Matilda still has mass appeal after 32 years

MATILDA the winking Kangaroo could be coming out of retirement for more Commonwealth Games glory.

She was the darling of the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games and now the Gold Coast is pondering a return of the celebrated marsupial.

The calls were made this week during an Australian Institute of Company Directors lunch on the Gold Coast where preparations for the 2018 games were discussed.

Guest speaker, Gold Coast Games Corporation boss Nigel Chamier, was asked about the mascot during a question session.

"It was so fantastic when Matilda arrived and winked," he said.

"Thirty-two years later, I can still visualise it."

But Mr Chamier wouldn't confirm a definite plan to try to coax Matilda to the coast for the 2018 event, leaving the suggestion open for public debate.

HINES Management Consultants executive chairman Geoff Hines received wide support when he called for Matilda to be brought back.

"I am sure they are working on something behind the scenes that they want to have the same impact," he said.

"But she was a big hit then, so I think they should roll her out."

Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate wasn't jumping at the idea, instead offering his own ideas.

"I think we should have Bob the Bilby or Kenny the Koala," Cr Tate told the meeting.

Matilda was tight-lipped yesterday at her new home at the Kybong Matilda Fuel Station on the Bruce Hwy, refusing to discuss a possible comeback.

Like any starlet, Matilda was wary of the press but there was a playful wink indicating she was ready for the big time again.

Owners Matilda Fuel Supplies was yet to provide comment at the time of publication yesterday.

When contacted yesterday, a spokeswoman confirmed the company had knowledge of the Gold Coast push to borrow Matilda.

The years have been kind to Matilda, with the kangaroo still her sprightly self. An extensive refurbishment of Matilda was carried out shortly after Matilda Fuel Supplies took delivery of the mascot in 2009.

The refurbishment included painting, steel works along with automation of Matilda's head, eyelids and ears.

Public reaction was mixed as the suggestion was made public on the Gold Coast, including one cynical online poster.

"Gee, Matilda the Kangaroo, Bob the Bilby and Kenny the Koala. How many millions to name the mascot and how many more tired (and) already used names do we have to drag out of the closet and again at costs of millions?" they asked.

Matilda, however, was the consummate professional yesterday, maintaining a dignified silence.

Gympie Times

Topics:  commonwealth games matilda

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