The Big Merino sits on the outskirts of the country town Goulburn in New South Wales, known by the locals as Rambo.
The Big Merino began in 1985 as a monument to the Goulburn district’s fine wool industry. Weighing an impressive 97 tones when it was first constructed, it was built with a steel frame, covered and shaped with a wire mesh, and finished with reinforced concrete.
The Big Merino stands at 15.2 metres high and is 18 metres long. You could not miss it entering the city of Goulburn as it greeted you at the southern end coming from Canberra or Yass. It was a popular stop and climbing up to the top gave great views across the region.
Development of the city continued further south and the Big Merino was no longer the first thing to approach from the southern end of Goulburn. This was not really a problem in itself but the new freeway bypassing Goulburn in 1992, leaving Rambo sitting in limbo. Tourists dropped significantly, losing around 40 buses of tourists per day.
In 2007, the Big Merino was given a chance for a second life. It was moved 800 metres to the south to be closer to the freeway. It can’t be seen from the freeway but it is more accessible than it was before. He managed to gain more legs and added on a few pounds, now weighing closer to 100 tons.
The Big Merino sits beside a building where the gift shop now operates from. The Big Merino structure contains a display of the Australian Wool Innovation and 200 years of wool history in Australia.
Climbing to the top is still permitted to visitors, looking through the eyes across the area. It would have been disappointing to find out this part of the Big Merino was ceased after the move but thankfully it has been retained.
The Big Merino is located next to a large service station and across the road at the entrance is a popular pie shop, so stopping there doesn’t have to be just for ‘Rambo’ alone.
To get there:
Heading north along the Hume Hwy, take the exit for Goulburn, veering left onto Hume St. Follow Hume St for about 450m and turn right before reaching the Big Merino. Turn left into the first driveway into the parking area.
Heading south along the Hume Hwy, do not use the first exit to Goulburn, continue along the highway for another 10km. Take the second exit to Goulburn. and turn right to cross over the freeway, taking the roundabout exit onto Hume St towards Goulburn. Follow Hume St for about 450m and turn right before reaching the Big Merino. Turn left into the first driveway into the parking area.