Is the West Too Wild for Nomads?

Published: May 6, 2011

A new reality television program set in the Goldfields of Western Australia has sparked heated debate among locals after it described the place as a ‘powderkeg guaranteed to explode’.

The Kalgoorlie Cops eight-part factual series premiered on Foxtel recently and follows police as they attempt to combat violence and alcoholism in the region.

But Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mayor Ron Yuryevich says the reality show undermines the council’s work to promote the city as family friendly and could frighten away grey nomads.

“The council and myself have been trying to change the wild west name tag Kalgoorlie has been given for 20 years,” he said. “We want to portray Kalgoorlie-Boulder as a great place to come and see, not as murder and mayhem, as they are proposing.”

Mr Yuryevich says he remains concerned older tourists could be put off by the rough portrayal of the town by the TV show.

However, that has not been an issue for grey nomad Wilma Pearson, who told the ABC she was travelling all around Australia and had a great time in Kalgoorlie.

She says she visited the superpit, WA museum and the Mining Hall of Fame and was not put off visiting Kalgoorlie due to security concerns.

“I wasn’t concerned about what happened with security in Kal, from what I can tell it seems to be a fairly safe place,” she said.

Kalgoorlie Inspector Darren Seivwright, who appears in the program, says although the show is sometimes dramatic, it gives an accurate depiction of Kalgoorlie night life.

“It was just a snapshot of what occurs in Kalgoorlie almost every night, particularly on the weekend nights when there are lots of people out,” he said. “If people find that image disturbing and then want to change that image and change that culture, then we think that’s going to have a positive impact as well.”

It seems that many Kalgoorlie locals, including the mayor, were upset by a particularly dramatic promo for the show which depicted a cop car chasing down a red dirt road in the outback after a huge mining truck, a vehicle which is generally not registered to go on the road.

With a promise of a town that is “rife with money, murder, miners, hookers, gold-theft, crooks and outlaw bikers as well as plain old-fashioned Friday night punch-ups” the promo certainly didn’t seemed designed to attract grey nomads to hang out.

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