Big Things.

The Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, was Australia’s first “Big Thing”. Built in 1964 it still stands proudly on the highway in front of what was once a large banana plantation and which now doubles as a tourist attraction promoting oddly enough, bananas.

Australia has over 230 “Big Things” all across the country. They are generally on major roads, kitsch, and butt ugly. We have a Big Prawn, Big Lawnmower, Big Orange and Big Rocking Chair. Personally, I don’t get the attraction though many holidaymakers arrange their journeys around these tourist traps. 

A selection of our BIG THINGS. Hideous, aren’t they?

The first time I saw the Big Banana wasn’t until the early 1990’s with my own children.  Knowing we were in for a long car trip and attempting to stop a war from breaking out  in the back seat I kept both daughters bouyed with the wonder of the Big Banana. Can I tell you how appalled I was to arrive in sleepy little Coffs only to find the cover (or skin) of the banana away at the dry cleaners. Try explaining that to Little People.

I was reminded of this following my recent travels to Far North Queensland where everything seemed to be Big. The Big Cane Toad in Sarina, The Big Snake in Ayr, The Big Mango which looked like it had been hit by a truck in some little town along the way, and my favourite, The Big Opened Sardine Can at Home Hill. No explanation for that one, sorry.

I wasn’t even aware of these Big Things until I was an adult. As a child the only large object I had witnessed was The Big Potato at Robertson on the way down the South Coast and you would never have guessed that the huge brown lump sitting in a paddock was a spud.

So why?

According to one source, “Big Things have become something of a cult phenomenon and are sometimes used as an excuse for a road trip where many or all big things are visited and used as a backdrop to a group photograph. Many of the big things are considered works of folk art and have been heritage-listed, though others have come under threat of demolition.” Sayonara Captain Cook in Cairns.

I’m not a fan of Big Things though I think this is in part because I was traumatised as a teenager after having spotted an army truck full of young soldiers urinating on The Big Golden Guitar at Tamworth, Australia’s country music capital.

Not so traumatised that I wasn’t excited showing 18 month old Harry The Big Crab in Cardwell.

Does your part of the world suffer from Big Things too? Do you have a favourite?

16 thoughts on “Big Things.

  1. There is a small town in Casey, Illinois which has a number of these “big things.” It is their claim to fame. We passed through the town for one night when returning from a trip. But, we only got a glimpse of one of these large items. There is even a map to take a walking tour. We are passing through that town in 2023. I do have to admit these things make me smile a bit – but only if I see them on “good days.” Now, here in the US, there are a number of giant rocking chairs at various tourist sites. I’ve taken pictures of Dan sitting in various ones. Thanks for your fun post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharon

    I am strangely fond of the phenomena of big things, I never used to be, but these days they have a kind of nostalgic charm. I think my favourite is the big green dinosaur on the highway at Ballandean, called fruitisforus (fruit is for us), it started life as a float at the apple and grape festival in Stanthorpe only to continue life as a roadside landmark.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s the Big Nickel in Sudbury, Ontario. It’s a replica of the Canadian five cent coin. I’ve never seen it, but I guess it makes sense, as Sudbury’s a mining town with extensive nickel deposits. There’s also the Big Apple, which is just outside Toronto. It’s attached to a place that sells ‘all things apple’ – pies, pastry, cider, etc. But not actual apples, interestingly enough. I’ve driven past it many times, but never stopped in.

    My favourite is the statue of Flintabbatey Flonatin in Manitoba. He’s a character from an old dime-store novel – an adventurer – and when copper was discovered and a mining town grew up around it, it got named Flin Flon after him. Not sure it qualifies as ‘big’ in the same way the others do, but I’ve got a family photo kicking around somewhere of me sitting on my brothers’ shoulders next to it, and still not even reaching the top of the plinth the character stands on. That seemed big enough to me when I was a kid!

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    1. It IS truly bizarre. At least the other BIG things are in part used to promote a product from that area – prawn, bananas, mangos, oranges- but a sardine tin? I did check if there was ever a processing plant in the town but no. Someone with a twisted outlook I would suggest.
      Thanks for dropping by…..

      Liked by 1 person

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