Big Orange – Tenterfield, Australia - Atlas Obscura
Free iron-on Atlas Obscura badge when you preorder our new kids’ book. Shop now.

Tenterfield, Australia

Big Orange

Just one of many oranges on this citrus-happy continent. 

Sorry, Big Orange is permanently closed.

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 Orange in Tenterfield is only one of a loosely related set of about 150 sculptures and large structures sprinkled across the country. Most of these, the Big Orange 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.

The Big Orange of Tenterfield, New South Wales, is just one of the big oranges in Australia, which is known for its citrus growing. Located in the New England region, Tenterfield is hours outside of the big cities - 10 hours from Sydney, three hours from Brisbane - but it is located in a region perfect for growing large citrus trees. And that’s what most of the land is used for; this place is only called home by about 3,000 people.

Tenterfield has not always been a place to find groves of orange trees, though. Back in the mid-1800s, this place was home to tens of thousands of sheep, all living on a piece of property known as Tenterfield Station, which was named after a family home in Scotland. Sir Stuart Donaldson, the Scotsman who owned the property and the sheep, would make a trip every two years or do to inspect his holdings: 100,000 acres of unfenced land and more. Over the years, others moved into the area surrounding Donaldson’s property and Tenterfield grew to include churches, a school, hotels, a post office and more. By the 1880s, a railway pushed through the area, opening it up to further development and, perhaps more importantly, providing an easy way to transfer citrus out of the town.

Update 2016: The Big Orange is no longer there.