Apart from reason and the soul, there is another thing that separates humans from animals: the need to construct a dedicated building for the specific purpose of relieving oneself in public.
You know them as “public toilets”, and they’re almost always in a state of extreme grossness. But are there any nice ones out there?
The Continence Foundation of Australia (CFA) hopes so because this week – 19 to 25 June – is World Continence Week and it’s tracking down three of the country’s best public toilets.
It’s called the Great Dunny Hunt, and it’s about more than simply appreciating the grout in the tiles above the urinal.
Aspiring dunny hunters everywhere are encouraged to take photos of public toilets, upload them to the National Public Toilet Map, and enter a draw for one of three $500 Eftpos gift cards.
Only 3000 of the 21,000 public toilets listed on the map are accompanied by photos. The CFA wants to fix that.
“By updating the facilities on the National Public Toilet Map, you are supporting the thousands of people living with incontinence and/or disability in our community,” it says.
The CFA is after photos that “clearly show the outside of the public toilet and how accessible the entrance is”, as well as interior shots displaying the range of features such as adult and baby change facilities, ambulant features, drinking water, sharps and sanitary product disposal bins, and showers.
The expert panel of judges includes CFA CEO Rowan Cockerell and (two other titles we’ve never seen on a business card) International Toilet Enthusiast/Researcher Katherine Webber and The Great Dunny Hunter Sean Burford.
There’ll also be “honourable-mention” awards for the most colourful toilet and the one in the most unusual location.
There’s one more week to get photos in (entries close on 26 June), and that got us thinking: where are Canberra’s best public toilets?
We know they’re important because earlier this year, the brown stuff hit the whirly thing for the ACT Government when it copped criticism for not including any toilets at the new $7 million Ruth Park Play Space in Coombs.
“Finally made it to the fancy new multi-million-dollar playground in Coombs and there are no toilets and no trees for kids to go behind,” one mother told Region in January.
“We’d just done a walk around to see if we could find any and couldn’t so I told them they might have to go in the bush, which they were horrified by.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Canberra Airport, some parts of the Canberra Centre, Parliament House and the National Gallery of Australia have been nominated as ideal places to be caught out.
That’s before we get to the Canberra Museum and Gallery in the city, which has bidets.
But as for standalone toilet blocks in public places, we’ve got you covered …