A perfectly placed and spray-painted cardboard cutout of cult cartoon character Mario has gone missing from Gungahlin Drive.
There have been sightings of the Mario caricature around Canberra, but the search is on to return the much-loved Mario to his home atop a concrete air-pipe that has added plenty of colour to the daily grind on Gungahlin Drive.
“The world would be a much happier place if epic cartoon characters such as Mario are placed around everywhere,” said Canberra photographer Ari Rex, who captured an image of Mario earlier this month.
“Mario is a sweet surprise on the grassy roadside. Make sure he doesn’t send you off the road into the lava if you go past,” said another Mario fan on social media.
Mario is a fictional character in the video game franchise owned by Nintendo and created by Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. The company’s mascot and protagonist in the Mario and Super Mario games has appeared in more than 200 video games since his creation.
The homage to Mario on Gungahlin Drive first sprung up at the beginning of spring but has now disappeared.
The My Gungahlin page also posted yesterday seeking leads on the where Mario might have been karted.
“Some pollie probably pulled it down in case he got more votes than them,” said one commenter.
“THAT was art in Canberra … not the other so-called ones! Bring him back,” urged another.
“I am so sad that Mario has disappeared. I got such a happy feeling each time I drove past. I am in my 60s and love Mario games,” another comment added.
Gungahlin Lakes Club even reported a sighting, suggesting “he was spotted on a kart around the golf course a few days ago”.
A spokesperson from Transport Canberra and City Services also confirmed their rangers or city presentation crews, who have begun their spring mowing program, were not responsible for taking Mario.
Meanwhile, the requests to return Mario have taken on a quest of their own in Canberra, with some asking ACT Policing to form their own strike force to find Mario.
“Some people are fools. Why can’t they just leave things alone? Put him back whoever took him.”
“My kids were so sad to see he had disappeared.”
Another made the (not-so-serious) suggestion that “a giant gorilla throwing barrels may be involved”.
If you know the whereabouts of Mario’s life-sized cutout, let us know in the comments.