A Guide to Australia’s Big Things

6 06 2012

Australia / Europe

Australia / USA

Australia. It’s a BIG country; a continent to be exact. The ‘Land Down Under’ is full of big open spaces and big skies. You’ve probably heard of our big natural wonders, like Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the Great Barrier Reef, but unless you’ve been on a good old fashioned road trip, it’s likely you’ve missed our obsession with BIG Things..

Put your seatbelt on, grab some travel sweets and a rug and get set for a trip around our land. Click any of the photos to plan your trip…


Big Lobster

The Big Lobster in South Australia is massive. Built in the 1970’s, it is 17m/55ft high, 15m/49ft long and over 13m/42ft wide. More than 90% of our population lives within an hour of the ocean, so it’s not surprising that we love our seafood. Stop here for a photo while you wait for Larry’s Super Brekkie and marvel at this giant crustacean. Paul Kelly designed this, keep an eye out for his other work – the Big Scotsman in North Adelaide.

Big Oyster – Taree, NSW

Clearly the most surreal of all Big Things is the Big Oyster in New South Wales. Locals dub it the ‘Big Mistake’. It features a glass viewing deck which overlooks the road towards the coast. It was built by the folks who also completed the Big Prawn and celebrates the local oyster industry. The Big Oyster now sits over the sales yard for Kia Motors, selling Korean cars, hopefully not by the dozen.

The Big Prawn – Ballina.

The Big Prawn became one of Australia’s most loved big things although it lost much of its lustre over the years and the local council approved plans for its demolition. Thanks to good old Aussie power and a Facebook page, the big prawn was saved. The property was recently sold to a large hardware store which has decided to keep the big prawn for its promotional and marketing value. “Got some DIY or a project on this weekend?  Get all you need down at the Big Prawn…”   Yup, it really makes sense doesn’t it?

We love BIG FRUIT!!

Big Pineapple – Nambour, Queensland.

Australia is a very old country with a young history. European settlers claimed the land in 1788 after thousands of years of occupation by the nomadic aboriginal people.  Although natural beauty abounds, we don’t have a lot of ‘structural’ history, so when we get some, we really hang on to it.  The Big Pineapple is 52ft high (16m) and was built in 1971.  It burnt down and was then rebuilt in 1978 and is now officially Heritage listed.  Yes, that’s right – it is a National Treasure and is undergoing a massive resoration program to bring it back to its former glory.  The Big Pineapple also proudly sponsors a Porsche (yes a Porsche!!)  in a car race!!!

Their Royal Highnesses, Prince Charles and Princess Diana travelled in a carriage on the Pineapple Train during their visit on the 12th April 1983.  I’m sure they chose this over the Macadamia Nutmobile which is on the same site.  True.  Oh and yes, you CAN hire the Big Pineapple Function Centre for your wedding. I knew you were going to ask.

Big Mango – Bowen, Queensland.

The Big Mango is in the town of Bowen which is a local mango growing area in Queensland.  You can find this big fruit at the tourist and visitor information centre. Interestingly enough, the mango is featured here upside down.

I think the sculptor took a bit of artistic licence in order to present it (or balance it) well.  Mangoes usually hang on the tree the other way up.  That’s just a small taste of our BIG fruit.  You might also like to check out the bunch of fun at the Big Banana (we have a couple of those), The Big Orange, the Big Mandarin (which is on the largest citrus orchard in the Southern Hemisphere, which also houses a lungfish display. True!!) and the Big Apple (there are SIX of them).

We’ve got Big Animals!

The Giant Koala – Victoria. (click photo to visit webpage)

Completed in 1989, towards the end of the Big Thing building program, the Big Koala isn’t just big it is GIANT at 45 feet / 14 metres high.

The Giant Koala is near Dadwell’s Bridge which is a small town in Victoria, regarded as the Gateway to the Grampian Mountains.  Consequently, the Giant Koala is the “Guardian of the Grampians”.

Step inside the koala for a range of tourist goodies before you go to the petting zoo and hold either Cuddles or another obliging koala (for a small fee) and other animals like baby turkeys.

