15 of Australia's Really Big Things
It’s not how you use it, it’s how big it is.
Let’s face it, most people are amazed by magnitude, and Australia happens to cater for those who like it very, very big.
From mangoes to prawns to tinnies, Australia is covered in enormous sculptures of really weird things that often punctuate the long drives between some of our more remote towns. Since the first (The Big Scotsman of Adelaide) popped up, tourists have come a-flocking, staring up in double-chinned wonderment.
With some of them even being heritage-listed, it’s no wonder these guys are popular backdrops for social media selfies.
There are estimated to be over 150 of these sculptures all over the country, making it an unrealistic (albeit honourable) goal to cover every single one of them.
So instead, here are 15 of our favourite really big things, proving that down under, size really does matter.
Giant Owl – Belconnen, 2011
Built by Melbourne sculptor, the strong-armed Bruce Armstrong, this bird may be creepy AF with its dead black I-know-what-you-did-last-summer eyes. However, it qualifies as a contender in the ACT ‘big things’ list.
Big Banana – Coffs Harbour, 1964
There is a huge banana in Coffs Harbour on the North Coast, and this thing is the ultimate test of maturity. You think you’re too old to take a photo in front of it? You’re not. You think you’re too old to make phallic jokes? You’re not. You think you’re too old for the frozen chocolate-covered bananas they sell at The Candy Kitchen? You’re DEFINITELY not.
The Big Beer Can – Cobar, 1990
Ahh, the giant Tooheys New tinnie. You’ll find it above the entrance to the Grand Hotel, and you’ll find yourself craving the good Aussie brew shortly after sighting it. It’s weird.
The Big Boxing Crocodile – Humpty Doo, 1988
Anyone who thought that kangaroos were the only animals who could box must be feeling p-r-e-tty embarrassed right now. This guy hangs out outside the United fuel station (which used to be known as the Bush Shop), if you feel like challenging him to a lil’ fisty-cuffs.
The Big Aboriginal Hunter (or the Anmatjere Man) - Anmatjere Community, 2005
This is one of the few sculptures within Australia’s Big Things tour that is more on the beautiful end of the spectrum than the gimmicky. This long lean piece sits at the Aileron caravan park north of Alice Springs, alongside his missus and kid, The Anmatjere Woman and Child.
The Big Crab – Miriam Vale, 1979
Apparently the guy who used to own Shell Service Station and Restaurant back in the day built this giant crab to promote his mud crab sandwiches. Did you hear that, folks? If you build it, they will come. Worked for the Colonel too.
The Big Barrel – Bundaberg, 2005
We hear the underlying message of the Big Barrel loud and clear: delicious brewed drinks. This barrel is actually a visitor’s centre, gift shop and bottle shop, where you can take an interactive ‘True Brew’ tour and appease your inner scab at the Sampling Bar where they give away tastes for FREE.
Near The Whitsundays
The Big Mango – Bowen, 2002
The Big Mango is like the bonus of this list – granting Queensland an extra mention and graduating it to favourite child status in the Big Things tour. Why, you may ask? Because it was once “stolen” by Nando's (yeah, the chicken place) as a publicity stunt in 2014. If you can fit a 10-metre mango in your shorts, you deserve the attention quite frankly.
The Big Lobster – Kingston SE, 1979
This whopping crustacean is known as ‘Larry’ amongst his neighbours, the people of Kingston. Much like many of the other Big Things, Larry was built at a visitor centre and seafood restaurant in an effort to promote it. The menu is pretty lobster-heavy as you could imagine – mind you, not 4000kg heavy.
The Big Wickets - Westbury
These wickets are an ode to Jack Badcock – a cricketer that was born in humble Westbury – and stand in front of the local cricket pitch. Technically, you can even play cricket on them.
The Big Tasmanian Devil – Mole Creek
Everyone knows that the Tasmanian Devil is the biggest hoax of the Aussie animal kingdom. It’s like naming your Chihuahua after the T-Rex. Perhaps to give the little guys a bit of dignity back, they built an oversized sculpture at the entrance to the Trowunna Wildlife park and Tasmanian Devil research centre.
The Giant Koala – Dadswell Bridge, 1989
What a cutie. Made by sculptor Ben Van Zetton, this 14-metre-tall (46 foot) Big Thing is also a souvenir store for tourists, and stands to commemorate Sam the Koala who was harmed in a bushfire. This statue exists to raise awareness for the declining koala population.
The Public Purse – Melbourne
When you’re pooped after a long day of bargain-hunting, this giant purse sculpture makes for a great (and ironic) place to rest. Located in Bourke Street Mall outside the GPO, this Big Thing is often a depressing reminder of the cash you now no longer have in your own purse.
The Big Crocodile – Wyndham, 1987
Now, this is one of our favourite Big Things because, for many of us, it’s the closest we’ll ever get to caressing a croc. Built by the kiddies of the community, this 20-metre-long (66 foot) sculpture stands as a reminder that these dinosaur-esque dudes are actually something to be careful of.
The Big Marron - Between Denmark and Walpole
The locals like to call this sculpture ‘Rex of the River’, even though the previously-mentioned Big Croc is probably more suited to that name. Marron is the common crayfish species of the area, and it’s a pretty true blue West-Oz thing. Fun fact: these confused little crustaceans look like crayfish and taste like frogs’ legs.