2 February 2021|Community News| Off Comments off on HORSING AROUND WITH MOONAH ICON|

A NORTHERN suburbs icon has found a new home after Moonah paint store Wattyl farewelled Chester the Horse after 50 years.

Local entertainer John Xintavelonis (John X) was offered the chance to take the life size fibreglass horse back to his home to use for his theatre productions and also offer to people for community use free of charge.

Wattyl stores across Australia would place similar horses outside their stores to signal they were open and advertise their products.

Chester has sat outside the Moonah store on Main Road since the 1970s and has become an icon to those in the community.

“It’s been an institution and people have known about the white Wattyl horse for ages, and it’s got such a history at the Hobart Cup as well,” John X said.

“It’s like having David Boon in your house or another Tasmanian icon like the Tasman Bridge.

“It’s like looking across the River Derwent and seeing Mount Wellington, or looking down the road and seeing Wrest Point, or going to the cricket and seeing Ricky Ponting – Chester is up there with those.”

John X previously used Chester in the Bawdy Panto in 2019 where he rode in on the horse to a standing ovation during a medley about the Speaker of the House of Assembly Sue Hickey.

He said it could be used for a number of things such as advertising or charity events, as well as for theatre productions, and encouraged people to get in contact with him if they wanted to use the horse.

“I didn’t want to see it end up on a trash heap and I didn’t want to see it be exploited by anyone who might have used it for financial gain – I think it belongs to the community,” he said.

“It’s been around for so long and people are so familiar with seeing it, so it deserves to be shared by everyone and I’m happy to be its caretaker.

“I hope it represents a sense of history and a sense of community.”

The name Chester is still being debated, with John X’s seven-year-old daughter Caliope wanting to name the horse Spirit after a children’s animated movie.

“She always wanted a horse, so I finally got her one – although she isn’t overly impressed that it’s not real,” John X said.

For more information or to enquire about using the horse, send a message to the John X Actor Facebook page or email johnx@netspace.net.au.

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