A Gunnedah woman says the memory of Dorothea Mackellar has been treated with “total disregard” by the erection of a fence close to the town’s monument of the renowned Australian poet.
Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society member Philippa Murray says the proximity of the fence, part of the boundary of the redeveloped pool complex, was a “desecration” of the statue.
Ms Murray wants to see Gunnedah Shire Council either move the fence or relocate the statue to the other side of the road, outside The Mackellar Centre, and said she was in talks with them.
A council spokesperson said: “Council has heard Dorothea Mackellar Society’s concerns and will stay in close communication with the group about the issue.”
“We see it as a desecration of a monument,” Ms Murray said:
“There’s been total disregard for it.
“It’s terribly important and it should be treated with the respect and reverence it deserves.”
It looks like we have no regard for our history or our culture.Philippa Murray, Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society
Ms Murray said the 35-year-old monument was “erected through public subscription, so it’s not just something a few people put up”.
“It’s a monument to Dorothea Mackellar and I don’t know of anything of that substantial nature in the country,” she said.
Ms Murray said the society had not been consulted and had “no knowledge” the fencing would be installed so close to the statue.
“I think for our civic leaders to let this happen is a great shame,” she said.
“It looks like we have no regard for our history or our culture.
“How they can use an iconic statue in promotional materials crowded up by a two-metre fence, I don’t know.”
One section of the fence runs on top of the path around the statue and Ms Murray said she doubted a wheelchair could pass between the fence and statue.
“It goes against all the edicts of parks and gardens open space policies,” she said.