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The Big Prawn of Ballina


To describe Australia as “big” would be a bit of an understatement. Australia is the planet’s sixth largest country after Russia, Canada, China, the USA, and Brazil. At 7,692,024 square kilometres, it accounts for just five percent of the world’s land area of 149,450,000 square kilometres. And even though it is the smallest continental land mass, it is still the world’s largest island.

To add a bit of perspective, Australia is the only country in the world with a military and civil aerospace facility almost the size of England! The Royal Australian Air Force Woomera Range Complex located in South Australia measures 122,188 square kilometres. In comparison, the whole of England measures only 130,279 square kilometres!

One would expect people with big houses to fill their space with large pieces of furniture, so it might not come as a complete surprise if I were to tell you that this big country called Australia is also filled with “big things” – but not exactly the sort you might expect.

Dotted all over every state and territory in Australia are huge structures, comprising of a mixture of often whimsical architecture and sculptures. There are currently over 200 such structures and many say that no Australian road trip is complete without visiting some of these ‘Big Things’. Some highlights include:

  • The Big Lobster, ‘Larry’, in Kingston, South Australia
  • The Big Captain Cook in Cairns
  • The Big Banana, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales
  • The Big Tap, Phillip Island, VIC
  • The Big Poo, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

Of all these giants, my favourite has got to be The Big Prawn of Ballina in New South Wales.

The Big Prawn was built in 1990 to celebrate the local prawning industry. It was designed by South Australian sculptor James Martin, who came up with the idea for a 27-metre prawn, made of steel and concrete, weighing 33 tonnes. This prawn was to be 30,000 times larger than a real prawn, or twice the size of a humpback whale!

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understatement – the presentation of something as being smaller or less good or important than it really is.
perspective – a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view.
whimsical – playfully quaint or fanciful, especially in an appealing and amusing way.
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