The Big Prawn is one of Australia’s iconic big things, developed by brothers to help attract customers into their service station in Ballina.
The sculpture is designed as a tribute to the main industry of the town, in this case prawning. The brothers are also responsible for the Big Merino Ram in Goulburn and The Big Oyster in Taree.
Built in 1989, it started its life without a tail. It had a staircase to the top and you could look out through the perspex eyes.
The future of The Big Prawn was in doubt in 2010 when the council had approved for its demolition the year before. There was speculation it would be transported to the Gold Coast and resurrected there, however, when Bunnings bought the site it decided to restore the big things prawn.
At a cost of $400,000, The Big Prawn has been restored and a full tail added to it. The staircase is now gone so it can no longer be climbed into, however, its Ballina heritage and place has been maintained.
The well faded prawn has had a makeover too, looking much fresher than the pale prawn it had become in the years before restoration. The Big Prawn stands 9 metres high and weighs an incredible 35 tonnes.
Bunnings car park is not the greatest spot to pull up as a tourist to get a glimpse at an Australian big thing. At least you can get a sausage sandwich when you stop, depending on the time of day you call by.
To get there
From the motorway, take the Bruxner Hwy exit to Ballina and follow the signs towards Ballina at the roundabout onto River St. Follow River St for 1.4km and turn left into Bunnings with The Big Prawn at the entrance.