Perhaps I’m getting sentimental. After all we are nearing the end of another year but this is the time when families are on a quest to visit the big banana, the big prawn, the big pineapple, the big sheep, the big crayfish, the big galah even a bloody big gumboot (it’s in The Otway Ranges and in honour of gumboot shod marathon runner Cliff Young if you haven’t found it yet). Large things built of fibreglass and concrete. Perhaps instead we should celebrate the awesome and amazing things.
Things like the beautiful mosaic seat at Nambucca Heads.
The Woakwine Cutting at Beachport, SA. Claimed as the country’s largest one man engineering feat. It shows what a bloke and a bulldozer can do. What did he do? He drained a swamp by cutting a narrow channel right through a hill to the sea to create acres and acres of arable farming land.
The drystone walls of Western Victoria that stretch for mile upon mile over hill and dale and built by homesick farmers eking out a living from a harsh new land in the only way they knew how.
The Living Desert Sculptures of Broken Hill. Art that so compliments its backdrop canvas of desert, that people sit out there at every sunset, breathe in the desert air and toast the sheer beauty of it all with a glass of champagne.
And achievements of the past like Scotsman John McDouall Stuart who trudged north from Adelaide through central Australia, leading the first team to reach the north and return. Who went on six expeditions to the inland. Stuart’s efforts defined the route to be used to build the Overland Telegraph to link Australia to the rest of the world. The Overland Telegraph was completed in 1877 and The Ghan Railroad later followed this route.
And West Australian engineer C. Y. O’Connor who silenced critics by building an efficient harbour in Fremantle then went on to build the Goldfields Pipeline, a wooden water pipeline from Perth to the parched desert goldfields of Kalgoorlie. The harbour is still in use today as is the pipeline including some original wooden sections. Filled with self doubt O’Connor committed suicide in 1902 by shooting himself while riding his horse into the sea.