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 Poo is only one of a loosely related set of about 150 sculptures and large structures sprinkled across the country. Most of these, the Big Poo 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.
Located in Kiama, New South Wales, the Big Poo was commissioned by Ian Cohen, a member of the New South Wales Parliament. The poo, which measures five-meters long and is as tall as some people, stands outside of the entrance to the town as an act of political protest. Cohen has it built as a sign of his opposition to the Gerringong and Gerroa Sewerage Scheme, a proposal to dump effluent, “real poop,” into the sea nearby. “Sydney Water is refusing to deal with the issue of getting reuse of effluent (despite the fact that) farming communities want the (recycled) effluent,” Cohen said at the time.
Unveiled in 2002, the Big Poo is made out of foam. This gives it two advantages, according to Cohen. One, it’s portable; it can very easily be moved if need be. And two, “it’s a floater,” he said. While it can float, it doesn’t. Instead, the Big Poo sits right next to the Welcome to Kiama sign next to the Princes Highway. “I am very unhappy to be here today to officially launch this five-meter-long memorial to the renewed stupidity and deceit of Sydney Water,” Cohen said at the time of its placement. “Sydney Water has distracted and misled South Coast community groups and Jamberoo farmers for two years with so-called ‘consultation’ on a new sewerage scheme for the local Jamberoo Valley, a consultation focused on reuse of effluent.... Now Sydney Water has shown its true colors - brown and yellow - and has finally revealed that it proposes to retreat to past standard operative procedure and dump the effluent on the ocean at Bombo.”
Update as of November 2019: The Big Poo has resurfaced near the Ford Oval toilet block near Merimbula’s Main Beach.