I wrote this piece for The Conversation, published this morning: Australia’s ‘Big Problem’ – What To Do With Our Ageing Super-sized Statues?
Australians have been fascinated by “Big Things” since the 1960s, when statues such as Adelaide’s Big Scotsman and the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour were opened to great fanfare. These super-sized structures can be found in other countries, too. The United States is known for its Big Donut, Canada has the world’s largest fiddle, but the attachment to Big Things here has an almost patriotic quality.
Many will recall childhood road trips punctuated by such highlights as a giant Merino sheep or a towering rocking horse, or an assortment of fruits – the Big Avocado, the Big Orange and the Big Mango. When the latter was reported “missing” in 2014, the news made national headlines, only to be later revealed as a publicity stunt.
But in a nation now littered with at least 200 Big Things, there is a sizeable problem. What to do with them as they age and wear out? Many Big Things were built cheaply from concrete and fibreglass – materials that inevitably fade and decay.
It’s since been picked up by ABC News, the NZ Herald, Australian Geographic and Brisbane Times, amongst others. Who would have thought people felt so strongly about Australia’s big things? (I did!)
Update, 19th September 2017: Perth friends – tune in to ABC Radio Perth at 2pm (your time); Sydney buds, tune in to ABC Radio Sydney at 3:10pm; Canberra folks – ABC Radio Canberra at 3:30pm; Sunshine Coast friends – tune in to ABC Radio Sunshine Coast at 4:20pm; NSW pals – tune in to your local ABC Radio for Statewide Drive at 5:40pm. It’s going to be a busy afternoon. People really want to talk big things!
Update 2, 19th September 2017: My article was discussed for the final ten minutes on ABC TV’s ‘The Drum’ panel news program. You should be able to see this on iView if you’re quick!
Update 3, 20th September 2017: Newcastle folks – tune in to ABC Radio Newcastle at 9:10am; Sydney friends, tune in to 2SER FM at 11:15am; Canberra pals, I’m on your radio again, ABC Canberra Radio Afternoons, at 1:45pm. All my pals in Melbourne – I’ll be part of a call-back segment on ABC Radio Melbourne after 2pm. And my Adelaide family!! Tune in from 4:05pm your time to ABC Radio Adelaide to hear me natter on!
Update 4, 23rd September 2017: Australian viewers can now watch my interview (filmed live) on Channel 7 Australia’s Weekend Sunrise. It may be accessible outside Australia, but this is dependent on geo-location.
Update 5, 26th September 2017: Australian listeners can catch my interview (a separate one to previous) on the 2SER podcast. Lifehacker Australia has picked up my article and published here. Finally, listeners in north-west Australia can hear me at 10:30am (your time) today on ABC Radio Katherine.
Update 6, 2nd October 2017: I’m thrilled to have been invited to have a chat on ABC Radio National’s Arts and Books segment this week with Michael Cathcart. Tune in from 9:05am (EST) or 10:05am (EDST) on Wednesday, 4th October.
Update 7, 10th October 2017: Catch me on ABC Radio Brisbane Breakfast with Katherine Feeney this morning to hear me talk more about Big Things.