It’s our Elephant
In 2015, a life-sized African elephant sculpture — born from the remains of seven crashed cars — first appeared in Narrogin. Since then, RAC’s Elephant in the Wheatbelt has been on a mission to highlight the elephant in the room; the unacceptable silence surrounding road trauma.
The Wheatbelt road fatality rate is 11 times higher than Perth, with the long-term impact of road deaths and serious injuries ripping through the hearts of local communities and leaving families grief-stricken.
Having spent a decade in the Wheatbelt, I have witnessed this first-hand.
In recent years, the Elephant has spread its safety message to schools, community events and local shows across all corners of the Wheatbelt. From Northam to Southern Cross, Wagin to Dalwallinu. During its travels, the Elephant has inspired thousands of conversations, shining a light on local heroes along the way.
Throughout its journey, the Elephant has dispelled many myths. Some of these have been confronting, including that two thirds of people killed on Wheatbelt roads are in fact local residents, and that most Wheatbelt crashes are caused by deliberate driver choices, such as speeding, drink driving, distraction and not wearing a seatbelt.
To keep conversations alive, a new children’s storybook — ‘My Family, The Elephant and Me’ — was delivered to local primary schools and community resource centres earlier this year. Coinciding with the book deliveries, six unique road safety murals were commissioned and painted across the region.
The Wheatbelt has embraced our Elephant with open arms, and on behalf of everyone at RAC I thank you for letting us into your towns and for bringing these important discussions into your communities.
RAC’s Elephant in the Wheatbelt started a long-overdue discussion about the devastating impacts of road trauma. Our hope is it remains an enduring reminder of road safety for generations to come.
There is an elephant in everyone’s community, this is our elephant. We must continue to work together to save lives and stop serious injuries on our roads.