13 November 2023

Does size matter or is there something a bit fishy going on?

| Sally Hopman
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The Big Trout

Leaping towards the sky, is it a bird, is it a plane … no it’s just Adaminaby’s Big Trout. Photo: Gail Eastaway.

Seems the Big Story of this week got caught up in all the bad news – and made barely a splash.

We’re talking the Big Trout. The fish that made the village of Adaminaby what it is today: the village with the really big fish.

Of course we covered the story in About Regional earlier this year when the NSW Government first pledged a boat-load of money to restore the Big Trout for his/her 50th anniversary, but for some reason The Sydney Morning Halibut and the ABSea missed this week’s big story – that work was just about to begin. Must be scaling down their coverage.

But don’t worry, dear reader, we’ve hooked right into it: 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the unveiling of the sculpture created by artist Andy Lomnici. To mark the occasion, who else but Australia’s biggest fine arts, heritage and conservation firm, International Conservation Services, has been honoured with the job of restoring the big fish to its former, er, beauty.

READ ALSO Why our firefighters deserve all the bells and whistles – and sirens

No more flaking paint, damaged fibreglass or odd body. (Forget the bit about the odd body. Apparently it’s supposed to look like that.)

Given to the village in 1973, the Big Trout – all 10 metres in height and 2.5 tonnes on the scales – if you can find one big enough – is clearly something that makes that village great. Just like that sheep does for Goulburn, those fruity ones do for Coffs Harbour, Orange and most of Queensland and, of course, that spud at Robertson.

Making things big, though, doesn’t necessarily make them better. The person who decided to have a crack at the Big Stubby up in the Northern Territory was clearly a little tired and emotional after having to down all those bevvies – for the sake of his/her art.

Tully, up in North Queensland, had the measure of the great and the good – after all, it’s the place that has the highest rainfall and so its Big Gumboot can come in handy as an extra water tank.

READ ALSO Cash splash set to spruce up Adaminaby’s Big Trout as icon turns 50

Although it’s hard to understand, if you’re not actually a fan of Big Things, you can blame the Big Banana up at Coffs Harbour for starting it all – it branched out into tacky tourism way back in 1964.

But as is always the way in the world of fine art, controversy was to rise almost as high as the Banana when South Australia claimed it had the first Big Thing – a Scotsman named, sensibly, Scotty, who was allegedly erected a year earlier to promote a nearby motel of the same name.

Although NSW has made an industry out of it with so many of the monsters, Queensland really is the home of BTs. Sort of like our Texas, where everything is bigger, but not necessarily better.

But if you had any doubts about the popularity of these BTs, a survey by Wotif in 2018 gave the most popular sash – and yes it was a big one – to the Big Watermelon (Chinchilla, Queensland) with the Big Choccy Milk (Newcastle) and the bigger Chiko Roll (Bendigo) bringing up the rear.

Although it can feel like there is one Big Thing on every corner of every town of every ….. there are 150 in the country. Only 60 per cent of people, in the survey, said they would stop if they saw one. Only 60 per cent? What is wrong with these people? Have they no taste?

But it’s all good, just as long as they don’t come the raw Big Prawn – they’d have to go all the way up to Ballina for that.

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I used to call in to Adaminaby regularly on business 60/70s, the last time in July ’73 when the Trout was barely finished and lying flat in the builder’s front yard.
There’s nothing wrong with 60%, if I had a business in town and knew that six out of every ten people on the next bus were going to get out and walk around, I’d be rapt.

Capital Retro11:24 am 06 Nov 23

Let’s not forget that Canberra also has the (invisible) Big Debt which will probably be around for a long time

Capital Retro1:25 pm 05 Nov 23

If Canberra had something like this it would be a Rainbow Trout.

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