Big Things

Australia has a passion for Big Things.

We have a Big Prawn, Penguin, Merino, Bull, Pineapple, Banana, Mango (yes, I know, there is a disproportionate amount of fruit…), Koala, Pie, Kelpie, Guitar, Peanut, Blue Heeler, Rocking Horse… I could go on and on, there are at least 150 of them scattered around the country. If you’re at all interested in this phenomenon, I suggest you have a look at the article about it on Wikipedia, here.

Australia also specialises in very, very odd place names. I won’t bore you with another list. Suffice it to say that the other day we had a close encounter with a Big Thing in an Odd Place.

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Mooball, Mooball, so good they had to say it twice on the same sign

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The Moo Moo Café and matching accessories

The inhabitants of Mooball, in northern New South Wales have decided to celebrate their Odd Place’s oddness. Every telegraph pole in town has its bottom section painted white with big black patches, like a Friesian cow. Moo…Cow, geddit?  The village’s café is entirely covered in black and white patches. So is the jeep outside. The joke goes on and on, all over town.

Scarlett and Mooball Big Friend

Miss Scarlett and Big Friend

Directly across the road from the Moo Moo Café is Mooball’s Big Thing. We saw it, we screeched to a halt and we had to take a photo! Here is Miss Scarlett, a very big bike herself, suffering a bad case of hero worship. Mooball’s big thing is a Big Bike. And the crazy thing actually goes. Not fast, but it moves, the wheels turn and it makes motorbike type noises. Someone spent a lot of time, energy and money creating this Big Bike, which has appeared in countless photos.

As we were leaving, a coachload of tourists arrived and immediately started photographing everything. I suspect they may have been on a Big Thing tour…. yes, they do exist.

What’s the best Big Thing you’ve ever seen?  It doesn’t have to be in Australia, I’m sure other countries must have some of these oddities.


33 thoughts on “Big Things

  1. Jen says:

    Haha amazing! This totally made my day 🙂

  2. Carole says:

    I read about at least one big thing in Bill Bryson’s book – Down Under. He was quite fascinated by them. How brilliant to find a bigger version of Miss Scarlett 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      One of the most interesting things about the Big Thing phenomenon is that they’re sometimes quite random. The Big Bike is one of these. Some of the biggest ones are large enough to have a viewing room and stairs inside and are well known tourist attractions, others you only find by accident.

  3. Here is a post — Jim and I took our pictures with Superman a couple weeks ago. 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      Brilliant! I love these relics of an age before giant theme parks and back-of-car-seat DVD players. And I love the passion of the people who set up tiny out of the way museums of the most unlikely subjects.

  4. Magpie Sue says:

    Ha! I used to live in a big thing: Texas! And we had Big Tex standing over the state fair grounds in Dallas. :- )

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ve always thought that everything in Texas was Big! Seems I wasn’t far wrong… We have Captain Cook (who discovered Australia, so a bit of a local hero) standing by the side of the Capt Cook Highway up in Far North Queensland, with his hand held out as if to stop visitors going any further north!

  5. Nanette says:

    There used to be a Moo Moo Stitches Quilt Shop at Mooball but it’s mooved (:)) now to Stokers, across the range a bit. I’d forgotten about the Big Bike, but better I think you found it by yourselves and were suitably surprised and impressed. I’ve seen most of the “bigs” you mention, and o/s have seen a lot of big, really Big, Buddhas.

  6. katechiconi says:

    Glad the Quilt Shop has gone, or I’d had forced the Husband to pull over so I could have a nice look round and rummage for bargains… I’d seen photos of the Big Bike at various events, but never on its home territory.

  7. Kamakura’s giant Buddha. It is really far too tasteful to qualify as a true Big Thing, but I do love it. A proper Big Thing needs a good dose of kitsch. Goulburn’s giant concrete sheep is worth a stop.

    • katechiconi says:

      Ballina’s Big Prawn has big googly glass eyes you can look out of and scare the britches off passers by… Rockhampton has a whole herd of fairly outsize Big Bulls with really unfeasibly large, um, well, you know… Kitsch is indeed a vital attribute of a true Big Thing…

  8. EllaDee says:

    I’ve been to several of the Big’s you mention, as well as the Glenreagh’s [Big] Golden Dog at the hotel of the same name (near Coffs Harbour). No doubt we’ll make a trip to see Mooball’s Big Bike.

