Toward the end of last year, the NSW government handed power over to the public in the naming of a new inner-harbour Sydney ferry. Other contemporary ferry names have so far included Fred Hollows – after an Australian doctor who restored the eyesight of thousands of people around the world – and Pemulwuy and Bungaree – after the historic Indigenous leaders.
But because humans are inherently not very good people, tactless and lame and wont to dine out on a joke until they choke on it, it was promptly announced that the new ferry would be named Ferry McFerryface.
The terrible prank is, of course, a cringingly unoriginal reference to Britain’s Boaty McBoatface. And, of course, it copped a fair bit of flak, with critics damning the thousands of mindless individuals who apparently voted for the name.
Except that it wasn’t thousands. It was, in fact, only 182 mindless individuals – and one NSW transport minister.
A Channel Nine freedom of information request has this week revealed that Ferry McFerryface was not the most popular choice for the title of the new vessel. The most popular choice, as it turns out, was to christen the ferry after the 1994 Australian of the Year and founder of Clean Up Australia, Ian Kiernan. More than 2,000 people had voted that way.
Transport minister Andrew Constance has since defended his decision to go with the McFerryface moniker, claiming that in the first round of public voting – in which punters could suggest whatever damn name they liked – Ferry McFerryface received a total 229 nominations, compared to Ian Kiernan’s 17. Although McFerryface wasn’t an option in the second round, and despite the fact that the other five ferries in the fleet were “named based on a panel’s recommendations”, Constance thought he’d run with the jocular title.
— Anna Caldwell (@annacaldwell) January 30, 2018
“We always said we would just run it over summer, have a look at how it goes,” he told Channel Nine. “It’s had a bit of international recognition, bit of lighthearted fun, lots of kids taking selfies. We followed the panel recommendations for the first five but, for the last one, we thought, ‘Let’s do something a bit different’.”
On Tuesday afternoon Constance announced that Ferry McFerryface would officially be renamed May Gibbs, after the famous children’s author.
“We always intended this vessel would be named for the kids. After a summer on the harbour, Ferry McFerryface will now be renamed after prominent Australian author May Gibbs. This will retain the vessel’s appeal to our youngest customers while also recognising an Australian icon with a long connection to Sydney.”
Source: The Guardian
Feature image: Sydney Ferries
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