24 November 2023

Four reasons why you should vote to put Coolamon on the moon

| Chris Roe
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If selected, we know which footy team colours the Coolamon Rover should wear! Photo: ASA/Chris Roe.

The Australian Space Agency (yes, it’s a real thing) wants you to vote on the name of the first Aussie lunar rover, which will head for the moon sometime around 2026.

The shortlist of four potential names released this week are Kakirra, Mateship, Roo-ver and (the obvious choice) Coolamon!

Not to take anything away from the other contenders – a South Australian Aboriginal word for moon, a classic Aussie virtue and a pun on our favourite marsupial – but the Riverina needs to get voting and put Coolamon on the moon.

The Trailblazer rover program is part of NASA’s quest to establish a lunar base and the little Aussie rover will collect soil, known as regolith, that will be tested and processed to try and extract oxygen.

After the program was announced in 2021, the ASA received more than 8000 submissions including Bluey, Matilda and (sigh) Rover McRoverface.

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ASA wanted a name that would be creative and inspirational and capture the spirit of ‘Aussie ingenuity’ and we reckon they’ve found it with Coolamon.

Federal Member for the Riverina Michael McCormack agrees and has launched his own campaign with Coolamon Mayor David McCann.

“There’s four options, the other three don’t matter,” declared Mr McCormack.

“Go to space.gov.au – it doesn’t matter where you come from – let’s get Coolamon on the moon!”

Cr McCann said the shire is excited about the chance to potentially stake a claim on the moon.

“It’s not often we get the chance to play a little bit of a part in history like this so it would be great to be able to say that the Riverina has a representative on the moon,” he laughed.

“There’s been a lot of excitement across the Shire and the kids at the Central School, through their science program, have taken to Facebook and are encouraging people to vote.

“They’ve got a great interest in lunar exploration, and I think for those of us that are old enough to remember the moon landing in 1969, it would be amazing to have that sort of close link to something like that,” Cr McCann said.

Member for the Riverina Michael McCormack with Coolamon Mayor David McCann. Photo: Michael McCormack.

Region is 100 per cent on board, so we’ve compiled four very good reasons why you should be too.

1 – Coolamon is a Wiradjuri word. Adapted from the word gulaman, a coolamon is a traditional wooden or bark container used to carry things.

While it was called many different names in other parts of the country, coolamon is now the most commonly used term to describe this handy artifact.

2 – Coolamon is one of the best towns in the Riverina. Coolamon Holes Run was a property named after a cluster of waterholes known as Coolamon (or gulaman) by the local tribes. From there, the village of Coolamon was gazetted in 1881.

Boasting beautiful wide streets, iconic buildings and a historic town centre, Coolamon Shire is in the heart of Canola country and the perfect place for visitors and locals to get a taste of authentic Riverina life.

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3 – The Coolamon Rovers. In an astounding case of serendipity, Coolamon’s famous AFL and netball sides, ‘the Hoppers’, are officially the Coolamon Rovers.

If our name is indeed chosen by the public, we would literally have a Coolamon Rover on the moon. It’s like it was written in the stars!

4 – The moon is made of cheese. Okay, so this isn’t true, but humans have been making this joke for hundreds of years and it just so happens that Coolamon is home to a world-famous cheese factory. Think of the marketing opportunities if Coolamon becomes the official home of moon cheese!

So there you have it. There is no excuse not to vote immediately and help put Coolamon on the moon.

Visit space.gov.au and vote before it closes at midnight on Friday 1 December 2023.

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