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 Merino is only one of a loosely related set of about 150 sculptures and large structures sprinkled across the country. Most of these, the Big Merino 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.
Standing 15 meters tall, the Merino is a concrete ram that has been nicknamed “Rambo” by the locals who are used to seeing it just about ever day. On the ground floor, the Big Merino holds a gift shop. On the second floor, a wool display that celebrates the dominant industry of Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia. Visitors can even climb further up, to the top of the Big Merino, where they can look out through the ram’s eyes and see the entire town.
Officially opened in September of 1985, the Big Merino receives dozens of busloads of tourists each and every day. When the Hume Highway was rerouted to bypass the Big Merino in 1992, locals made plans to move the giant concrete structure. It took about 15 years to get the enormous, weighty ram closer to the highway, but the number of visitors has picked up ever since.
When Rambo was moved to its new locations, it received some renovations. A new underbelly made the structure, which rests on a steel skeleton, more free-standing than ever before. It also made it heavier: The Big Merino now weighs nearly 100 tons. A new gift shop was also constructed and the second floor of the ram now holds a permanent exhibition designed by Australian Wool Innovation, which showcases highlights from the country’s 200-year history of wool.
- Wikipedia: Australia's Big Things: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia%27s_big_things
- Wikipedia: Big Merino: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Merino
- Wikipedia: Goulburn, New South Wales: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goulburn,_New_South_Wales
- Goulburn Visitor Information Centre: http://www.igoulburn.com/Attractions/BigMerino.aspx