Moscow’s mango madness
content with Bowen being the brindle pig dog capital of the world, Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Michael ‘‘ Moscow’’ Brunker now claims it is the mango capital of the universe. This is despite the fact that a Collinsville coal miner who has lost a few digits through some bad timing with detonating cord could count the mango trees around Bowen these days on one hand. Cr Brunker has fired a salvo at Rockhampton after it claimed the title of state mango capital. He says the first mango tree in Queensland was planted at Bowen. We’d like to think that some painstaking research has gone into the mayor’s assertion, but it’s unlikely it has been put through the PhD wringer. The spin cycle’s more like it.
As far as Mayor Moscow is concerned, Rocky should be happy with being the state’s beef capital and that when it comes to mangoes, Vegas should go take a cold shower. The late, breaking news is that when it comes to the mango capital of North Queensland, that honour could well fall to Cardwell. Rocky, being in Central Queensland, might be able to lay claim to the state honour, but when it comes to the North, Bowen is left eating trail dust behind Cardwell. Townsville historian Dr Dorothy Gibson-Wilde thinks it entirely possible that pioneering botanist John Dallachy planted the first northern mango way back in the early 1860s. Dr Gibson-Wilde says that Rocky had an acclimatisation garden for plants from which Dallachy might well have obtained his trees.
Cr Brunker is mighty proud of the Big Mango sculpture on Bowen’s southern approach. But the Big Mango is a false god, a graven image. Bowen’s mango fantasy is built on a wafer-thin foundation of myth and imagination. The town, way back in its Port Denison days, had the first brindle pig dogs, not mangoes, dammit. What they should have on the highway on the town’s southern outskirts is a fivemetre high bust of a brindle pig dog. They could have a sign underneath: ‘‘ Slasher, first brindle pig dog in Australia, 1864. RIP’’. That’d get the job done. Historical accuracy. Is that too much to ask?
FALSE GOD: Bowen’s Big Mango