The Lost Continent: Australia on Westfield’s old globe

The central feature of Westfield State University’s campus is a large globe sculpture. This has been true for a while, but not always the same globe. In 2015, during the excitement around the Patriots Superbowl win, enthusiastic students cleared the benches, rejoiced on the green, and climbed inside the globe. This wasn’t the first time the campus had hosted an impromptu outdoor party of this nature – I seem to recall a similar reaction to a Redsox championship in 2013 (but it could have been a playoff game – my memory is foggy. But this time, the globe sustained major damage. The overly enthusiastic students shook the globe until it strained against its joints, and ultimately failed in several places. Tectonic plates torn asunder like something out of a disaster film.

You may notice from these pictures that the entire continent of Australia is missing. However, this was a pre-existing condition – I’m pretty sure the absent continent left a hole which allowed the revelers access to the interior. So consider this excerpt press release that the school released about the incident:

The university inherited the Globe from Stanley Home Products and it is missing the continent of Australia because it was not within Stanley’s global business reach.

Contemporary statement from the WSU spokesperson

This is an incredibly weird statement. As you can see from the first image in this article, the globe used to feature Australia. The loss of Australia running joke on campus. Rumors abound about where it ended up (which I won’t relate to protect the innocent… or guilty.) The story was, however, that it up and fell off. To my knowledge, no great effort was made to replace it.

So why make up this absurd lie? It’s so easily verified to be false – campus promotional material (including the desktop background of campus PCs, the file photo above!) contained images of Australia on the globe. Anyone who’d attended the school during or before 2011 (latest possible year it could have fallen off.) It’s just a silly idea: nobody commissions a globe sculpture missing a continent. It’s not a thing people do. Nobody would accept a donation of an incomplete globe like that.

I guess I’d never imagined that level of brazen dishonesty from an institution before. I suppose that was a very naive, 2015 attitude to have.

The author of the statement was contacted for further insight, but there was no response.

The damaged globe was replaced by a much nicer sculpture which does feature Australia.