Each year the fishing community of Fremantle has two ceremonies to ensure the fishermen and their boats are safe and the catches are good throughout the season.
The smaller of the two festivals, held in honour of The Black Madonna, is on the second Sunday of September and celebrated by the small Portugese community who live in the city. The larger Blessing of the Fleet is held in late October and conducted by the entire fishing community, mostly from Mediterranean communities, principally Italian.
Several Masses are held in St Patrick’s Basilica and a procession leaves there to parade the Black Madonna around the city’s street during the afternoon. It is a time for the younger members of the community to play a part in their industry. Many of these kids would be descended from migrants who established the fishing industry in the 1920s and will mostly become fishers themselves.
Roger Garwood started his career in Fleet Street and was a staff member of The Daily Mail (London) prior to joining the French news magazine Paris Match.
He now works as a freelance reporter and photographer, mainly in SE Asia and Australia. His work has appeared in magazines including National Geographic, The Sunday Times (London), Time, Newsweek, Stern and other European and Australian magazines.
In partnership with Trish Ainslie he published several books which deal with traditional Australian lifestyles. His work is in the collections of The National Library, The Australian National Gallery, The National Gallery of Victoria, The Art Gallery of Western Australia, The State Library of Western Australia and private collections.
Influences on his life stems from Somerset Maugham, Graham, Orwell. And others, in particular reading 'The Autobiography of a Super Tramp' by W H Davies. He now to travel light, taking photographs and recording life as a flâneur.
He is a Fellow of the Art Gallery of Western Australia.
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