Big things of Qld
Experience | Art | country towns | culture | Queensland

Big things of Qld

by Susie Baber  |  12 July 2023

Big things – so quintessentially Australian. Scattered across this big wide land, from the big mango in Far North Queensland to the big orange in WA there are plenty of big things to add to your travel itinerary!

Each one a marvel in imagination and engineering, you may not love them all but there is no denying that these larger-than-life creations will bring a smile to your dial.

Here are a few of Queensland’s marvellous creations we have come across on our travels…

The Big Easel

Location: Emerald, Queensland

13.6 tonnes of steel was to used to construct this 25 metre high Van Gogh reproduction. One of several giant Sunflower reproductions installed around the world in towns that have a connection to big yellow blooms or to the artist. Central Queensland is a major growing centre for sunflowers in Australia and holds a sunflower festival at Easter each year.

Created by Canadian artist Cameron Cross, the ‘canvas’ measures 7 metres wide by 10 metres high. Completed in November 1999, the oversized masterpiece stands proudly in Morton park near the tourist information center in Emerald.  Cameron is hoping to reproducing all seven of Vincent van Gogh’s sunflower paintings in seven countries around the world, with other sculptures currently standing in Canada and Kansas.

Crabs galore!

Queensland does love its big things. So much so that one big crab wasn’t enough for the sunshine state, they needed two.

The Big Crab 1: What better way to promote your delicious crab sandwiches than by putting a two metre high crab on top of your shop! Approximately 66 kilometres south of Gladstone, this tasty crustation has been balancing on top of the Shell Service Station and Restaurant in Miriam Vale since 1979.

The Big Crab 2: The big crab in Cardwell is a giant mud or mangrove crab perched on top of the Seaview Deli and Café. Four metres across and one metre wide this crab is much younger than his shell clad buddy only being created in 1986.

The Big Cassowarry

Location: Mission Beach, Queensland

Despite our best efforts, and the hundreds of warning signs we saw along our travels, the elusive Cassowarry was not to be found on our road trip through FNQ. The closest we came was this five metre high statue outside the Wongaling Beach Shopping complex in Mission Beach.

Cassowarry fun facts

  • Over 200 cassowarry attacks are recorded each year, most of them caused by people trying to get close to the birds.
  • The cassowary is the largest land animal in Australia? It weighs approximately 60 kg
  • Male cassowaries are great dads, they sit on their eggs for around 50 days until they hatch and then look after the chicks until the young ones are old enough to take care of themselves. 
The Cassowarry at Mission Beach
The Big Gumboot at Tully

The Big Gumboot

Location: Tully, Queenskand

The town of Tully in Qld holds the record for the highest annual rainfall in Australia, at a whooping 7.93m. This bronzed fiberglass gumboot just tops that height at 8m tall – maybe they have allowed for future record-breaking falls. Climbing the side of the boot is a white-lipped green tree frog, the world’s largest species of tree frog. Those with an interest in current rainfalls can check out the mechanical rain gauge that runs up the back of the boot.

The Big Gumboot was modeled on the artists own foot wear and trucked to Tully under police escort. The whole thing cost $30,000, which included a grant from the Queensland Government and $3000 from the Bata Shoe Company for having their logo on the boot.

The construction of the massive gumboot was delayed for more than a month by heavy rain, finally being completed in May 2003. Appropriately, torrential showers at the unveiling drenched visiting dignitaries – locals instantly deemed it $30,000 well spent.

The Big Watermelon and Pumpkin

Location: Gumlu,

Not the only giant slice of watermelon in Qld, but certainly appropriate for this major horticultural growing centre. Along with a giant pumpkin, the watermelon sits proudly next to a fruit and veg stand on the Bruce Highway. Pop in and pop your head through the watermelon wedge for a juicy photo.

The Big Mango

Location: Bowen, Queensland

Mangos were first introduced to Bowen from India in the 1800s. In recent years over 1.5 million trays of juicy mangos are grown in the region annually. The big mango has been sitting proudly next to the visitor information centre since 2001. Bearing the beautiful colouring of a Kensington Pride the statue is ten metres high and weighs seven tons.

