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Byron Shire
October 18, 2021

Big Heart for Lismore?

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One of Pete Jackson, aka Roa Dart’s hearts, from Bentley. Photo Marie T. Cameron.

Following the shocking accidental death of Peter Jackson, aka Roa Dart, aka Pothole Pete, in Koonorigan last weekend, there’s been a renewed push for a Big Heart in Lismore.

Hearts and other artivism at Bentley Blockade. Photo Marie T. Cameron.

The heart was Pete Jackson’s signature symbol, and has appeared at the Bentley Blockade, on people’s cars, on top of the Bruxner Highway bridge at Lismore, in Lightning Ridge and innumerable other unlikely places thanks to the secret superhero antics of this local legend.

Although he shied away from the media spotlight, and hated being interviewed or photographed, it was Pete’s colourful pothole artwork on the roads around the Northern Rivers which prevented many accidents and saved even more cars from expensive trips to the mechanic.

Many people have also encountered Pete’s unique take on the world via his painted car bonnets and surreal conversations at markets and blockades.

Time for a big heart?

One of Pete Jackson/Roa Dart’s big hearts at the Tara CSG blockade. Supplied.

Denise Alison, from the popular Humans of Lismore FB page, has recently been revisiting a much-shared post from 2016 in which she said, ‘I am a bit of a dag as I actually like big things in towns such as Ballina’s big prawn, Tamworth’s guitar, the big sheep, even the big banana in Coffs that seemed so big when I was little but now looks like a lady finger. Anyway, I was thinking that Lismore could do with a GIANT heart.

‘Seeing as though we are known as the heart of the Northern Rivers and our little blurb is “Come to the Heart” I think it would be so good to have a massive heart, maybe down at Riverside Park on the hill so you see it as you come over the bridge. Certainly a nice symbol in the world right now.

‘Maybe we could get some creative and handy humans on board and make it a community project. Wouldn’t Pete love it!’

Rare photo of Pete Jackson, in Nimbin. Photo Gwilym Summers.

Denise Alison told Echonetdaily she’s calling council today ‘to get the ball rolling’, and the more people who hear about it, the more likely it will happen.

She sees the idea as a practical, artistic way to remember Peter Jackson.

‘The people in our town have big hearts,’ she said. ‘I see this over and over and I love the idea of people coming to town and getting a photo with our big heart. It’s a nice big thing to be famous for.

‘When people talk about Lismore. Ahh that’s where the big heart is. Wouldn’t that be cool?’

What do you think?

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  1. Absolutely definitely. Recent research has shown that engagement with the arts impacts on mental health, well-being and social inclusion in individuals and the community. Now the fun begins to design the art that meets the wide expectation of the community.

  2. Great idea and can we all carry a can of spray paint to keep up his awesome and life saving pothole painting work? The massive craters in the middle of the busy road north of Nimbin are disgraceful and dangerous and will possibly need a whole can each.

  3. I Support the idea of a Big Heart for Lismore/Nimbin. Many a time I’ve Blessed the person who painted on the roads between Lismore and Nimbin !!! I believe that I have avoided writing the car off/ serious injury or worse because of the painting around the huge potholes on the roads. Yes, Blessed him and thanked the Lord someone had the brains to do this.

  4. Yes that would be fantastic. I agree with you, Denise, people in Lismore generally have great hearts, are generous with compassion, love and time and it would be a fine way of remembering Roa Dart and show him love and compassion

    • By golly his road safety art….saved my poor vehicle on many an occasion on the road to Blue Knob and Nimbin. I have sent many thanks to him over the years. Love ya Pete.

  5. Is anyone going to take over Pete’s job of highlighting potholes? Rather than a waste-of-money “Big Heart”, I’m sure Peter would have preferred to see some proper road work done. His aim was to draw attention to the appalling state & willful neglect of certain roadways especially around The Channon. I can so see Council making a big show of some kind of cheapskate “heart” memorial rather than actually attending to the poor state of our roads.

  6. Fantastic idea. I’m sure Pete would be thrilled to be remembered this way. A Big Heart deserves recognition. Says good things about this special community too. Maybe a Working Bee to put it together.

  7. I think a Big Heart in Lismore is a lovely idea. Wouldn’t Pete be amazed? I’m all for it, and I’m also all for the council lifting their game when it comes to fixing the roads! Stop wasting money chasing the pot smokers and start spending money fixing the pot holes.

  8. I think this is a great idea, Pete highlighted dangers on the road and also on corners or bends that were not well lit and often had trees to hit if you were unfortunate enough to come off the road in that place. So I’m wondering if the Big Heart should be on a bend or corner that is potentially dangerous to alert by reflecting a bend or corner. Vale Pete!

  9. Do Both! Big Heart and potholes attended too so Pete”s dedication to his community and saving lives is recognised since his very tragic departure. Vale and RIP Pete.


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