The Big Owl – Macquarie, Australia - Atlas Obscura

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The Big Owl

Macquarie, Australia

This roadside attraction became locally famous for its unintentionally phallic shape. 


The creator of this locally famous sculpture of the powerful owl, a bird native to the area, envisioned his work as a guardian spirit watching over its habitat. But unfortunately, the artwork has since become iconic for a rather different reason.

When viewed from behind, the slant of the owl’s body and the extension of its feet at the base bears a striking resemblance to a certain feature of the male anatomy. For that reason, the sculpture is seldom referred to as the Big Owl, but as the “Penis Owl”, or a variation thereof.

The sculpture was commissioned by the Chief Minister (Canberra’s de facto mayor) and unveiled in 2011. It is perhaps apt for the nation’s capital that the collective noun for a group of owls is a parliament. It is, after all, often claimed that the inhabitants of Parliament House are a bunch of—ahem—owls.

Know Before You Go

The statue is easily large enough to view from the intersection of Belconnen Way and Benjamin Way. Anyone wanting a closer look should park at the nearby Belconnen Fresh Food Markets and cross the road safely by foot.

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