The big mango was the victim of a heist in 2014 which made international news – turns out a fast food chain was responsible, they were using he stunt to promote their new lime and mango marinade!

There are mango flavoured delights available at the visitor center all year round. Next time you are driving up the Bruce Highway on the Whitsunday Coast drop in for a photo and a tasty treat.

The Big Mango at Bowen
The Big Cane Toad in Sarina

The Big Cane Toad

Location: Sarina, Queensland

Not the prettiest big thing we came across on our travels, but considering how many kilometres of cane fields we drove past and the history of the sugar industry in Sarina, it is very appropriate. The cane toad was introduced from Hawaii in 1935 in an attempt to combat the grey-backed cane beetle. Sadly they didn’t achieve their goal but instead spread throughout Qld, the Northern Territory and NSW becoming a pest in their own right.

The big cane toad was built in 1983 for a parade float and is known to the locals as Buffy. She now sits in the middle of the Bruce Highway, surrounded by gardens and picnic tables – you can’t miss her when you drive through town.

The Big Snake

Location: Ayr, Queensland

Gubulla Munda, a carpet snake of epic proportions, is the Aboriginal Totem and protective spirit for the Juru people of Biri Gubba Nation. He sits in Plantation Park to honor a sacred burial site. This area is of great significance to the Juru people, children were born on the banks of the creek, Elders were buried here and ceremonies held. The 60 metre long monument was designed and constructed by Dr Farvardin Daliri OAM and painted by many aboriginal artists.

The Big Bottle Tree

Location: Roma, Queensland

Roma’s Largest Bottle Tree has been categorised as a big thing. Technically, it isn’t the typical oversized object big things are known for, and I am not quite sure where the line should be drawn here – but it is big, and it is a thing, so what the heck.

Some of you might look at this picture and say – That’s a Boab! But it is not. It is a Queensland Bottle Tree, and probably the biggest bottle tree most people will ever see. With an impressive girth of 9.62 metres, a height of 15 metres and a crown of 23 metres. After suffering for many years from tourists walking over its root system, in 2022 a new viewing platform was built that lets you get close to the tree without doing any damage.

Transplanted from a local property by Roma Town Council in 1927, the tree was already mature when it was transplanted, which means it is over 100 years old.

No trip to Roma is complete without a selfie with the Big Bottle Tree!

Krys the Croc

Location: Normanton, Qld

While technically a ‘big thing’ should be larger than life, this croc is a life size replica of the original. The real thing holds a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the largest saltwater croc ever caught, at 8.6m or two tonnes it was one of a kind. The unlucky crocodile was killed with one shot on the banks of the Norman River in July 1957 by Krystina Pawlowski, and this statue has sat proud in the L.E.W. Henry Park in Normanton since 1996.

The Big Bundy Bottle

Location: Bundaberg, Qld

Got to love that alliteration…. This oversized beverage bottle was built for the World Expo in Brisbane in 1988 as part of the Bundaberg Rum Pavilion before being shipped north and installed outside the visitor centre at the Bundaberg Rum factory. At 7 meters tall, if this was a real bottle it would hold several thousand litres of golden rum, that would be quite a party.

The Big Pineapple

Location: Woombye, Qld

One of Australia’s most iconic big things, the Big Pineapple has rested on the side of the Bruce Highway since 1971, bringing smiles to dials of visitors travelling north from Brisbane. The supersized spikey fruit has had a hard life. Burnt down in 1978 during an attempted robbery and damaged by a cyclone 13 years later, it was closed in 2010 after its owners went into receivership.

Thanks to the purchase of the site by private investors, the future of the heritage listed attraction is now looking much sweeter. As well as a the 16m fibreglass pineapple the complex includes a zoo, ziplines, a café and souvenir shop and a plantation tour train with more upgrades in the pipeline.

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