A group of local men took part in a silent protest at the McGregor’s Family Carnival in Brunswick Heads on Saturday over a sexualised image of a woman painted on one of the rides.
The eight men, aged between 17 and 65, stood in a line in front of the ‘Stars’ ride, which depicts model and actress Liz Hurley standing in a provocative pose wearing a bra and suspenders.
The men were representing a group of concerned locals who have been calling for the image to be changed on the grounds that it objectifies women and should not be displayed in a place designed for children and adolescents.
Local father Jeremy Ball, who took part in the protest, said he and others objected to the message the image sent to local kids.
‘I took my two daughters who are 11 and 12 to the ride last year and I just felt uncomfortable about them seeing that image, particularly as they’re coming into puberty,’ Mr Ball said.
‘I don’t want them, or my son, or other local kids to be subjected to an image that depicts women and the feminine in that way.’
‘This is our way of saying that we want the image changed and also that it’s okay for a man to stand up when something affects women in a negative way.’
But the carnival owner Glen McGregor rejected any suggestion that the image was inappropriate or offensive.
Mr McGregor said his family had operated the ride all year round throughout the country and had never had an issue outside of Brunswick Heads.
‘We have been coming to Brunswick Heads for 62 years and we consider Bruns to be our second home,’ Mr McGregor said.
‘I feel we are part of Brunswick Heads’ summer culture.
‘I would also like to thank the community for their overwhelming and ongoing support.’
The protest is the latest chapter in an ongoing disagreement over the image.
A number of locals have asked Mr McGregor to paint over or remove the picture of Ms Hurley in recent years.
One asked the Department of Crown Lands, which has responsibility for the site, to intervene, but it refused to do so – reportedly telling the woman the image was ‘inoffensive’.
The Echo understands that, in response to the complaints Mr McGregor added a light coat of white paint to the partially cover Ms Hurley’s breasts.
But this was not enough for locals who want it changed completely.
‘It’s an improvement from last year, but it’s still using the lure of sexuality,’ Mr Ball said.
‘Imagine how good it would be if there were an Indigenous mural painted on there? I think it would actually encourage a lot more parents to take their kids down there and spend more money.’