Psychological Implications of the Plateau Watertower.
by Alan Richardson
In the early years of the 19th Century, colonial cartographers and surveyors were struck by the natural beauty of our local area. Magnificent golden sandy beaches, rocky headlands and estuarine waterways could be viewed from coastal hills, of which Collaroy Plateau was one.
Yet somehow the sense remained that Mother Nature had fallen short of perfection. The Plateau stood as a crownless king, a sordid monument to the futility of Mother Nature herself. Another century would slip by before salvation arrived in the form of ‘The Tower’.
When one gazes up at The Tower today, it is difficult not to be moved. It rises above us all, an emphatic reminder that aesthetic hooliganism is not our enemy, but is there to be loved and respected by all. While nature had dithered and lolly-gagged its way through the millennia, twentieth century technology had “crowned the king” in a matter of months.
It is impossible, however, to talk of The Tower without talking of the Plateau – for they are one and the same. The Tower resonates with the very essence of the Plateau. The merciless, box-like proportions and brute functionality of The Tower are merely a reflection of the suburban grid of the Plateau’s streets.
Town planners of yesteryear apparently felt that curved streets were for “…lefties, pinkos and poofters…” Yet any born and bred Plateau-dweller will know that the names of those very streets echo in childhood memory like poetry; Grevillea…Stella….Acacia….Telopea. Sadly, the suburban pioneers (who so beautifully named these streets) soon ran out of imagination in the southern side of the Plateau reverting to such brain-dead fodder as “Emu”, “Kangaroo” and “Boomerang”.
The Tower, above all other factors, has a powerful influence over the psyche of Plateau-dwelling children. For the very young, it is the benevolent spirit that oversees their childhood games. Later it becomes the loveless demagogue, sneering down at their often violent and traumatic initial forays into competitive sport, a role it continues as the young Plateau-ites plunge into teenage angst. Then, for many teenage Plateau-dwellers, The Tower comes to represent their rites of passage, as its laughable defences are defeated and its heights scaled.
Until the 1990s, The Tower remained unchallenged as the Plateau’s only monument. This all changed when a certain telecommunications company constructed a rival monument in the area known as ‘The Enchanted Forest’. This post-modernist monstrosity features and multi-coloured paint scheme as well as a full scale replica drum kit – an obvious attempt to win the hearts and minds of locals, thereby diluting the passions formerly directed towards The Tower alone. In an effort to compete, The Tower itself has been adorned with its own array of communications equipment. Only time will tell which monument shall receive the devotion of the local population.
The Tower has clearly had a huge influence on our lives. And now, in 1997 as The Tower (along with its new companion) irradiates nearby residents with masses of high energy, DNA-altering electromagnetic pulses, it is obvious that it will continue to have a huge influence on the next generation, and those following.
Note: The Tower is also responsible for the local water supply.