Completed in 1989 at the end of the boom decades for the building of big things, the Giant Koala in Victoria, Australia, stands 14 meters tall. Made of bronze set on top of a steel frame, the Giant Koala weighs 12 tons.
Created by the sculptor Ben Van Zetton who was hired in 1988 to design and construct the piece, visitors can enter the Giant Koala to purchase the traditional tourist-trap goods.
It was announced in late 2009 that the Giant Koala would be renamed in memory of the world-famous Sam the koala in an effort to raise awareness of Australia’s declining koala population.
Sam, who recovered from third-degree burns and lung damage at the Southern Ash Wildlife Shelter, became a worldwide symbol after devastating bushfires destroyed a large region inhabited by koalas. He eventually died due to complications relating to chlamydia, which impacts half of the wild koala population.
Know Before You Go
On the Western Highway in the Grampians, between Melbourne and Adelaide, the Giant Koala is 27 km northwest of Stawell in the small township of Dadswells Bridge. As at August 2nd 2023 the shop has closed.