I am rather an idiot. I had more than half of a snarky post written for this morning when to my dismay I realized it was Friday night. And, if it was Friday night, than I should be writing Saturday Surprise, not snark, right? So, I considered making my apologies and skipping Saturday Surprise, for that was written into the contract when I first started the feature, but … it’s been a hellish week and I figure we are all ready for something more fun.
Australia has been plagued by massive bushfires for the past several weeks … remember, it’s summer down under. So, when I came across the ‘Big Things’ of Australia, I thought it was the perfect thing for this week’s Saturday Surprise! So, what are the ‘Big Things’?
Australia’s ‘Big Things’ are a roadside symbol, an obsession that turned into a tradition and now a popular tourist attraction. These are sculptures of everyday items that have been recreated in gigantic dimensions and littered across the country. It has been estimated that there are over 150 such objects around the country.
It started back in 1964 when a local banana grower John Landl decided that a visible gimmick would help him sell more fruit. So he built an 11 meter long, 5 meter high fibre glass banana, based on the precise measurements of the winner from the recent agricultural show.The Big Banana, one of the first big things, is a walkthrough banana in the city of Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. Banana-related products are shown or sold, and the grounds of the building are a banana plantation, a souvenir shop and restaurant.The Big Pineapple is located on the Sunshine Coast in South East Queensland, Australia. It is 52 feet high and was originally opened on the 15 of August 1971. Inside the fruit are two rides: one on a Nut Mobile, the other on a small train that takes passengers on a tour of the plantation and lets them optionally disembark at a small zoo situated on the property.The Big Golden Guitar is located in Tamworth, New South Wales, in front of the famous Longyard Hotel on the Sydney Road. It was unveiled in 1988 by Australia’s most popular country music artist, Slim Dusty. The monument is one of the best-known points of interest in New South Wales and is also a major attraction during the Tamworth Country Music Festival.The Big Beer Can is located above the entrance to the Grand Hotel in Cobar, New South Wales. It stands about five meters tall and is two-and-a-half meters across. Built in 1990, it entered the Guinness world record for the largest beer can anywhere in the world.The Giant Koala is situated midway between the Victorian towns of Stawell and Horsham at a small town called Dadswells Bridge. The Giant Koala was erected in 1989. It’s 46 feet high and weighs just over 13 tons, set on a steel frame and a paste of fiberglass and bronze was used to create the exterior. Inside is a restaurant and souvenir shop.The Big Boxing Crocodile is located outside the United fuel station (formerly known as the Bush Shop) on the Arnhem Highway, in a town called Humpty Doo. This humorous attraction is a reference to the large crocodile population in the area. Humpty Doo … don’t you just love that name!A bull ant sculpture designed by artist Pro Hart, which was erected in 1980 and originally stood at the Stephens Creek Hotel. It was moved to its current location, next to the Tourist Information Centre in Broken Hill, after being donated to the city in 1990.The Big Funnel Web Spider was built at Jamberoo Action Park located 20 minutes south of Wollongong and is a steel, fiberglass and concrete structure 420 times larger than a female Sydney funnel-web spider. It was awarded a Guinness World Record as the Largest Spider Sculpture in August 2015.The Big Scotsman, affectionately known as ‘Scotty’, was erected in 1963 and thus predated the Big Banana by a year. Located at Scotty’s Motel on the corner of Main North Road and Nottage Terrace in the inner-city suburb of Medindie, the Big Scotsman was designed by Paul Kelly, who later went on to build the Big Lobster.
Located in the Hunter Valley which is home to some of Australia’s best vineyards stands the Big Wine Bottle. Thousands of tourists flock ever year to sample some of the best wine in the region. It was built in 1998 and the neck forms a chimney for an open fire contained within.Located at the Shell petrol station and roadhouse on the corner of Dougall Street and Roe Street (Bruce Highway). Created by proprietor Lex Milner, who owned the service station at the time and wanted to promote his tasty mud crab sandwiches. Mud crab sammies? I’ll pass on that one. The Big Mango stands at the tourist information centre in Bowen. In February 2014, the Mango was temporarily “stolen” by restaurant chain Nando’s as a publicity stunt.In 2018, the town of Chinchilla won a national competition run by Wotif to create a Next Big Thing as a tourist attraction. The melon was installed next to the town’s information center in November 2018.
Obviously, I cannot cover all 150 of the Big Things, but if you’re interested, Wikipedia has a fairly comprehensive section listing most of them. This video had some interesting information on a few of them, too.
As I mentioned in the beginning, much of Australia is afire, so let us hope the winds die down and they get some much-needed rain … soon! To our friends in Australia … keep safe!!!
Okay, folks, that’s a wrap … now go enjoy your weekend!