False advertising

Dear Madam / Sir,
I am writing to you to bring to your attention a breach of the Fair Description in Advertising Act (1987, amended 2005) in relation to the Jetty at Busselton. Said jetty is advertised as follows: “Busselton – the friendly town is backdrop to the glorious Busselton Jetty. Extending two kilometers from shore, the jetty is the longest timber pier in the Southern Hemisphere. It has been full restored after a battering from Cyclone Alby in 1978. While the jetty is used for commercial operations including light ship loading, the jetty is open to the public.”

The jetty may indeed be constructed of timber, it is indeed located in Busselton. Beyond that it isn’t, it wasn’t, and you can’t. The jetty has more pieces missing than a pub jigsaw puzzle. Our plans to walk to the end and enjoy our packed lunch were thwarted by the solid steel gate erected across the jetty, preventing access to all but the burliest of jetty-repairers. Moored alongside the crippled structure was a gargantuan construction barge, which was hammering new creosote soaked timbers into the sand with hydraulic efficiency.

While the workings of the hydraulic ram was exciting to my young boy (boys do after all love machinery), and the sight of the Bonds singlet clad workers, muscles rippling and skin a deep bronze excited my wife, I was left coldly unimpressed. It was necessary to remove both said members of my family to a safe distance, where they could cool their overheated interest in the workings of the erection.

To make maters worse, the sorry state of the Busselton Jetty is clearly no surprise to locals. You can imagine our confusion as we arrived into the small, coastal town, packed lunch at the ready and walking boots firmly laced for our 4km treck (2 kms out and 2 back in). All we could see however was a gapped and decidedly dodgy looking pier (which I may add doesn’t even look two kilometers long on the best of days). Confused, I asked two young local lasses who where exiting their car to have a quick elicit seaside lunch, fag and gossip break. In answer to my question “Are we in Busselton? We’re looking for the Southern Hemisphere’s longest timber jetty?” they replied “Yeah. That’s it over there. Been stuffed for ages. They don’t advertise that its stuffed though so the tourists don’t know.”

There you have it! Proof positive that the claims of the Busselton Tourism Board are nothing but a pack of Mrs. Mac’s Famous Meat Pies (which, while I have your attention, I question aren’t as famous as Mrs. Mac claims – I for one have NEVER heard of them!).

Busselton Tourism Board is clearly luring unsuspecting and well intentioned tourists on the blatantly false premise that the town is home to the Southern Hemisphere’s longest timber jetty. If I maybe so bold to say (as a newly repatriated Aussie), this is a right load of Dingo’s Giblets.

Sydney may indeed have its Circular Quay.
Gladstone may have its Pier.
Busselton sir, has nothing but the dark stain of civic shame casting a pall over its clear ocean waters.

Yours sincerely,

2 thoughts on “False advertising

  1. I work for the Busselton Jetty and we just came across your blog. I am saddened to hear that you were disappointed with your visit to the Busselton Jetty due to the current refurbishment. I would like to know the advertisement you referred to, as it is clearly a mistake to have had it circulating unless, however it was part of an annual publication – in which case it would have been organized well before we knew we were receiving a refurbishment.

    I regret any inconvenience caused to you on that particular day of your travels and would ask that you take the time to peruse our website http://www.busseltonjetty.com.au to read about the wonderful restoration project to this historical icon, enabling it to be around for many generations to come.

    The Busselton Jetty is a non-profit organization and has relied on donations and sales to keep up the extensive maintenance work required for such a large structure. The community spirit, is, (contrary to the comment based on two local girls you referred to in the blog) the only thing that has kept this Jetty alive. Had it not been for the local community raising hundreds and thousands of dollars over the years since Cyclone Ably in 1978, not to mention the donation of physical labour – the Jetty simply would have been demolished.

    During this refurbishment (which took over 5 years to fight for – and was enabled by the current State Government earlier this year) the community – local and beyond, have all rallied together and supported this project to retain this historic icon through online social networks such as Twitter and Facebook particularly. I welcome you to join our Refurbishment Group on Facebook or simply become a friend to receive updates.

    I would lastly like to say that the Busselton Tourist Bureau (now known as the Busselton Visitor Centre as part of the non-profit Geographe Bay Tourism Association) is one of the most professional and ethical organizations I have yet had the privilege to be a member of. The Busselton Jetty support the Tourism Association wholeheartedly and I can categorically state that this organization has not, and would not deliberately misinform the public and to be honest – I fail to see what point you thought it may make by stating otherwise.

    What benefit would ever come from misinforming people “just to luring unsuspecting and well intentioned tourists on the blatantly false premise that the town is home to the Southern Hemisphere's longest timber jetty” – the only repercussion of this intent would be to outrage visitors and spread rumours by means such as this.

    If you would like to contact me further with regards to this response – please do so via email at marketing@busseltonjetty.com.au or phone (08) 9754 0903 – Jane Ashcroft.

  2. Glad you warned me – I was just about to set off for a day trip from reading in the UK just to see the Jetty having been attracted by what the Tourist Board said. Just imagine the bill from my lawyer if I had turned up to find that the only thing I was remotely interested in in teh whole of the Southern Hemisphere was not as advertised!

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