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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

tidy town « Previous | |Next »
December 30, 2007

There's some wild and woolly weather going on at the Gold Coast at the moment. It's making the place untidy, which is something we don't tolerate around these parts. You can think the ugliest of thoughts, behave as badly as you like, beat the crap out of your family and anyone else you don't like, and amass several fortunes ripping off first home buyers and other innocents. Just don't let your lawn get out of hand. The front lawn - we don't care about the back unless it can be seen from the street.

And no overt signs of poverty either, thanks. We don't do poverty here. It's untidy.

We've even got a nifty dobbing system that works along the lines of name and shame. If you notice someone's lawn getting a bit unkempt you can email On Our Watch at the Gold Coast Bulletin (News Ltd, who else?) and they'll publish the details with a photo if it's untidy enough, along with the name and address of the perpetrator where possible. It's a successful campaign. The paper devotes a whole page to a parade of horror.

For the past two weeks we've been scandalised by "the notorious A-frame house of Hope Island". Hope Island is a developing cluster of new canal and golf course estates being built on old farm land. It's certainly no place for a timber A-frame. Thank goodness "finally the unwanted landmark is being dismantled".

There's nothing organic or human about the way the Gold Coast is growing. Developers buy chunks of land and cram as many houses onto it as possible. There could be as many as four designs potential owners can choose from. They come landscaped, tidy and new and they're apparently supposed to stay that way.

Anything over 10 years old is advertised in real estate brochures as quaint, renovator's dream or land plus free house. Brand new is good. New is OK. Newish is borderline and established is overdue for demolition. Bunnings is the place to be seen if you're not promenading around the tourist strip or playing a round of golf. They have lovely big trolleys at Bunnings.

Which is another problem according to On Our Watch. "Shopping trolleys mar our suburban streets". "Surely someone must be responsible for gathering the abandoned shopping trolleys marring our suburbs at the moment". Somebody might mistake all that marring for evidence of human life.

There's a "rising tide of rubbish" in our canals and our bus stops are looking "a bit scruffy" because the council doesn't pick up the garbage we throw in the water, or install bike stands at bus stops. The whole place is going to hell in a handcart.

Our well manicured, brand new and spotlessness is being overrun by a plague of unsightly messiness. Thank goodness for the vigilance of On Our Watch, fearlessly exposing the unacceptable and monstrous. Appearance is everything.

| Posted by Lyn at 3:04 PM | | Comments (9)


Why aren't the suburban lawns dying off? I thought that there were water shortages and restrictions in SE Queensland? So how come people are still watering their lawns? Are they breaking the law to keep the front lawns looking nice and tidy?

I presume that 'wild and woolly weather going on at the Gold Coast at the moment' is a reference to cyclones moving further south in Queensland. They no longer stop at Mackay.

My lawn and garden is equal to the best it has ever looked and it is only watered by the rain.
No visible signs of drought here.
Even the lawns in Brisbane are coming back to normal.

Some people have spear pumps and use ground water, plenty have tanks, but none need them at the moment. We haven't had a lot of rain, but there's been enough to keep the place green. And in this place, at this time of year, if you take a tea break from watching the grass grow you can miss some serious action.

However the malevolent streak in me is happy to report that palms are dying off at a rate of knots. Some weevil or other is killing them all. I never understood why, in this climate, people would plant the equivalent of telegraph poles when there is a real need for shade. Little in life is as useless as a palm tree on a hot day. And they drop fruit and leaves everywhere, which is untidy.

As I understand it the cyclone isn't as threatening this far south as the massive front further down the coast. We've been warned of swells from 4 to 8 metres, depending where you get your info. The front won't blow itself out when it hits land like a cyclone does. There's little rain so far, but ridiculous gusting winds, up to 90 km/h depending where you get your info. There's a kind of chain effect coming down the coast but, pending advice from Les, I'd guess that at this time of year when we get King tides it's not brilliant to be getting big swells as well even further inland.

As far as cyclones go, it's unusual, but not unheard of, for them to come this far south. Older people around here remember taping up the windows and gathering the family around something sturdy. The real worry is the population surge from places where people don't know what to do. We've had the summer advertisements warning of storms, telling people to put batteries in the torch and wireless, but that's meaningless if you've never experienced really wild weather.

I am more concerned at the moment of beach erosion. I have been watching the coast cams today.

On Our Watch - how bl**dy frigtening.
Thankfully this rot hasn't moved south of the border.

We've had fairly regular falls here in Canberra which has meant mowing the lawn three times in the past month, which is more than i had mowed in the preceding 5 months. it's also meant i haven't had to water my tomato plants that are now just started to produce fruit.

On Our Watch is an appalling idea that fosters homogenization and encourages intolerance. i hope that the tendency for these cultural attitudes become socially unacceptable now that Howard isn't around to defend it.

I presume a difference is being made on the Gold Coast between the high rise apartments and the suburban households with their lawns. The high rise is the city which is becoming more than a tourist town. It is becoming a city in its own right that is forever in boom time.

I also presume that, with the region's population growth of 3.5 per cent per annum is largely due to those migrating from southern states, On Our Watch is a way to police the low income families moving up to PARADISE.

The ‘bush’ branding of Australia under the Howard regime belied the highly urbanised
nature of Australia-exemplified by the Gold Coast.

kez, I don't think the end of Howard will make any difference. This place is proudly conservative, although it seems to confuse conservatism with rigidity and intolerance. Strangely, the intolerance only goes for appearances. As long as everything looks nice it's presumed everything is nice. We hide some quite disturbing stuff behind clipped lawns and fresh paint.


The thing the city and the newer suburbs have in common is a sense of unreality. Forever on holidays as Les said. A perpetual luxury resort.

On top of the migration we also have a very high birthrate, a lot of it teenage parents. People worry that the infrastructure won't cope with migration, but we don't talk about how many grandparents end up raising their grandkids because the teenage parents couldn't cope.

On Our Watch has only been going for 3 weeks, but it seems to concentrate on monitoring the better suburbs. Tourist buses and the silver taxi service don't travel through poorer areas. Seriously. The silver taxi service will take you the shortest possible route to your destination via only the best suburbs.