Oct 24th The Broom of Doom


The town of Doom, New South Wales, Australia (population 3652), is located 50 km south of Balina, home to the big prawn[1], one of Australia’s famed ‘Big Things

Doom is a popular tourist destination[2] for quirky tourists (source?) who like to travel to its municipal limits, so that they can be said to have ‘stood at the edge of Doom[3]. This puts Doom in the same category as towns and cities such as Hel, Poland, located at the tip of the Hel Peninsula. Hel is a popular destination for rail and bus travellers who can justifiably claim to have ‘bought a ticket to Hel(l) and back[4]

Along with Balina, and other such towns in New South Wales and further abroad, the town of Doom has its own ‘big thing’ in the shape of a giant broom.

Known officially as The Big Brush[5] the sculpture, in the shape of a triumphal arch framing the entrance to the town (on the Balina highway) is known locally as The Broom of Doom[6]

The origins of the broom are unclear, but local legend suggests that the broom was an implement wielded with some force by Hattie Solomon (1874-1922) upon her husband, James Solomon (1870-1916) because of his excessive drinking and lack of attention to familial duties. She became so well known for her actions;

Look out, there’s Hattie with her broom of doom![7]

that the phrase ‘Broom of Doom’ came into common parlance, its association with the name of the town being almost entirely coincidental.

There are others, however, who point to older stories. The local indigenous population claim that the broom is that of the bunyip[8] used in the Dreamtime[9] to clear space for the creation of dream animals, and consequently the world.

The Broom of Doom is one of the fifteen most photographed sites[10] in the local area, and features prominently in several of the town’s postcards.

[1] See ‘Big Things of Australia’, Warne, S. 1992

[2] NSW tourist data 2011

[3] ‘I stood on the edge of Doom’, Jennifer Warne in The Guardian, 12th April 2012

[4] ‘We went to Hel and back’, Ted and Dusty Rogers, The Leigh Daily Enquirer, 23rd March 2010

[5] ‘Doom unveils Big Brush’, The Doom Chronicle, April 1972

[6] ‘Locals Vote on Name Change for Big Brush’, Dundee, C., The Doom Recorder, April 1986

[7] Apocryphal. Source unknown

[8]Mythological Creature of Pre-Colonial Times’, Kidman, N., Sydney University Press, June 1995

[9] ibid.

[10]Top 15 Snaps of Balina and Beyond’, Minogue, D. Sorority Press, May 2001


This follows the daily prompts for a ten minute write from Putting My Feet In The Dirt The idea is to use the prompt and write for ten minutes only. Which is what I did, prompted by the words The Broom Of Doom

The Broom of Doom – 24th Oct

The Broom Of Doom


The dressing room was awash with shouting, laughter, champagne and beer. Shouts and singing of delight. Promotion has been gained following a superb performance out on the pitch, and the big time beckons. The players mob Ron Smith, mercurial manager, and shower him with expensive bubbles.

“Don’t worry boss, you can afford another sheepskin now!” The promise of the big bucks in the top flight, along with the post-match adrenaline has everyone jabbering excitedly.

“GET IN!” screams Smith, “Now they’ll finally let me buy some real players!”

Silence descends.

 * * *

In all the hundreds of interviews Smith makes a point of talking about the collective effort, he mentions pretty much every player by name, underlining their importance. Of course internally he is planning, chopping, ringing the changes. Most of these players won’t cut it a level above, and although he’s made assurances to them all he knows most will have to go. Sold to teams in this division, even the lower ones maybe. Most still don’t realise that this was the high point of their careers already. Ron won’t need to tell them of course, the agents can do that.

Not for Smith though, the Board has hinted at extra cash for rebuilding a team, a team worthy of the highest league, a team worthy of Smith. He has his ideas, dream players, and more realistically players who will come. His master plan is well and truly being sorted, the tactics, the new team, at least to stay up next year, then build. He can’t wait. The TV, the press, his salary, the stadiums, the famous old teams; everything is bigger and better, an unmistakable Big Step Up. He’ll miss most of the lads, of course; it’s shame for them.

 * * *

The chairman has called him in, and Ron is ready. He has all his “wish list” players, he has his plans and thoughts, the new coaches he’ll need under him. He’s building an empire here, a dynasty. He can’t wait to get down to brass tacks with Chris Ingleton, the wealthy, charismatic chairman. They’ve always had a great relationship. Together they are rebuilding this club as one of the Big Boys. This is the next step of something huge, this meeting will be the start of a new era.

And so it proved.

“Thank you for your service, Ron” said Ingleton, warmly, shaking his hand, “It’s been a wonderful ride. I’ve noticed and am impressed by your loyalty to the team, these players. But really, are they good enough for the next level?”

“Well, I wanted to talk to you about that;” started Smith. Ingleton held up a broad palm to quiet him,

“I know, I know, Ron, they are a great bunch of lads, and deserve their reward. But in all honesty we need changes, big changes. I admire you standing by them, but we need a new broom here. We need to cut the ties. Yes, a new broom is needed, someone without the emotional attachment to this group. Thanks again for everything you’ve done for the club, Ron. And good luck for the future.”

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This follows the daily prompts for a ten minute write from Putting My Feet In The Dirt The idea is to use the prompt and write for ten minutes only. Which is what I did, prompted by the words The Broom Of Doom

My other stuff is over on the Dead Deer Blog

The broom of doom

Cleaning is supposed to be positive. At least, that’s what you’d think, if you listened to radio or television, or read newspapers. There are numerous books – seen as ‘self-help’ manuals, in the pathologisation of uncleanliness via psychology – which advise one on how to remove possessions from one’s house, first using a magical spell. The spell is a question about whether the object one picks up is useful or important, but this will always be answered in the positive by a hoarder! There are programmes about hoarders, who are seen as mentally ill, and whose houses require the attention of semi-professional cleansing celebrities, who express sympathy as they help the criminal to accept the trauma of destroying their possessions. . The filth of their living spaces is clearly seen as an adjunct to their collecting – it is certainly not their conscious intention to create it, but it builds up incrementally and incessantly as more and more surfaces become inaccessible to the brush and dustpan, the feather duster, the damp cloth. As more and more space is created, and surfaces are revealed, the general philosophical impression conveyed from these programmes is that order is being created out of chaos. Of course, to the hoarder themselves, the new situation is probably one of unimaginable and existential chaos, as they are now totally out of control of the position or even existence of thousands and thousands of materials. These previously sat in known locations, according to obscure or even semi-forgotten systems of categorisation, awaiting the day when they might become useful or simply effective – for the purposes of nostalgia, reflection, or memory. These are important aspects of being human too. Is it really for the high priests of minimalism or cleanliness to consign them too to the dustbin?

Prompteed by The Broom of Doom