Amy’s our resident Big Things expert. Once we’re given the go ahead, she reckons you should road trip to some of the more obscure Australian Big Things and help out the tiny towns they reside in.
The Big Banana. The Big Pineapple. The Big Prawn. Even the Big Potato.
We’ve all heard of them, driven past them, heck, most of us even have a photo standing in front of them, tucked away in a dusty, old photo album somewhere. Australia’s Big Things are synonymous with family road trips, ‘70s nostalgia and rural Aus.
But I bet you didn’t know there are over 150 Big Things across the country. In fact, depending on what you consider big, some people say there are 150 Big Things in Queensland alone. I’ll give you a second to pick your jaw up off the ground….
That’s right, those iconic Big Things you know and love barely scratch the surface of what’s out there.
There’s a whole smorgasbord of random, over-sized, inanimate objects hidden around the country, just waiting for a couple of giggling tourists to snap their photo in front of them. Some have an interesting backstory, others just seem completely pointless. But they’re all beautiful, in their own kitsch and kooky way.
It’s my honour to introduce you some of the Big Things you probably never knew existed.
1. The Big Galah – Kimba, SA
Situated in the tiny town of Kimba in South Australia, the Big Galah perches perfectly between the east and west coasts, marking halfway across this wide land.
It stands around 8m tall and was built in 1993 to highlight the amount of galahs that hang around the area.
Don’t believe me? Go see it for yourself ya flaming galah!
2. Big Peg – Canowindra, NSW
Driving down NSW country roads, one of the last things you’d expect to pass is a giant metal peg sticking up in the middle of the paddock. But that’s exactly what the Stacey family, from the tiny town of Canowindra have propped up on their property.
The Big Peg has been a completely personal project for Mr Stacey, who was inspired by a similar wooden peg he saw in a field in Belgium.
At 750kg, you certainly wouldn’t have to worry about your washing blowing away. But for now all this peg is pinching is a big pile of dirt.
3. Big Rocking Horse – Gumeracha, SA
You know all those times you bugged your parents for the biggest toy in the shop? I doubt this is what Wal Wilkinson’s kids were expecting to end up with when he commissioned two mates to build a big rocking horse back in 1981.
This thing is 18m tall (or around 177 hands), 17m long and weighs a mind-boggling 25 tonnes. It sits outside the toy factory in Gumeracha, South Australia, with an adjoining cafe and wildlife park.
Before this behemoth horse was built, smaller rocking horses were in its place, with each subsequently replaced with larger versions. The rocking horse that remains can be climbed! It has three viewing platforms open to the public; one at the rockers, the saddle and even at the horses head. Giddy up!
4. The Big Tennis Racquet – Barellan, NSW
A personal favourite of mine, the Big Tennis Racquet (and ball) can be found in the village of Barellan, in western NSW. Built in 2009, the racquet pays homage to Evonne Goolagong Cawley, the first Indigenous Australian to win a Wimbledon Tennis Championship, who grew up in the town.
It’s perfectly replicated off of Goolagong’s own wooden Dunlop racquet on a 20:1 scale, and was unveiled as part of the town’s centenary celebrations by Goolagong herself.
5. The Big Playable Guitar – Narrandera, NSW
While you’re out west, why not stop into Narrandera and give the Big Playable Guitar a strum – you might need a mate to lend you a few fingers though.
The Big Playable Guitar was constructed in 1988 by ex-Narrandera local Robert Palmer, to promote the local music club. It took over 300 hours to complete and held the Guinness World Record for World’s Biggest Playable Guitar for nine years. Even without the current world title, at over 5.5m long and 2m wide, it’s still pretty dang big.
Don’t forget to pack your big pick!
6. The Big Hairy Nosed Wombat – Thallon, QLD
William the Wombat is a 2m tall Northern Hairy Nosed Wombat who hangs out in a park in Thallon, Queensland. This particular breed of furry friend is special to the Thallon community as many of the first specimens were found in the area. The Northern Hairy Nosed Wombat is also highly endangered, with only 250 remaining.
William was built as a joint effort to bring awareness to the endangered species and to drive tourism to the town of Thallon, which has suffered from many years of drought.
If that’s not enough reason to go say hi to William, there’ve been a bunch of climbing holds built into the side of the wombat so little kids (and big kids alike) can climb onto his back.
7. The Big Potatoes and Forks – Thorpdale, VIC
The potato farming town of Thorpdale in Victoria’s Gippsland hosts an annual potato festival each year. It’s also home to a big ol’ plate of spuds with forks in them.
Sitting pretty outside the Spud Shed, is where you’ll find this delicious dinner. Created by a local artist in 2008 to coincide with the United Nations Year of the Potato (praise be), the five spuds are made from local bluestone rocks, while the forks are made of steel and stand around 3m tall.
8. Big Kookaburra – Kurri Kurri, NSW
Perched atop an old tree stump in Kurri Kurri sits the Big Kookaburra, keeping a watchful eye over the town.
The 4.5m bird was created from recycled materials by artist Chris Fussell and with its blue feathers and red painted tail, is one of the more realistic looking Big Things. It was gifted to the town of Kurri Kurri by Hydro Aluminium in celebration of the smelter’s 40th anniversary in 2009.
Merry merry king of the bush is he.
9. Big Wickets – Westbury, TAS
The Big Wickets can be found by the local cricket ground in Westbury, Tasmania and pay homage to former Australian representative and local cricket legend Jack Badcock.
The two sets of wickets are both 8m high and 3m wide, and feature a pitch between them. Howzaaaat!
10. Big Easel and Painting – Emerald, QLD
Possibly one of the last places on earth you’d expect to see such fine art, Emerald in Central Queensland is home to an absolutely mammoth replica of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, mounted onto a giant easel.
The steel easel is a towering 25m high and weighs a ridiculous 17 tonnes. The painting itself is 7 x 10 metres. But this isn’t the only giant Van Gogh painting in the world, oh no. It makes up part of the Van Gogh Project by Canadian artist, Cameron Cross which features another six oversized Van Gogh paintings situated in random countries around the world. I’d cut my own ear off just to see it.