City split over name change bid


Bitter divisions have erupted in the north Queensland city of Townsville over whether its name should change in the wake of mass Black Lives Matter protests around Australian and throughout the world.

Townsville was named in the 1860s after Robert Towns, a British master mariner who settled in Australia where he became a businessman, sandalwood merchant, colonist, shipowner, pastoralist, politician and, rather unfortunately it now seems, a Coolie and Kanaka slave trader.

Kanakas were workers from various Pacific Islands forceably brought to Australia in the 18th and early 19th Centuries to work as slaves or on very poor wages on the fledgling sugar industry. Coolies, largely Chinese, were often treated the same way, with nil or poor wages.

The Bug understands a large overnight meeting in the old Townsville mall descended into a shouting match with the occasional fist thrown as residents fell naturally into two distinct groups: those happy to let history stand and proud of their city’s name; others demanding a name change to better reflect the contemporary views of city residents on racial issues.

With cries of “political correctness gone wrong!” and “We love you Pauline!” the meeting voted narrowly 423 to seven to retain the name Townsville after hardliners failed in an amendment to use Roberttownsslavertraderville instead.

The meeting called for the city council to erect a large, illuminated and revolving statue of Towns on the summit of the city’s landmark Castle Hill “to match in size and impact Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro” and to display on the road winding up the hill replicas of the many statues of racist identities toppled or removed in cities elsewhere in the world.

Some at last night’s meeting made an early and controversial, but ultimately unsuccessful, push for the city to abandon the Townsville name and instead recognise local NRL legend with the names Jonathanville or Thurstonberg.

The idea was put forward by a young unidentified Aboriginal man in a North Queensland Cowboys jersey who this morning was reported to be in a mostly stable condition in Townsville General Hospital, considering that was where most of him was taken.