What is the Gympie council really saying about us?
APPARENTLY, we are not good enough, even for our own council.
Gympie is on the nose, according to a proposed tourism strategy being considered by the Gympie Regional Council, an organisation which sometimes seems to have difficulty leaving its snobby neo-Noosa prejudices behind.
The Gympie Gold Mining and Historical Museum would become the Australian Heritage Village and Museum;
The historic Scottish Mine would be the Australian Scottish Mine; and
The Gympie Woodworks Museum would be renamed the Australian Woodworks and Transport Museum.
Seriously, this is what will happen if councillors rubber stamp the report, as they often enough do. Apparently "Gympie" does not have the necessary marketing "zing". Nor does "Queensland".
We recently heard this sort of fashionable inner-urban prejudice from the pitiful residents of cockroach- infested inner-Sydney. Bitter about an election result which shows they do not get to run the country on their own, they dismiss Queensland, we are led to believe, as home to rednecks and hillbillies.
My response is this: "Who cares?" Gympie is Gympie - a name the people chose. It was changed from Nashville by popular demand at a time when James Nash was away in Britain.
Do you really think New York City worries about people criticising its crime rate? And if you say anything about Chicago's ganster past, someone from over there might just put you at the bottom of some prime American landfill.
We should be proud to be labelled "Helltown." It came from an article in Penthouse magazine a long time ago and was written by someone later jailed for the kind of sex offences he accused Gympie people of being involved in.
Who cares about him? And what are council staff doing reading back issues of men's magazines anyway - in our time.
Gympie, city and region, has an identity, arising from the reality that it is a really nice place, one with values and traditions and industries and some of the most unassumingly nice people you would ever meet. Let us not give ourselves away in some desperate campaign to be like everybody else, to be generic and Home Brand and inoffensively bland, for the mass market.
We shouldn't have to call our community Surrey Hills, or Noosa, or even Australia, to please people we don't even know and probably don't need to. Otherwise, why not jettison the name Gympie altogether and call our local authority the Australian Regional Council?