Belinda Cipriano - even her name is Quintessentially Cockburn!

Telling stories has been a lifelong compulsion for Port Coogee author and journalist Belinda Cipriano.

The daughter of Portuguese immigrants Francisco and Pureza (nee Rebelo-Correia) from the village of Madalena do Mar on the island of Madeira – made famous by footballer Cristiano Ronaldo – Belinda’s Quintessentially Cockburn roots go back decades.

She spent years at Phoenix Primary School, where her mentor was its longest-standing teacher, the late Sir Ronald Addison. These were inevitably followed by high school at the former Hamilton Senior campus, and she’s mates with our previous Quintessentially Cockburn inductees Marissa Verma and Soa Palelei.

“Marissa and I went to Hamilton Senior High School together and Soa taught me Tae Bo at the local gym!” Belinda said.

“I was actually born in Freo but mum and dad moved down the road to Cockburn when I was about three so Cockburn has been home to me for decades. I still live here. It’s my home.”

If you weren’t served by Belinda during her 10-year high school job at Big W Phoenix Park, you’ve no doubt read her articles in newspapers Perth-wide, seen her on Nine Perth's The Pulse, with Fred Mafrica on Foxtel's The Couch or heard her chatting on 6PR for What's On In Perth.

But it’s her latest projects that have really captured the imagination of Belinda and fellow story lovers.

She published her first children’s picture book Constance and Madeleine’s Seaside Adventure in June 2020, followed by her second, The Adventures of Frankie and his Fantabulous Football, in 2022.

The first is inspired by her maternal grandmother, Constantina, whom she met in Madeira in 1995, deepening her ties with Portugal ever since, and the second was motivated by her footballer father Francisco.

“In 2022 I was invited to be one of two Australian councillors for the Madeiran Diaspora - representing the Madeiran community, including those in Cockburn, on a global scale. It's an honour and a privilege,” Belinda said.

“I got into journalism to share stories and report the news but what I was most passionate about was giving people a voice who may otherwise not have one. I guess it's the same as this new role as an Australian councillor for the Madeiran Diaspora.”

So what was life like growing up in Spearwood in the 80s and 90s for Belinda.

“Being of Portuguese background, we had everything – fresh fruit and veg and every animal my dad could rescue at the time,” she said.

“I think we ended up with a couple of goats, a pig, a few birds, rabbits and numerous dogs over the journey. It was a lot, but such a fun childhood.

“Our street, which my parents still live in today, was very multicultural. Everyone knew each other. That's the beauty of Cockburn, despite its population, it's a tight community.”

We asked Belinda her favourite place to visit in Cockburn and why.

“I know when I need some time-out I can find peace at my favourite spot in the world – the beach! We are so lucky to have the best beaches in our backyard in Cockburn,” she said.

“Coogee or Woodies, either are great. Having grown up near water, I remember our summers were always spent on the beach.

“As kids, mum and dad would pack us a picnic and head to Woodman Point for the day. As we got older and into our teenage years, my sisters and I would gather our friends after school and swim until the sun set.

“There really is nothing better. It's my happy place and I will never tire of it.” 

Read about our previous Quintessentially Cockburn inductees Soa ‘The Hulk’ PaleleiMarissa Verma, Matt Willson and Anna Davey.

WHAT’S NEWS: You told us you wanted more grassroots news about what’s happening in your backyard here in the City of Cockburn.

We've created dedicated spaces on the City’s website where the community can access the latest news about what’s going on across the City’s 23 suburbs.

You can also read our media releases, responses to questions from media outlets, check out a weekly news wrap of some of the news stories impacting Cockburn, and learn about City events.

Plus in a newsy segment called Quintessentially Cockburn, we prepare regular feature articles about some of our unique, iconic Cockburnalities and those fascinating movers and shakers making their names known in our City and further afield. 

To stay connected with Cockburn, be sure to bookmark this helpful News from the City page on our website.

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Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
Ngalak kaditj boodjar kep wer kaadidjiny kalyakool yoodaniny, wer koora wer yeyi ngalak Birdiya koota-djinanginy.

City of Cockburn acknowledges the Nyungar people of Beeliar boodja. Long ago, now and in the future they care for Country.
We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past and present.