News

Whole planet (well, some of it) gangs up on Christmas tree

Lismore's wonky Christmas tree
Lismore's wonky Christmas tree

UPDATE 8.25pm: IT'S the wonky Christmas tree versus the world.

The Daily Mail has now joined the attacks on our beleaguered tree, with the headline/precis: "Is this the world's most pathetic Christmas tree? Council under fire for decorating 10m tree - dubbed the Leaning Tree of Lismore - in the middle of a roundabout."

The report then goes on to trawl Facebook for comments from people who dislike the tree.

Meanwhile, in Peru, where they know a bit about trees what with the whole Amazon thing, Northern Star reporter Marnie Johnston's tour of the world has been interrupted with sniggers about our poor Christmas tree.

Paul McCarthy's artwork has made some passers-by uncomfortable
Paul McCarthy's artwork has made some passers-by uncomfortable INM

"In Peru at dinner and one of my tour mates leans over and says: 'Hey Marnie, aren't you from Lismore? Your Christmas tree has made the news'," Marnie wrote.

"Haven't giggled that hard in a while..."

Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell, whose quote about the tree being "a bit bent, like Lismore" has proved quite popular with the world's press, says she's also heard of the story and her one-liner cropping up in London and Europe.

Still, it could be worse.

A giant inflatable Christmas tree set up in Paris recently came under fire for looking more like an oversized sex toy than a Christmas tree. Some irate Parisian eventually took to it with something sharp and deflated it.

Meanwhile, local support for the wonky Christmas tree remains solid with 61% of poll respondents saying they prefer it to a regular Christmas tree.

UPDATE, 6.15am, Friday: NORTHERN Rivers residents are sticking up for Lismore's wonky Christmas tree after NewsCorp tagged it as the state's worst.

In our online poll, 60% of respondents now say they'd rather have the humble Cook pine than the same dolled-up conifer everyone else uses to mark Christmas.

"At least our tree is a real tree, not some fake thing," summed up Carol Ann in the ongoing discussion on The Northern Star's Facebook page.

Kerry Batchelor pointed out the wonky Christmas tree was doing pretty well considering its location.

"A lot of negativity about the tree today from people," she said. "How would you hold up if you were battered by extreme weather and idiots destroying parts of the tree and nicking decos that the council put up.

The lighting of Casino's Christmas tree on December 4, 2014.
The lighting of Casino's Christmas tree on December 4, 2014. Leanne Albert

"At least we do have a tree all year round and that has put up with so much in the past."

And, look, while many Lismore resident's are proud of their wonky Christmas tree, there's no denying Casino's more conventional version, which was lit up last night with a ceremony and a fireworks display, is pretty special too.

"Lismore's tree is a JOKE a round of applause to Richmond Valley Council GORGEOUS Christmas Tree and FIRE WORKS to boot," proud Casino resident "Christmas" Carol Young posted. 

"We might be a smaller town and a lot of Lismore people get off putting Casino down but whom has the best tree out of Casino and Lismore?

"Well from the feedback from our worldwide friends Casino wins hands down!"

And, no matter what you think about them, it's hard to deny both Casino and Lismore are better off in the Christmas tree department than Byron Bay.

Gerry Bertoli, a Christmas institution at Suffolk Park thanks to the massive light-up she and husband Terry do each year, pointed out Byron once again had "NO tree and NO christmas lights NO decorations".

Byron's Christmas tree disappeared in 2010 after the town's business chamber - Byron United - decided it no longer wanted to fork out the $12,000 it said it cost to put the tree up and that it would sell it.

The town had had the Christmas tree only three years when the decision to scrap it was made, with hundreds of people turning out for its first lighting up ceremony.

 

UPDATE 7.13pm: THIS may come as a shock, but given the choice between frivolous glamour or real character, Rupert Murdoch's minions at The Daily Telegraph are all for froth and bubble.

The journos at the Daily Telegraph need to do some work on the whole "Christmas spirit" thing.
The journos at the Daily Telegraph need to do some work on the whole "Christmas spirit" thing.

The Telegraph has today run its own story on Lismore's wonky Christmas tree, meanly branding it "the worst in the state".

The report suggests Lismore "should take some guidance" from the people who decorated the fancy Christmas tree in Sydney's Martin Place.

Mind you, we Northern Rivers folk don't mind a little glitz ourselves.

A poll running within this page asks people whether they would prefer the wonky Christmas tree as-is or something a little more conventional.

So far most have voted for the wonky tree - but it's a close thing, with 48% saying they'd prefer something more conventionally pretty.

Still, the voting is far from over. 

6am: AS far as Christmas trees go, Lismore's wonky town centrepiece has more character than most but many are calling for a re-style.

"It's a bit bent, much like Lismore itself," Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell said.

The 10m high tree, also known as the Leaning Tree of Lismore, is actually a Cook Pine (Araucaria columnaris) that grows with a natural screw or "s" shape and tends to lean.

Council workers decorated the tree last Thursday, installing 64metres of garlands and 20 decorations and the reaction on social media was instantaneous - some describing the tree as an eyesore while others felt it was wonderful and quirky.

"It looks like a preschooler decorated it," one local quipped on The Northern Star's Facebook page.

"I think the its the quality of decorating thats the issue. Always looks like they shoot the decos out of a canon at it," said another.

Many observers called on the council to update the decorations and Cr Dowell, who said the decorations are at least a decade old, said it was a move she supported.

"Every year I ask council to invest in better decorations, and I understand there has been a decision by the Lismore Business Panel to purchase fairy lights for the town centre, but I don't know when that will happen," she said.

"I agree the tree could do with a lot of attention, some new tinsel at least, but it is a matter of priorities.

"If we invest in new decorations, someone will then say we should have spent the money on something else."

Council staff estimated the decorations on the tree are worth about $4000-$5000.

Topics:  christmas, controversy, editors picks, tree




Why Lismore faces crisis if things don't change now

Lismore Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Andrew Gordon is concerned about the future of Lismore.

Business chamber says claims we are over-serviced are 'crap'

Popular beach closed today during shark barrier construction

Global Marine Enclosures starts to install the shark barrier at Seven Mile Beach under the watchful eye of director Edward Khoury.  Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

North Coast beach becomes off limits work zone

Latest deals and offers

Start a conversation at the Byron Bay Writers Festival

IDEAS: The book Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner includes her essay on the insults of age.

You have a big chance to meet a number of authors

Cyndi Lauper opens up about mother's dementia

Cyndi Lauper says her mother Catrine has "a little dementia".

Uke Night's fifth year celebration

FIVE YEARS ON: Miss Amber and Stukelele.

The theme is Songs Of The Silver Screen

Lindsay Lohan 'calls off engagement'

Lohan reportedly called off her engagement to Russian millionaire

Rob Kardashian 'neglected' by Blac Chyna

Friends say they are now 'back in love'

Ngaiire: "I miss Lismore...”

ON STAGE: Former Northern Rivers resident Ngaiire during her set at Splendour.

Singer Ngaiire opens up at Splendour in the Grass

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started