Big Gold Panner – West Bathurst, Australia - Atlas Obscura
Unusual adventures and hidden discoveries. Explore our 2018 trips now »

West Bathurst, Australia

Big Gold Panner

Hopefully inspecting his tin pan for little nuggets of gold. 

Australia is home to more than just a couple of big things. The big country, it has been said, has a love of similarly-oversized objects. The Big Gold Panner is only one of a loosely related set of about 150 sculptures and large structures sprinkled across the country. Most of these, the Big Gold Panner included, serve as some of the country’s top tourist traps and can be found along major roads and highways or between prominent travel destinations.

Sitting outside of a motel of the same name, the Big Gold Panner can be found carefully, hopefully, inspecting his tin pan for nuggets of gold alongside the Great Western Highway in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia. Erected in 1979, this statue stands more than five meters tall.

A regional city in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales, Bathurst is the oldest inland settlement anywhere in Australia. But it still it rather small, housing less than 30,000 people. The Big Gold Panner statue is a fitting monument to this area, which is often referred to as Gold Country as it was the site of the first gold discovery and where the first gold rush occurred in Australia. Today, the education, manufacturing, and motorsport industries drive the regional economy, but many buildings remain from the gold rush period, which lasted through the late 1800s.