I was up changing a nappy just now and was struck by a phantom out of the vault of memory, and so decided on the spur of the moment to make it the subject of today’s blog post. It may prove to be of historical, or at least cultural, interest.
In my youth, I was a member of a pipe band, the Perth Highland. There are numerous reports on the topic scattered throughout this blog. A finer group of blokes never introduced a teenage boy to alcohol straight out of fancy private high school. We performed at agricultural fairs and Christmas parades and assorted competitions, and indeed they still do so – the band’s been around since the ’50s and is still going strong.
One particularly memorable performance – in fact I’m pretty sure we went back a time or two – was at the Kwinana Hub Shopping Centre.
The Hub has no Wikipedia page, but the bus station does. That should tell you pretty much everything you need to know.
I since learned that Kwinana Beach, at least, takes its name from a ship that ran aground there and they just built a jetty on its hulk. So that’s mildly interesting. My earliest memories of Kwinana are of a place we would have to drive through in order to get to our beach house in Dunsborough, and it wouldn’t matter if you wound up the car windows, the smell of the industrial zone would seep in through the radiator and about all you could do is drive through as fast as possible.
The city itself, though, is lovely – and I’m sure they’ve made great leaps in the business of cleaning up their stinky industrial complex. And the Hub was a very nice place. An air-conditioned haven in the midst of a horrible sticky Christmas season (never mind that we had to play outside).
I have fond memories of our band leading a Christmas parade featuring Father Christmas on a motorbike pulled by kangaroos instead of reindeer (although frankly, why a motorbike would need to be pulled is a bit of a mystery … maybe some Kwinana local stole a critical engine part while Father Christmas was delivering presents). They were fake kangaroos, of course – hilarity would ensue if you ever tried to hitch up a team of kangaroos to anything, and by ‘hilarity’ I mean ‘numerous deaths’ – but it was still a spectacle.
And – if I took some solace in the fact that, while we were in full Highland attire and perspiring like hogs, Father Christmas was in an even worse place than us, dripping-nutsweat-wise – I can still confidently say that neither we nor St. Nick were the true losers in the yuletide festivities. There was someone even more unfortunately-dressed, someone with no skin open to the air whatsoever for ventilation purposes, no way to breathe, and no real hope for the future.
I refer, of course, to Kwinana Chester Hubford III, or – as he was actually named – Kwubby.
This is not even remotely what Kwubby looked like, but it was the first hit on Google Image Search when I looked up “Kwubby”.
Kwubby was – and probably still is – the mascot of the Kwinana Hub Shopping Centre. I want to say he was purple. We did actually pose with him for a publicity photo, either for the Hub’s grand opening or one or another of the Christmas parades. The poor, Godforsaken sonofawhore.
I salute you, Kwubby, wherever you are.