WELL, he’s not called The Saint for nothing, is he?
In the Lesley Charteris books that gave him his name international villains were always inventing new and interesting ways of trying to rub him out, but he managed to survive it all.
So why should we be surprised that Townsville’s Saint, on Castle Hill, has escaped an assassination attempt by the Townsville City Council – especially one led by that diabolical hitman Jack Wilson, bless his cotton socks?
The Queensland Heritage Council has given the city council permission to send The Saint — our Saint — to his doom.
But you could tell Jack’s heart was never in this particular “contract”, especially once the general public cast its vote with the man with the halo.
Needless to say, I am not referring to anyone on the city council.
Not that I believe the 10-metre figure painted on the side of Castle Hill is wearing a halo.
That’s a stick man with a propeller sticking out of his head.
Take a closer look next time you’re passing. If that’s a halo then my hat’s a bishop’s mitre.
Personally, I always thought the council was ill-advised in its bid to wipe out The Saint.
It has always been a heaven-sent (well, yes, naturally) marketing opportunity.
Now Jack says that it can stay, maybe the council will take the next step and rename the city St Townsville and whack the figure on all publicity brochures.
Of course now the city council has given him (The Saint, not Jack) its blessing the problem might be how we can actually keep our little stick man in place. The rate Castle Hill is falling to bits, he’s bound to drop off sooner or later and flatten one of the houses below.
Mind you, I think that’s a much less serious concern than the prospect, 1000 years from now, that Townsville circa 2002 will have earned a reputation as a city full of religious weirdos.
Archaeologists and theologians with big grants and questionable intellects will conduct lengthy studies and determine that Townsvilleans of the 21st Century held a mythological belief about a great famine in the region, back in a time when Magnetic Island was joined to the mainland by a fertile plain.
One day a jealous god from a neighbouring district (probably Cairns) scooped out the fertile land and took it away. As he fled he dropped bits, creating Castle Hill as well as all the rubble on Magnetic Island.
Meanwhile the ocean rushed in and ensnared Magnetic Island, leaving the Townsvilleans to starve.
The only place food remained was on Maggie Island, but the jealous god had destroyed all the boats and — back then in the 21st Century — the channel between was full of sharks and jellyfish.
One man — terribly thin because he was close to starvation — saw a solution.
He fitted a little propeller to his head and helicoptered himself across the channel.
But gods are not to be thwarted by mere mortals, and this god summoned a great wind that hurled the city’s hero back against Castle Hill, where he remained transfixed as a warning to all.
And the rest, as they say, is history.