“Hello, how soon can you deliver 200 tonnes of concrete, and eight kilometres of chicken wire?”
I’m not getting anywhere fast with this line of questioning, but it’s all for a good cause, I’m trying to organise an icon to draw the tourist dollar.
With the Federal Government handing out swags of cash, I thought now might be the time to push for some bucks to build a tourist trap of magnificent proportions.
It’s one thing to win a swag of tidy town awards (actually, it’s a pretty big thing to win a swag of tidy town awards… and good on us), but sadly being clean is not going to draw the free spending travellers that all our district rivals happen to be clamouring for as well.
What we need is something so stupendously spectacular that the ensuing hue and cry will see at least three or four councillors sacked for gross negligence just for voting in favour of this thing.
It’ll be worth it, trust me! I’m a sucker for those gimmicky roadside tourist draws, we all are. Big Pineapples, Cows, Prawns, Bananas, Sheep, etc. we’ve all got photos tucked away in our albums, with us standing alongside them grinning inanely.
Even Rockhampton in a moment of madness erected a herd of concrete bulls, complete with dangling attachments that have proven very popular with numerous novelty collectors and desperate deviants.
But we can do it better, and bigger. Much Bigger. What about a Big Mudcrab?
Now, I realise that Miriam Vale folk will shake their heads and say it’s already been done. But my response to this is that we in Gladstone will be using our full derriere to construct this icon.
Let’s build something so colossal that the rest of the nation will be stunned, yet curious enough to come here and drive under, walk through and be photographed beside our Big Muddy Mate. Imagine, if you can, a crab so big that it actually hovers over the road, with claws the size of buses splayed out in a menacing way.
Tourists wending their way north and south of our great city will be assailed by a billboard campaign of exacting precision, eg: “Get Crabs in Gladstone” should make for an eye-catching sign. “Nip into Gladstone” could follow it up a few more kilometres down the road.
By the time the family car gets to either of the Gladstone turn-offs, the children in the back seat should be in a foaming mouthed frenzy and pretending to have convulsions until dad turns off the highway to quell the rebellion. I’m a parent, and I know this works. I now have the small throbbing vein in my temple that all fathers get when they drive long distance with children.
Let’s do it Gladstone! Let’s build a colossal concrete structure that will be the talk of the nation. All we need is the concrete, the chicken wire, and one thousand volunteers with a mad glint in their eyes, armed with wheelbarrows, a couple of hundred extension cords and a burning desire to erect a fitting, and enormous, tribute to Our Big Muddy Mate, the true symbol of Gladstone.