'Golliwog' Balloon Banned From Canberra Ballooning Event
A hot air balloon, named 'Black Magic', has been banned by event organisers at this year's Canberra Balloon Spectacular.
The balloon depicts a black face and has been nicknamed "Golly" because of its resemblance to the Golliwog character.
Jo Verden, Director of Events ACT which organises the Spectacular, said "visual depictions" that may be considered "racist or offensive" by members of the community is not supported.
"Progressing reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander peoples and the broader Canberra community is a key priority for the ACT Government," Verden said in a statement to 10 daily.
"The decision to reject the balloon application was made after a staff member raised concerns about its name."
Both the ACT Government's Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and the Chair of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body were consulted about the decision.
"Based on this advice it was agreed the balloon would not be allowed to take part in the event," Verden said.
For 20 years, Black Magic's owner, Kay Turnbull, has taken part in the event and is "devastated" by the rejection of balloon, the ABC reported.
""It's never been our intention to offend anybody, ever. And in fact in 20 years of flying this design of balloon we have never had a single complaint from anyone," Turnbull said.
"I love my balloon and nobody's ever had a problem with it. It's fun!"
Verden said Turnbull has accepted an offer to fly another balloon at the event instead of Black Magic.