April 22nd – Ballina’s Big Thing

The Big Prawn

There are a lot of Big tourist attractions around the world – Big Ben, Guitars, Teapots, but Ballina is home to the iconic Big Prawn.

The original Big Prawn was built in 1989 at a roadhouse and transit centre on the southern side of Ballina as you entered the town. It was always busy, but as time progressed, and travellers sought other methods, it became a white prawn – and not just because it needed a fresh coat of paint.

ViennaWorld closed its doors, and the prawn was approved for destruction in 2009 by the Ballina Shire Council. I mean, what else can you do with a 6 x 9 metre “shrimp” (ouch), weighing a meagre 60 tonnes?

While the prawn rotted, Yamba made an ambitious call suggesting that the monument be relocated to their town.

Some 2 years later, hardware retail giant Bunnings bought the site and preserved the iconic crustacean. A new coat of paint, a small relocation, and a new tail – which in itself was controversial as some locals in this prawn-fishing town claim it’s more like a lobster tail.

In all, The Big Prawn took 24 months and approximately $400k to resuscitate (although only dead prawns are orange).


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