Monday, September 21, 2009

Mansfield Snark

Some people might say that Australia have a habit of celebrating its criminals and ignoring the rest, but those people have obviously never seen the gentlemen's public toilets in Mansfield, Victoria. They're proudly dedicated to the three troopers who were shot in the pursuit of the bushranger, Ned Kelly. After dying in the service of law and order, who wouldn't want to be commemorated by having a little plaque stuck up on a public toilet? Think about that next time you urinate. 

Right next to the public toilets is a roundabout, and right in the middle of the roundabout is what can only be described as a 'monument', dedicated to more ill-fated troopers who went after some other  bushranger. The monument is in fact a Grecian column. With what looks like flowers, and curtains, and scrolls on the side. And what appears to be a tea pot on the top. ('That's an urn, Timothy', said Mum when I ventured the tea pot theory out loud.) Such works of public art raise profound questions (quite aside from 'what the hell does it mean?'): is this supposed to be realism? I was conjuring up visions of a period of history when ancient Greeks would draw back curtains before the wondering eyes of their fellow citizens to unveil tea pots, balanced precariously atop a Grecian column. 

Well, Mum and I walked around the monument in a bemused fashion a couple of times, and then went back to the car. "The least they could do is have a monument in European style, with an important little man on a horse flourishing a sword or something in the air," I said. 

And that is the last thing that I have to say for the moment about the pleasant little town of Mansfield, Victoria.

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