Mourners flock to farewell Cutie

By Shirley Higgins-Croft.

From Botswana, from Birdsville and from Brinsmead they came. From the families of Pelecanidae, Phoenicopteridae and Thurston they came. Over the canefields, from the swamps and through the McGregor Road construction-site they came. They drove, they crawled, they flew, they walked. And yesterday, they cried and squawked. On an unseasonably wet day at the Yaps Gardens in Smithfield (above) they paid their respects and bid their farewells to Cutie the Curlew.

Cutie was killed in a fracas in late February that caused a worldwide social media sensation. In the short time since, she has become a local icon. More than one thousand mourners attended the burial ceremony to bear witness to a life led to the full in the paradise that is Trinity Beach. A life of strutting and screeching and shitting. A life of so many chicks and so much love. It was a moving ceremony, in which mourners were able to view the bird in calm repose, de-loused and tastefully arranged in its tiny coffin, mounted upon a intricately carved funeral plinth of pure ivory.

Within this atmosphere of deep sorrow and chirping, there was one jarring moment. A pet cat, brought along by its owners to provide comfort during this profoundly emotional time, escaped their grasp, jumped into the open coffin and started toying with the deceased. Fortunately, Reverend Magritte Bayliss of White Ladies quickly intervened, apprehended the intruder and seamlessly reattached the starboard wing. The ceremony then continued without further interruption.

In his eulogy, Mayor Bob Manning provided a ray of hope glinting over the rocky horizon of the McAllister Range. “Cutie’s life, taken far too soon by Destiny’s spatula, will not be forgotten”, he declared. “We will make sure of that. The council have approved plans for a giant statue to be constructed on Trinity Beach in Cutie’s honor.”

Manning’s final words, reproduced below, formed a perfect tribute to our Cutie. Long will she be remembered.

“Vale Cutie. Screech well in the afterlife, old friend. There, your plumage is forever sleek and downy. Your beak is unrelenting. The lice are plentiful and nourishing. Inside the hearts of those left behind, your memory is secure. Screech well.”

Published by murraymurchison

Editor in Chief at the Trinity Beach Plain Dealer

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