Despite advice, Kiama Council is to continue its campaign to retain the ANZAC Centenary logo on the Lighthouse indefinitely. The final decision on the matter will be up to Crown Lands.
With eight councillors present at the June Council meeting, it took the casting vote of Mayor Mark Honey to retain Council’s decision at its previous meeting.
Councillors had been recommended to rescind the original motion, given Crown Land’s advised reluctance to approve Council’s request on the basis of heritage concerns, including from the National Trust and Lighthouses of Australia (reported in our last issue).
The Mayor and Councillors Way, Steel and Reilly staunchly defended keeping the logo, despite an original commitment that it would only remain for the period of the Centenary.
“It has become a real symbol for Kiama people,” said Councillor Mark Way.
“I hope we will carry the day for the RSL and that it will remain there for all those people who have served and all those people who appreciate it.
“If they want to take us on, then let’s fix bayonets and take them on.”
Putting it in a more measured way, Mayor Honey said, “I don’t see this as a battle we shouldn’t fight.”
Councillor Sloan saw it differently, “We entered into an agreement in good faith after a lot of discussion and I think we should stick to it.”
Ian Clifford, President of Lighthouses of Australia and a Kiama local, agrees.
“We are disappointed Kiama Council and Kiama-Jamberoo RSL Sub-branch has reneged on the agreement that the logo would be removed at the end of the four year commemorative period,” he says.
“Four years ago we had it in writing that the logo would remain for two years which was then, without the agreed review by Council, extended to four to cover the commemorative period.
“It has always been a concern that despite an undertaking by the Council and the RSL to remove their logo at the end of this commemorative period that attempts would be made to leave their logo or a replacement logo in place permanently.
“During the past four years that the ANZAC logo has been on the Lighthouse many other charities have been prevented from using the tower to highlight their worthy causes.
“Blowhole Point and the Lighthouse precinct is not a war memorial and despite assertions otherwise there is no link between the lighthouse and the ANZAC legacy.”
Gary McKay of the Kiama- Jamberoo RSL Sub-branch says, “We would like to see the logo retained for many reasons. It is unique as the only lighthouse with the logo.
“The lighthouse has a relevance to the people from Kiama who went to the Great War and it symbolises the spirit of Kiama, and the Australian people and their commitment to the memory of ANZACs.”
The General Manager advised that Council will be in violation of its licence agreement with Crown Lands if it does not take the logo down by 30 June.