Rid­ers rally as Woody axed

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Front Page - War­ren Hately

The re­gion’s moun­tain bik­ers are up­set that the first in a planned se­ries of chain­saw sculp­tures through lo­cal trails was de­stroyed last week due to “cul­tural sen­si­tiv­ity”.

The carv­ing of “Woody” by Ian Th­waites was vol­un­tar­ily axed by the lo­cal wood­work artist and teacher on in­struc­tions from the De­part­ment of Bio­di­ver­sity, Con­ser­va­tion and At­trac­tions.

Nu­mer­ous moun­tain bik­ers — only some of whom were Mar­garet River Off-Road Cy­cling As­so­ci­a­tion mem­bers — re­jected as­ser­tions the Th­waites sculp­ture imi­tated Easter Is­land heads, as claimed by the DBCA.

Rid­ers said the DBCA had of­fered no con­sul­ta­tion or solid ex­pla­na­tion for the de­ci­sion.

They said the sculp­ture was not an Easter Is­land head, nor did it re­fer to Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture.

Rid­ers were hor­ri­fied at sug­gest- ions Woody was racist and said if they had had the chance to ex­plain the art­work, a so­lu­tion could have been found.

In­stead, plans to in­stall more sculp­tures through trails around Wharn­cliffe Mill are in doubt due to the DBCA act­ing on the com­plaint by a lo­cal el­der.

The DBCA did not re­spond to Times ques­tions about the process be­hind the de­ci­sion.

“DBCA is aware of the con­struc­tion of a Moai carv­ing in Wood­itjup Na­tional Park by mem­bers of MRORCA,” a spokes­woman said.

“The Moai are mono­lithic hu­man fig­ures carved by the Rapa Nui peo­ple on Easter Is­land.

“DBCA ad­vised MRORCA to re­move the carv­ing as it was done with­out ap­proval from the land man­ager and is cul­tur­ally of­fen­sive to the tra­di­tional own­ers.”

Wadandi el­der Wayne Webb and MRORCA did not re­spond to

Times en­quiries be­fore dead­line.

The re­gion’s MTB Guide, run by Travis Dean, took a light­hearted chop at the de­ci­sion, with a video on its Facebook page mourn­ing Woody’s demise.

“Some­times it is bet­ter to laugh than to cry,” the post said.

“It was a great ad­di­tion to the Wharn­cliffe Mill trails in Mar­garet River.”

Woody by Ian Th­waites.

Moun­tain bik­ers pose with Woody.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.