So, don’t rush on by to get to the natural beauty of the Grampian Mountains!!  Stop here and grab some take-away food.  They’re pretty proud of their camp oven meats… (steer clear of the turkey, just saying).

The Big Murray Cod – Swanhill, Victoria

The Big Murray Cod sits outside the train station in Swan Hill and is a monument to the big cod fish.  Cod has been a regular in the river before it was used for irrigation and drought affected the water level.  Murray Cod is still present in the river but not in the same numbers as it used to be.  This model is 11metres long and six metres wide and was built as a prop for the movie “Eight Ball”.  The locals liked it so much they found a home for it!!

The Big Galah – Kimba,

The Big Galah is located in Kimba, a town of about 800 people that lies 70 miles west of Iron Knob. That’s a blip on the Nullabor Plain (about half way across Australia).  The most notable attraction just has to be the Big Galah which is near the wheat silos.  It stands 25 feet high and is right near the gem shop.

My sister in law dared me encouraged me to write this post after I spent an afternoon complaining about the new Big Thing that has appeared in our own neighbourhood.  A local builder is developing some

The Big Bobtail in Kalamunda – aka the Kalasaurus

land which will include eight luxury apartments with beautiful parkland and city views.  Each apartment has a wine cellar, wooden floors, double balconies and will be made of rammed earth.  It sounds like a great deal, especially for those people who have already paid their deposits and are awaiting the finished product.  I don’t think the Giant Bobtail Lizard was part of the plans…. but here it is, right outside your million dollar investment in Kalamunda.  Locals have dubbed this monstrocity the “Kala-saurus”

Okay, now check out the slideshow below for a load of our BIG things and start planning your road trip.  For a comprehensive list, check out these great links to other BIG THINGS. including the Big Coffee Pot, Axe, Rocking Horse, Wheelbarrow, Boxing Crocodile, Macadamia, Cassawray, Ned Kelly….

Oh and do let me know what Big Thing YOU would build if you had a dusty slice of Australia…

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The Art of Australian Football

30 05 2012

On a trip to Melbourne last year, we toured the magnificent Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) which is also home to the Australian Football League (AFL).  Even though we’re well into the winter AFL season, I’m not crazy about the game and in recent years the off-field dramas have seemed to overshadow the game itself.

The MCG is a fantastic stadium and deserves its title as the Home of Sport in Australia.  It was the main stadium for the Olympic Games in 1956 and the 2006 Commonwealth Games.  With major upgrades and the inclusion of the National Sports Museum, it is now a tourist attraction in itself, even when no sport is being played.

The picture below shows the differences between the shapes and sizes of three game balls.

Compare: Rugby / Australian Football / American Football

One of the foyer exhibits really caught my eye.  It is a stroke of genius and displays the art of football.  The Australian Football is made up of a leather skin, an internal bladder filled with air and leather laces to join the opening.  These three components make up the wonderful wall sculpture in the foyer of the MCG.

Sculpture: Football Pieces: (from centre out) Skin, Bladder, Laces

I’d love to go back and see a game some day.  The ground holds 100,000 and I can imagine that the goose-bumps would rise as the crowd cheers the teams onto the field.  I think I’ll put that on the Bucket List…

MCG: Foyer Sculpture – Footballs deconstructed

City of Perth, WA

3 02 2012

I have a new job in the city centre. It’s the first time I’ve worked in the city and the first time I’ve ever had an office without a window. It’s strangely disorienting and I realise, (now I’m in the confines of a Dilbert style air-conditioned tower block) that my soul is intimately connected to the natural elements. I feel like I need to see the sky to know what my world is doing

I decided to take a walk for my half hour lunch break as I needed to clear my head from the morning’s work. It was an overcast day; very hot, sticky and humid. I rarely venture into the city so I felt almost like a tourist. I wandered around with no real agenda, glancing at my watch to make sure I wasn’t too long. It was nice to relax, just notice what was around while others in suits scuttled past with their heads down, tired of city life. It was a nice break in the day and reminded me that there is a lot to see if you just look. Enjoy these shots from downtown Perth.

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