The holiday season is here … and so is ‘termite’ Santa!

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Santa on Outback highways
Santa has been making an appearance along Outback highways. PIC: ABC Western Queensland / Damien Larkins

As the festive season gets into full swing, Santa has been making his traditional appearance along Outback highways and byways.

At this time of the year, you can pretty much be assured that remote termite mounds will start sprouting long white beards and sporting bright red hats as Outback wags bring a bit of ‘ho, ho ho’ to those long holiday drives.

While dressed termite mounds are nothing new, the sheer number of them is causing concern in some quarters. The stretch of highway between Alpha and Jericho in Queensland has seen an explosion in the number of the oddly-dressed mounds recently.

The Barcaldine Shire Council told the ABC that while the creations attracted tourists, they did not want the situation to get out of hand.

“We don’t endorse that people go out and do more and more and we get to the point where there’s thousands,” chief executive Steven Boxall said. “I would hate for it to become a major litter problem or it to become a problem that causes road safety issues.”

Mr Boxall said the council was also unaware as to who was creating the figures, but acknowledged they gave people a laugh — especially in tough times.

“You can call it art, you can call it tourism, it’s just really unique, it’s not hurting anybody,” Mr Ross told the ABC. “If we can put a smile on people’s faces out here in these hard times through drought, it’s got to be a plus I reckon.”

  • Do you enjoy seeing dressed termite mounds in the Outback, or do you think they are litter? Comment below.

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2 Responses to The holiday season is here … and so is ‘termite’ Santa!

  1. One or two were amusing. On our extensive trip up north this year from coast to coast across the far north we saw many more than in past years. The clothes rot and becomes just another form of litter, and others are dressed in synthetic materials that won’t breakdown through exposure. This will also cause future problems. Perhaps a solution would be to restrict it to certain clusters. If you undress one in the cluster take the old clothes with you. It could be an interesting and managed up-north experience. This could become an experience people prepare for, document and enjoy – like painting the Cadillacs at Cadillac Ranch on Route 66 in the USA, the silo art trails in WA and Victoria, or Gnomesville in the south west of Western Australia. These attract tourists wanting to create a special memory and contribute to a community work of art. Could even be managed with themes – beach, masked ball, Aussie street party, Xmas etc. Take control of it, manage it, and turn it into a community art project that is restricted to particular sites. You won’t stop it now by banning it, take control and it can become something positive that attracts interested tourists and doesn’t deface our outback. Like a silo art trail. Experiences you can catch along the way. Linked maps with the locations and themes and policies – clean up after yourself, take your rubbish with you. Good sites would be where there are anthill clusters and/or where there are nearby picnic tables or toilets. Also could have some done up by local artists as an installation.

  2. They can definitely brighten up a long journey.

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