Australian city fights to save 'big penis' tower

The Queens Wharf Tower has long been the target of ridicule.
The Queens Wharf Tower has long been the target of ridicule. Photo credit: Twitter: @bobbieskates

An Australian tower with a strikingly phallic appearance is to be demolished.

Newcastle's Queens Wharf Tower has a maintenance bill of $1.6 million and doesn't have disabled access,  but that's not the only reason it will be torn down next year.

"I look forward to not having to answer the inevitable question of 'why' from guests and visitors when they first see the tower," Newcastle City Council's chief executive Jeremy Bath told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"There aren't many cities around the world that have placed a 30m high phallic symbol in their most prominent public place."

Newcastle City Council has voted to demolish the tower, which was erected in 1988 to celebrate Australia's bicentenary. It has attracted considerable ridicule for its distinctive design - a slender, cylindrical body with a rounded observation deck at the top.

"There really is no other way to describe the Queens Wharf Tower other than as an embarrassment to the city," said Mr Bath.

Newcastle's Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said it was time for the "blight on the city's landscape" to go.

"Quite reasonably, councillors didn't want to spend $1.6m maintaining that tower [over four years], that doesn't really provide its useful purpose anymore," she told ABC.

"It's at the end of its useful life as an asset. It has no disabled access. Only the very fit and able can get to the top of it."

The decision has been met with backlash from residents with a soft spot for the tower, who feel shafted by the council's decision.

One campaigner demanded the city "save our schlong", while others have tweeted their support for the tower.

The tower, which has its own (sadly defunct) Twitter account, will remain open for six months to give Newcastle residents a chance to say goodbye.