For some, size does matter . . . .

The drive from Adelaide was fine until we came to a stretch of road that had salt bush trees and bushes on both sides.The trees hung over the road, which gave the impression that we were driving down a tunnel, similar to Alice falling down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. The road was straight and driving became monotonous and I had to make sure I didn’t lose my concentration.

As we came out of the ‘tunnel’ area we entered Kingston only to be met by the largest lobster that I’d seen.

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 I believe his name is Larry – well why not Larry?
Better than Claws.

Seeing one of the Australian ‘bigs’ I began to think of the other ‘bigs’ that we have seen on our Australian travels during the last few years.

seat

Remember the Big Seat in Broken Hill?

I also mentioned that Pro Hart (the artist) had an affinity with ants and that he used to add ants to some of his paintings.

Big_Ant This is the Big Ant, which is also in Broken Hill, and it was designed by Pro Hart

BigMerinoGoulburn

The Big Moreno near Goulburn (NSW) – it used to be very close to the town centre, but since the freeway was built, which caused 40 coaches a day to miss visiting the Big Moreno, they moved Rambo closer to the freeway interchange and a rest stop.
Locally the ram is called ‘Rambo’ – why not?
It has a tourist shop on the ground floor and an exhibition of wool on the second floor. People can also climb higher inside the statue and view the surrounding area through the eyes of Rambo.

Big_banana

North of Sydney we have the Big banana at Coffs Harbour. In the grounds of the banana plantation there is an amusement park.

Big_MurrayCod_SwanHill

 If you head towards Swan Hill (Victoria) on the Murray River you will see a Big Murray cod. It is not on the river bank, but next to the railway station – I think there’s something fishy going on in Swan Hill – sorry!

BigPelicanNoosaville At Noosaville (Queensland) on the Sunshine Coast we have the Big pelican. I can understand the town adding a ‘Big’ because the Noosa River has many pelicans.

Gumeracha_giant_rocking_horse

The BIG rocking horse in South Australia- with a viewing platform. The rocking horse is part of a wooden toy factory, wildlife park and cafe and is 18 metres tall.

Glenrowan_Kelly

Not far from Beechworth, (Victoria) where we stayed, is the small town of Glenrowan (Victoria) another famous Ned Kelly town, which boasts the Big Ned, at six metres tall.

Captain_Cook_statue,_Cairns

  Moving north to Cairns (Queensland), we have the ‘Big’ Captain Cook.

The good Captain is not offering Hitler a salute. The statue is based on a painting of when Cook landed at Botany Bay he commanded his people not to fire on the local aborigines. Others say he is trying to hold back the holiday makers arriving in Cairns.

As well as Captain Cook, Cairns has the 10 metre tall’Big’ marlin.

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But then which is the biggest dough boy ?
Taken at Buderim Ginger outside Noosa, in Queensland.

Sons of Broken Hill

After visiting Silverton we decided to visit Pro Hart’s gallery in Broken Hill. I am not a particularly enthusiastic art viewer – I know that it has been said before, ‘I know what I like’, but I don’t always understand what I am viewing. The gallery is well laid out over three levels. Many of the paintings had a description alongside, which helped the viewer (me) to understand what the artist was thinking as he painted. The Australian picnic or race meeting were easy to understand, but each one took time to study the full detail. He painted many pictures of ants.
Coming from Broken Hill he would have had a great deal of experience with ants and other insects. Dragon flies were also popular with this artist.
I have read that he approached a tattoo artist to have ants tattooed across his feet, but it never happened due to his illness, he died in 2006 at the age of 77Pro hart

Called the ‘chop bone’ – look closely at the centre.

During our visit to the gallery we watched a short video of his life and his work, which I found interesting, considering that I knew very little of the artist, except that he was Australian, from Broken Hill and created a famous advert for Stainmaster carpet in the 1980s. (Click the link for the 29 second ad)
At the entrance to the gallery we saw his 1973 Silver Shadow Rolls Royce, which he’d repainted with Australian historical scenes.

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The day was an arty day because our next stop was Jack Absalom’s gallery, a short drive from Pro Hart’s gallery.

Jack Absalom’s gallery is part of his home (click on the link to see his paintings). We walked up the path and read the notice on the door – if locked ring bell – if unlocked come in.
It was locked so we rang the bell and an elderly lady came to the door and invited us in to the gallery area. As you see the centre display contains jewellery, and one of the finest displays of Australian opals.

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As we entered the gallery we were left alone to view the paintings. For me, Jack Absalom’s paintings capture the great expanse and feel of outback Australia.

The colour of the floor was carefully thought out to fit with the overall ambiance of the gallery, and the lighting is such that it doesn’t show a shadow. I felt that I could stand and ‘drink in’ the views, feel the heat and smell the bush.

As well as being an artist specialising in the outback, he is also an author – Outback Cooking, Safe Outback Travel to name two. At the age of fifteen he was a professional kangaroo shooter.

We were viewing the paintings when an elderly man came in to the gallery from the private home area, and stood at the counter under Jack Absalom’s portrait. It was then that I realised that it was Jack Absalom himself.

As Maureen and I were the only people in the gallery it didn’t take long before we were in conversation with the artist. I’d picked up a book about his life and his painting and had it in my hand as we spoke. I offered the cash for the book, which he accepted and also took the book and signed it for me. He was telling us that he would be off again to the bush to paint. He expected to be away for several weeks and would be living in the bush – not bad for an 88 year old. He did comment that he had to keep painting in the bush, while he was still young enough to get about  . . .

Jack

This is the portrait of Jack Absalom, painted by Cynthia Dowler, I think it was painted in the early 90’s, so at the time he would have been in his mid-60’s. It now hangs in the Jack Absalom’s gallery.

With hindsight I should have taken his photo with Maureen. Aren’t we all wise after the event?

It had been a long day from mines to film sets and art galleries and it was time for home and a relaxing drop.

Having our drinks on the balcony allowed us to watch the traffic passing, not that there was a lot of traffic after 5.00 pm, but we always received a wave from the passengers in the tourist buses. Perhaps we looked like locals  . . . .