We Gladstonians are very good at waiting. In fact, we’re famous for it, particularly if the title of our towns’ history book is any indication: “Gladstone… City that Waited.”
We’ve been waiting for things to happen here ever since Captain O’Connell landed up to his knee-caps in mud at Barney Point in 1854 and announced to the astonished natives that they were now, a) Ruled by the British Empire, and b) Evicted.
Then, without submitting an environmental impact assessment, O’Connell set about making radical changes to the countryside and harbour foreshores, and handing out high paying jobs to the huge workforce of Sail In Sail Out workers, aka: SISO’s (the original ‘blow ins’).
Those early settlers had to put up with a serious shortage of food, housing, schools and pubs. Water charges were steep, and their roads were little better than heavily pot-holed tracks. Sailing ships took days to deliver supplies, before returning to Brisbane loaded with tonnes of bureaucratic paperwork, and, if there was room, anyone who needed urgent medical attention.
Meanwhile the government of the day increased taxes, backstabbed each other, granted themselves pay increases, and bickered over trifling issues. How things have changed!
Today our goodies are loaded onto fleets of fast moving trucks and trains in Brisbane and sent to far flung locations before arriving here, much-battered and worse for wear, several weeks later. And nowadays, any Gladstone residents who need medical help are no longer sailed to Brisbane; instead they are carted over a heavily pot-holed track to Rockhampton.
And while we wait for a hospital upgrade, dredging of the Boyne River mouth, affordable housing, and funding to make the Calliope Crossroads marginally safer than competing in a demolition derby, the government waits for another major corporation to cough up the cash, while increasing taxes, backstabbing each other, giving themselves pay increases, and bickering over trifling issues eg: a tax on hot air, and superfast internet.
So we wait to see what impact the carbon tax will have on our community, as frustrated geeks, and porn addicts, wait with eager anticipation for the NBN rollout (only ten years guys, hang on!). Meanwhile, the rest of us are doing what we can to make Gladstone a better place to live in; perhaps someone is busily compiling another history book on our city? If so, may I suggest the following title: “Gladstone… City That’s Still Bl#*dy Waiting.”