FOR one special day, Katherine has been renamed Tom Curtain in honour of the winner of the Northern Territory Hat Yak tourism competition.
The town’s new name was unveiled on the morning of Monday May 20 by Katherine Mayor Fay Miller and Tourism Minister Malarndirri McCarthy. The presentation took place beside the Stuart Highway where the ‘Katherine’ lettering is usually displayed upon its familiar sign.
The Hat Yak competition involved the distribution of 100 Akubra hats which travelled almost 40,000km as they were passed on from Territorian to Territorian, each of whom recorded their own special story.
As a renowned Katherine country singer and horse breaker, Mr Curtain’s winning entry was of course delivered in song, while sitting on his five year old horse Legend, which obligingly lay down for the performance.
The town of Katherine will bear Mr Curtain’s name for a day, and his prize also includes travel to Alice Springs, Uluru and Darwin, spending two days in each, with flights, accommodation and transport included.
Minister McCarthy said that renaming the town after winner for the day is the ‘money can’t buy’ first prize in the Hat Yak stakes.
“The competition provided an online platform for Territorians to share their personal stories about life in the Territory, and it attracted hundreds of entries in the three months it ran,” she said.
Mr Curtain said he would probably have a few beers over the new sign to savour the moment. Glancing at his name emblazoned on the familiar monument however, he acknowledged “It is a bit weird isn’t it?”
Minister McCarthy said the Hat Yak competition had been a huge success, and could feasibly become an annual fixture.
“Yes, we’ll look at doing it again ... We were looking to be innovative and creative.
"This has been a wonderful opportunity to showcase Katherine by doing something different and quirky.”
To see other Territorians’ stories, visit http://hatyak.com .