Close, but no cigar

Churchill and District Community Association president Margaret Guthrie by the town's official symbol. photograph michelle slater

Michelle Slater

A renowned Churchill town landmark is in the process of being formally named and recognised after locals had been incorrectly referring to it as the Big Cigar.

Latrobe City Council will now formally adopt the name Churchill Town Symbol to correctly reflect the architect’s original intentions for the structure.

Council will approach the Victorian Registrar of Geographic Names to have the correct moniker enshrined in history.

The Churchill and District Community Association (CDCA) had been pushing for the un-named structure to be formally known as Churchill Town Symbol.

The CDCA is also hoping for Latrobe City to install a plaque for locals to properly understand its history, as well as to restore its lights so it can be fully illuminated at night.

CDCA president Margaret Guthrie said the town symbol was never formally registered after it was built by the housing commission in 1967.

“Many people think it’s called the Big Cigar under the mistake that it was designed to look like a cigar, as Winston Churchill smoked a cigar, but this is not the case,” Ms Guthrie said.

“It was designed to be uplifting and to inspire residents to look towards the heavens. It’s a landmark, a beacon.”

Churchill was indeed named in honour of the British prime minister who died in 1965 when the first residential developments were in place.

There had previously been a fountain in memory of Winston Churchill in the town’s West Place courtyard before it was removed for re-development.

Ms Guthrie said the architect wanted something in place so the burgeoning town could be seen from a distance.

She said there was some conjecture at the time between locals who would rather have a town swimming pool built than the town symbol.

“People have been making up their own
interpretation of this landmark, but it’s all a myth, if you call it the cigar, everyone knows what you are taking about,” she said.

“We want to record accurate history, not myth so let’s seize this opportunity now before it disappears into the mists of time.”