Hector The Giant Lump Of Coal Is Australia’s Worst Kids’ Mascot

This is not a joke.

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One of the best things about growing up as a kid in Australia is the bevy of giant fluffy animal mascots that teach you valuable life lessons. Healthy Harold taught us to eat right and Stay Off The Weed; Prime Possum told us to go to bed early and watch the hell out of Prime News; and Humphrey B Bear did whatever it is that bears in straw boaters do.

But if you’re a sprout in the Mackay region of Queensland, you’ve got one more cuddly critter to have fun with! Meet Hector, the giant lump of coal.

This is not a joke.

Hi kids!

Hector is the trademarked mascot of Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, one of Queensland’s largest coal exporting facilities. Sporting a hardhat, a hi-vis vest and a big, dopey grin, Hector travels around Mackay to football matches, arts and crafts fairs and primary schools handing out lollies, balloons and merchandise.

He has his own page on the DBCT website, ‘Hector’s Fun Zone’, where you can download Hector-centric find-a-words, a maze where you help Hector “find the coal!”, and a recipe to make ‘Chocolate Coal Crackles’.

Because if there’s one thing kids aren’t being taught these days, it’s to equate a noxious non-renewable resource that pollutes the very air we breathe with yummy chocolate! Yay Hector!

Here’s Hector with the mascot of the Daily Mercury newspaper. There are layers of meaning here that can’t even begin to be deciphered:

Hands-down the best part of the whole Hector love-train is The Hector Show, a series of infotainment shorts where Hector and some helpful assistants from DBCT give kids advice on exercise, bullying, making friends and … saving energy. Hector’s tips for bringing power bills down include sensible, common-sense advice like turning off the tap when you brush your teeth, flicking off lights you’re not using, and installing solar panels on your roof to make your home completely energy-efficient and free from reliance on climate-change-causing coal.

Wait, scrap that last one. Hector doesn’t mention that last one. Because Hector is A GIANT LUMP OF COAL.

Also, The Hector Show is regularly broadcast on Channel Seven in Mackay, apparently in between breaks of Saturday Disney. So, that’s good.

If you want to make friends with Hector, maybe hit him up on his Facebook page. You could also enter Hector’s Picture Book Competition, which “requires entrants to create an original story about the DBCT P/L Mascot, Hector the Lump of Coal,” and has a prize pool of $4000. Maybe Hector could have a day at the beach and kill off the Great Barrier Reef? Maybe he could be shipped to China, incinerated in a vast furnace with millions of other Hectors, and become part of the life-threatening smog that blankets Shanghai? Maybe he could wield unchecked power over the federal government in order to obtain grossly nepotistic tax concessions and industry protection? Entries are open until June 13, so get cracking, kids!

Alex McKinnon is a Sydney-based writer and journalist, and former editor of The Star Observer.