February 15th, 2023Victoria Park home to the Big Rainbow
DAYLESFORD’S Victoria Park has been chosen as the site of Tinder’s Big Rainbow with the aim
to have installation completed by the ChillOut Festival in March.
Daylesford was selected from a shortlist of four locations around Australia, including Broome in WA, Hay in NSW and Katherine in the NT, and announced as the winner in October last year.
Hepburn Shire Council then invited feedback from the community on where the Big Rainbow should be located with four potential options in Daylesford – Victoria Park, the Lost Children’s Reserve, the Community Skate Park and Lake Daylesford.
The landmark is six metres high by 12 metres wide and painted in the colours of the 2018 Progress Pride Flag. It is made from marine-grade plywood.
Mayor Cr Brian Hood said Victoria Park was the standout position from both a community and council view. Cr Hood said each of the other three sites had concerns which played against them being a viable option. The Lost Children’s Reserve was not the place for a “secondary feature” for historical reasons, the skate park did not have the room and Lake Daylesford was seen to be a natural environment. Victoria Park also had the connection with ChillOut and the LGBTIQA+ community, along with staging other events, plenty of parking and easy accessibility for people wanting to visit the Big Rainbow and have their photo taken.
“It just seemed like the logical choice of the four – and it certainly had the strongest vote from the public of the four sites.”
Cr Hood said things like lighting and signage were still under consideration with the issue of vandalism also being monitored closely once the installation was complete. Most “big” installations in Australia are privately owned and closed at night.
Tinder will pay for the installation and maintenance for three years after which
“the council of the day” will make a decision on its future.
Cr Hood said accepting the donation of the Big Rainbow from a dating app was carefully considered but at the end of the day, the symbolism of acceptance, understanding and diversity won out.
“Tinder was a topic of conversation, and we are mindful that dating apps have
their problems, but on balance overall we thought the positives were pretty strong
and it was compatible with council’s policies and that swayed us.”
Cr Hood said extra visitors, keen to be photographed with Australia’s latest “big thing” would also bring an economic benefit to the region.
Asked if people might try to climb the structure for the ultimate selfie, Cr Hood
said, with a height of six metres, that would be “fraught with danger”.
“I hope that people would just want their photo taken from the ground but you
can’t rule out that people might be tempted to try and climb it.”
Tessa Halliday, the council representative on the shire’s LGBTIQA+ Advisory Committee said the need for a symbol of pride was still relevant.
“We have come a long way but until we can say that every member of the LGBTIQA+ community is safe, accepted and included we still have work to do.
“We are lucky to live in a very supportive community, however this doesn’t mean that there aren’t people in our community that are struggling with their identity or sexuality. “The symbol of pride lets them know that they are important to the community and that they are safe to be themselves. The Big Rainbow says ‘you are safe here’.
Daylesford is also a haven for visitors, a place where they feel safe to be themselves as
they may not be able to at home.”
Cr Halliday said it was easy to look at the positives in the community, “from amazing accepting parents to supportive health providers, however not everyone has this experience”.
“Mental health and suicide rates are still the highest in the LGBTIQA+
community compared to the wider community. It is important that we remember
that the rainbow is a symbol for the LGBTIQA+ community, not a symbol for a
dating site. The dating site will not have any signage on the Big Rainbow.”
In answer to a few other questions from The Local, a council spokesperson said
the Big Rainbow would be a public structure with time-controlled lighting to be
installed to illuminate it.
The spokesperson said the council was still planning signage options and would
ensure the Big Rainbow was well signposted.
In relation to people climbing the structure, this will be discouraged by plantings
around the base.
The Big Rainbow was designed in collaboration with members of the LGBTIQA+
community and the First Nations community.
As part of the promotion, Tinder is also donating $100,000 in grants to a number
of community groups around Australia.
Tinder did not get back to The Local after emails asking which groups would be
in the running for the grants.
Words: Donna Kelly | Images: Contributed