Mt Keira looks down over the region each day, not asking a great deal from any of us, but silently bookending the city between the sea and the green hills.
The lookout and its value to the city must be hard to identify, because of all the recent talk of it falling by the wayside and being given up to the mountain for good.
But retaining it must surely be an important consideration in a city that isn’t light on for magnificent vistas, but perhaps a bit light on for ways to enjoy them.
There have been plenty of initiatives over the years to improve the highlights reel of Wollongong’s must see locations, but how did we miss the great mountain smack bang in the middle of any picture of the area that you care to notice? It’s hard to imagine how a town so fond of sport could so completely miss kicking such an easy goal as that. Or perhaps it’s an own goal.
Then there is the tune, so often played which goes something like this. “Wollongong, steel, steel employment, steelworks, steel city.”
This tune is so tired that even when it is sung, it is hard not to hear the strain in the voice from the fact that the city has moved on and embraced so much more in such a relatively small time.
Some of that can be attributed to the greatness of efforts at the University of Wollongong over the past 10 or so years (the “Sutton Years”) to expand and develop the town into something of a centre for excellence in tertiary studies and academic pursuit.
Only time will tell if the new leadership of the university can manage that worthy legacy and avoid our University ending up like the lookout on Mt Keira. At least the lookout at Mt Keira looks directly down on the Uni, a good place from which to keep a close eye.
But really, we are the third largest city in NSW and the ninth largest in all of Australia. Consistently, national media (and even weather reports) makes it seem like we aren’t those things.
Even if we weren’t, a look-out is probably a good idea to maintain – how easier it is to see what you have from a lofty height than it must be from the windows of Wollongong council chambers. Speaking of which, where is the Council?
Good luck to the online efforts to save the lookout and keep open a vantage point over our city. We need more of that, not less.
Aaron Kernaghan is the principal lawyer at Kernaghan & Associates Lawyers, a law firm specialising in criminal law advice and representation. www.kernaghanandassociates.com.au