An honour bestowed by a municipality upon a valued member of the community, or upon a visiting celebrity or dignitary. Arising from the medieval practice of granting respected citizens freedom from serfdom, the tradition still lives on in countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand – although today the title of "freeman" confers no special privileges.
Don F Miguel OAM JP
Don Miguel served the Cockburn community as a Councillor and Mayor from 1965 until 1993. His tenure began when Cockburn was still part of Fremantle Roads Board, through its evolution to a shire, a town, and later to a city. He became inaugural Mayor of the City of Cockburn when the former town, of which he was also Mayor, attained city status on October 26 1979. Don was Mayor for 14 years, successfully contesting an annual vote by his fellow Elected Members, and retained this position until he retired from Council in 1993. He previously spent seven years as Deputy Mayor.
On 15 May 1984, Mr Miguel was named Honorary Freeman of the City in recognition of his dedicated service to the Cockburn district.
A fitter and turner by trade, he is a descendent of Angel de San Miguel, an orphan believed raised by Benedictine Monks. With Bishop Salvado, he arrived in Fremantle as a 21 year old in 1869 from Vittoria, Spain on a passenger ship called Robert Morrison. According to WA Museum records, Angel came to WA to work as a stonemason at New Norcia, but he soon left the Benedictine Monastery to work in Fremantle and Guildford before settling on a 100 acre grant at a Cockburn Sound location named Hope Valley. He married Mary (Green) Postans, the daughter of neighbouring settlers George and Maud Postans (nee Tonkin), and had 14 children.
Don grew up in Beaconsfield and Fremantle but spent countless hours at his mother’s Hope Valley farm. He was ably supported in his dedication to civic duty by his wife June, also a highly respected member of the Cockburn community.
Cockburn has bestowed the rare honour of Freeman five times in its history. The honour recognises local nominees who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment by making an extensive and distinguished contribution to the community, beyond local government activities, for a significant period of time.
People previously named Freeman of the City in Cockburn:
- Mayor Ray Lees, JP, (dec)
- Councillor Wally Hagan, OAM, JP, (dec)
- Mayor Alan Thomas, JP, (dec)
- Mayor Joseph (Joe) Cooper, JP (dec)