    • katechiconi says:

      You’ll know you’re in the right place by all the telegraph poles….

    • Nanette says:

      Let me know if you get this far north, Mooball is so close we often pop down there just for afternoon tea at the pub. You could come a little further north and visit the Valley, I’d be happy to make you to a cuppa, and/or show you the local sights 🙂

      • EllaDee says:

        Thank you for the lovely invitation 🙂 At the moment time constrains our orbit between Sydney and Mid-North Coast but once we are set free, the North Coast is very do-able from the Mid-North 🙂

  9. tialys says:

    I love the photograph of Miss Scarlett and her beau – it looks almost romantic!
    I think ‘big things’ for their own sake don’t happen quite as much in Europe but, being a doggy person, I do like Jeff Koons’ ‘Puppy’ outside the Guggenheim in Bilbao which, at over 12m and still growing, qualifies as big I think.

    • katechiconi says:

      Good one! I think you’re right about it not happening as much in Europe; it was a novel phenomenon for me. What tickles me is how bizarre some of the Bigs are… Miss Scarlett looks almost petite next to her Big friend, doesn’t she? Whereas in fact she’s built on extremely generous lines!

  10. Miss Scarlett looks like the offspring of Big Bike. I suppose the biggest things I’ve seen are both in Northumberland in the far north of England: Anthony Gormley’s giant rusty steel sculpture the Angel of the North, with arms outstretched beside the Great North Road (A1). The second is Northumberlandia, a vast Norse goddess sculpted from the spoil of an old mine. You can stand on a fingernail and not see the arm!

    • katechiconi says:

      The Angel of the North was already in place when I left England and is truly impressive and rather moving, but Northumberlandia is new to me. I must do a spot of Googling to see what else I can find about her.

    • katechiconi says:

      Good grief, she’s the biggest Big Thing I’ve ever seen! Have a look at this for a view of her in all her reclining glory:

      I can quite see why the landscape makes no sense unless you’re high above or see her in profile…

  11. Kirsten says:

    They certainly have embraced their name will all the cow-uflage! That bike is truly humungus.
    The biggest thing I can think of right now is the giant wicker man that is by the side of the M5 in Somerset. I see him on a regular basis. I am sure there are others, but right now I can’t think of them!

    • katechiconi says:

      I just had a look at him: Willow Man, near Bridgewater. Whoever made him spent a disproportionate amount of time getting his buttocks just right, but kind of lost interest around the time they reached his arms….

      • Kirsten says:

        Ha ha! I know!! He does have a very peachy bottom, and a teeny tiny head. He’s kind of all out of whack. Although he isn’t as green as he was, someone took pity on him and gave him a bath.
        PS – today I saw a giant Lindt chocolate bunny outside the Lindt shop. Sadly it was inflatable and not made from chocolate. But given that the sun is actually shining today, that is probably a good thing.

      • katechiconi says:

        Good grief! Well, I suppose Easter isn’t that far away… A time of torture for the mostly-chocolate-deprived among us. But you know, I don’t think it’s worth going online and doing extensive searches for gluten and lactose free choccies. I just can’t justify the stupid money that would be charged simply to indulge my addiction!

      • Kirsten says:

        I know, I’m sorry.
        I can’t believe that you are so limited in choices. Over here there are quite a few different brands that are dairy and gluten free that are not all that expensive (I have been having a look when out and about). Oh dear, I realise I may not be making the problem much better . . .

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I’m sure you must have a McDonald’s in Australia. The Big Mac Museum is about 2 miles from my house, and they boast the world’s biggest Big Mac!

  13. wombatquilts says:

    I miss the Big Pineapple. The pineapple is still there but the farm and store are gone….I have such fond memories of the pineapple sundaes I got every time a visitor came to town and we took them on the pineapple tour!

    • katechiconi says:

      I love Big Things, I must admit; they’re a tribute to the spirit of Australian eccentricity and individuality. My personal favourite is Bowen’s Big Mango, especially the icecream counter in the shop that belongs to it, which does the most divine mango gelato!

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