Miss Matilda on her way

AFTER fears Neumann Petroleum had changed its mind about bringing Matilda to Gympie, company executive general manager Charles Wright said yesterday the icon was still on its way.

Matilda Fuels, the retail arm of Neumann Petroleum, announced Miss Matilda, the 13-metre kangaroo who helped introduce Brisbane to the world at the 1982 Commonwealth Games was currently being restored to her former glory and awaiting approvals to have her installed in her new home along the Bruce Highway at Kybong.

Back in March, Gold Coast Councillor Dawn Crichlow led a campaign to keep her on the coast and criticised Gympie for snatching the mascot, saying it was “bloody ridiculous” it would be displayed here.

Having undergone a substantial refurbishing program exceeding $100,000 since she was purchased by Matilda Fuels from Warner Village Theme Parks in August last year, Miss Matilda is destined to be returned to public display at Matilda Fuels’ biggest and most iconic service centre at Kybong, located just south of Gympie.

But Neumann Petroleum Executive General Manager Charles Wright said the company’s plan to move Matilda to her new home was currently pending negotiations with the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

“We embarked on the journey to return Miss Matilda to the Australian people and restore her to her former glory 18 months ago,” Mr Wright said.

“Unfortunately, the process has taken much longer than expected, even with the full support of Gympie Regional Council Mayor Ron Dyne.

“Miss Matilda’s refurbishment has included $40,000 of automation technology, repainting fibreglass repairs and replacement of steelwork.

“She’s now looking her best and is ready for the two-hour journey to Kybong.

“Once we have all our approvals she will be transported very carefully to Kybong, where she will have a permanent home for the Australian public to visit,” Mr Wright said.

The legend of Matilda was born at the Opening Ceremony of the 1982 Commonwealth Games, where she won the hearts of people all over the world.

Later, she was embraced by families and fun-seekers, when she stood tall and proud at the entrance to Wet’n’Wild Water World at Oxenford on the Gold Coast.

Her new home will be a purpose built area at the front of the Kybong Travel Centre, providing public access and parking.

More than 97,000 customers visit Matilda Fuels at Kybong every month, including 490 scheduled and charter coaches and it is anticipated that Matilda will become a significant tourist attraction in her new home. Part of the Gold Coast-based Neumann Group, Matilda offers more than 125 service stations and is one of Australia’s largest independent fuel suppliers.

Gympie Times

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