrior who was shot by a white settler in 1833.

Premier Colin Barnett said yesterday the 1.1ha marketplace and thoroughfare between the arms of the Horseshoe Bridge would be called Yagan Square. Yagan, who killed two white settlers before a bounty was placed on his head, is seen as a freedom fighter and symbol of resistance by Noongar people.

"We have so many places and monuments to our European leaders like the Duke of Wellington, Lord Forrest, Sir Charles Fremantle, Queen Victoria and Governor Stirling," Mr Barnett said. "I thought it was about time that in the central city area we recognise Aboriginal people and brought out some of the realities of that settlement and there were atrocities on both sides."

Mr Barnett, who was criticised for a lack of consultation before naming Elizabeth Quay, said the Government had "over the last week or so" spoken with some Aboriginal leaders.

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said she was heartened the area was not named after the royal family.

"It pays appropriate homage to the Aboriginal community while recognising the unique and growing position of WA internationally," Ms Scaffidi said.

Mr Barnett first thought of the name a year ago while negotiating the $1.3 billion Noongar native title offer with the South West Land and Sea Council. SWLASC chief executive Glen Kelly yesterday described it as an important symbolic step.

"Yagan is iconic for Noongars," Mr Kelly said. "He defended what was his but was also seen as noble by the settlers. There were whites who described his death as treacherous as well."