In this week's Letters to the Editor, Edith claims neglect, white elephants were 'no feat of novelty' - they were a a silent rogue's attempt to harness public art and 'over-zealous authority'.
Silent rogue's white elephants is 'no feat of novelty'
Your article 'Calling out the elephants in the room' refers to the affixing of plasterboard white elephants to two public spaces in Katherine as an act that "could be labeled politically driven civil disobedience".
Respectfully, I think it is so much more - public art is becoming a growing cultural feature of the Katherine Township; one has to look no further than the commissioned murals which adorn the once empty walls of Railway Terrace.
To borrow from Robert Hughes, undoubtedly the most influential art critic in recent memory, examination of contemporary art often involves asking oneself whether the subject work is "just a little feat of novelty, or whether it has something fresh and vital to say".
Aesthetic beauty aside, the vitality of the murals to local residents, I would hope, is acceptably clear: they act to artistically commemorate deserving community leaders and preserve their prevailing legacies for future generations.
They are no 'feat of novelty' - and as a result, the influence of public art (as a social medium) is at the forefront of cultural thinking in Katherine.
The affixing of the two white elephants is, I think, a silent rogue's attempt to harness (and perhaps further) the growingly preeminent role of public art in Katherine - a well thought out comment on social media, no matter the envisaged number of 'likes' or 'retweets', was clearly insufficient in the eyes of the artist.
In this way, I think Saturday morning's events were much more than 'politically driven civil disobedience'.
Edith residents left in the lurch
Katherine Town Council, I live in your cash cow area of Edith. We, the landowners out here, pay the same rates as those in town. We have neither curb, gutters or street lighting and all road maintenance is the responsibility of NT Government.
So, I ask where is our money spent? You visited us once as requested to discuss the issue of waste management out here. We suggested a skip bin out here that could be emptied weekly.
You suggested a ridiculous amount to pay for this service. As you already get $1,214.75 for nothing we declined to pay more. It was pointed out to us that for our rates we got the use of town parks (as does every visitor).
Visitors also have bins conveniently placed about town for their use without payment.
Showing how much you really did care you suggested a skip bin being placed at the tourist dump point in Katherine. This you did for a time but then removed because you said builders were using it. (Perhaps a camera would have been a deterrent).
Two wheelie bins were then in place, but recently have been removed. Next, we were permitted to use skip bin at the Council Civic Centre.
Then we received a letter of apology stating because the use of the skip bin at Civic Centre by members of public is a potential breach of the Waste Management and Pollution Control Act 1998, it would also have to be removed.
Potential? Did you check? So, for residents of Edith, nothing.
After seeing ridiculous use of the NT Government beatification grant I can only hope the next council election will result in a completely new group of alderman.
A. J. Roser
Game, set, match for over-zealous authority
Jim 'the Waving Man' Ashworth seems to have met his match in the form of government regulation. It is a sad ending and serves only to diminish the community.
I agree with the recent correspondence in support of Mr Ashworth. In particular, the well written letter by Jim King. However, much of the disapproval about the decision to regulate Mr Ashworth may result from our own internal and conflicting view we have of ourselves and the reality of who we are as a nation.
Unfortunately, the old Australian larrikin spirit and disregard for over-zealous authority is disappearing like brumbies over the hills. Incrementally, Australia has become a nation of risk averse organisations and of individuals unwilling to take responsibility for our own actions and accept the results when things go pear shaped. Unable to acknowledge that the optimal way to build resilience and capacity in dealing with risk lies in the structured exposure to risk itself, we have been sucked into a relentless and futile crusade toward a zero risk environment, reducing life to a sterile dystopia.
It follows then, that if a society is unwilling to take responsibility for itself, its government surely will. Thus we have arrived at this juncture and it is largely our own fault.
But what of feasible compromises that may enable Jim Ashworth to continue? Here's a couple. Install a simple roadside thoroughfare behind Jim's tree, with some temporary signage to indicate cars coming back onto the road.
And it need not cost the earth. Given the low volume of traffic, a cracker dust base would be sufficient. Further, DIPL could either waive (no pun intended) or conveniently "misplace" Jim's permit requirement. Surely this is a case where a special allowance is possible.
Jim's presence on the highway and his indefatigable wave have become part of the fabric of Katherine. The prospect of losing both should stir us to question what sort of society we want to live in.