A new piece of public sculpture in Australia’s most popular seaside tourist spot has left several elderly residents hospitalised with shock.
Two ladies from the local Christian Women’s Temperance League and Book Club fainted dead away when their car approached the sculpture the day after it had mysteriously appeared recently without fanfare on the outskirts of Byron Bay. Both are still slipping in and out of consciousness at the relatively new Byron Central Hospital.
Luckily, neither was at the wheel but Gladys Buckridge, 81, the league’s honorary secretary/treasurer who was, told The Bug she only just managed to keep her Kia sedan on the road after becoming very lightheaded herself.
“My tummy’s still a bit iffy but I’m doing much better than Mavis (the league’s long-term president) and Beryl (the league’s other member).
“We had taken the coast road down to Aldi at Ballina to buy everything we needed to bake for a church lamington drive and thought we’d come back up the main highway just for a change of scenery. Well, we turned into the road towards Byron and then we encountered it. I just couldn’t believe anyone with an ounce of Christianity could have erected such a thing!
“Oh, my goodness, did I just say ‘erect’? I am so, so sorry. Please forgive me.”
But perhaps Gladys isn’t far off the mark. Since its unveiling several weeks ago at a roundabout leading into the town packed over the Christmas/New Year period with mainly young visitors seeking sunshine, sand, surf and sex, the public artwork has been described as a large, see-through metal penis or more bluntly ‘the steel dick’, ‘the shiny schlong’, and the ‘tinselled todger’.
“Whatever it’s called, I think it’s horrid, simply horrid,” Gladys said.
“When we first saw it, Mavis shouted out ‘Burt!’ moments before she fainted dead away, the poor thing. Burt was her dear husband but he’s been gone for almost 20 years now. She’s still calling out ‘Burt!” from her hospital bed.”