Humpty Doo’s giant boxing crocodile could be overshadowed if a Darwin alderman gets her wish. (ABC Radio Darwin: Jesse Thompson)
Could Darwin make like Coffs Harbour with its Big Banana or Ballina with its Big Prawn and become home to Australia’s next big thing?
- Darwin City Council has voted to hold consultation about building a new “tasteful novelty architecture structure”
- Alderman Sherry Cullen has called for the new structure to be built in a scenic location such as Darwin’s Esplanade
- Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis has suggested building a “Big D”
The answer is well, maybe, after the Darwin City Council voted to “get creative” and undertake consultation into the possibility of a new “landmark feature” that could become “an iconic tourist trap” and entice visitors into posting on social media.
The motion was raised by Alderman Sherry Cullen who said she hoped a new “tasteful novelty architecture structure” was the “facelift” Darwin needed.
A new phase of consultation will now begin to decide what the structure might look like and where it should be located.
Ms Cullen said she thought it was important that it be placed in a location which showed off Darwin’s natural beauty, like on scenic central drive, The Esplanade.
The council was split on whether or not it should be a “big” thing, like Ballina’s Big Prawn, Coffs Harbour’s Big Banana, Bowen’s Big Mango, Nambour’s Big Pineapple — or a smaller thing.
Alderman Mick Palmer said he was worried a “big thing” might be a step too far.
“A small swing may be appropriate,” he said, alluding to ones used to attract attention by social media influencers in Bali.
“But to try [to] emulate the Big Prawn or Banana … I’m not so sure,” he said.
“It would be nice to have a few Devils Marbles moved here but I’m sure the good people of Tennant Creek and the traditional owners wouldn’t be keen [on] that.”
Ballina’s Big Prawn could soon be shelled by a big barramundi or buffalo in Darwin. (Supplied: Kim Honan)
Mayor suggests building ‘big D’
Lord Mayor of Darwin Kon Vatskalis said the new tourism sight did not have to be a “big thing”, although he did personally suggest building a “big D”.
The Mayor’s suggestion did not attract a response from fellow aldermen.
“It does have to go through proper process, we can do consultation, find out what the community wants,” he said.
“It doesn’t have to be a big prawn or a big buffalo.”
Not everyone was convinced.
Alderman Justine Glover, who did not vote in support of the motion, noted a Facebook poll conducted by ABC Darwin which suggested just 40 per cent of respondents wanted a new “big thing”.
Concerns raised over possible cost
Alderman Rebecca Want De Rowe said she thought it was a great idea and it needed to be done with “big impact”.
However, she expressed concern over the possible cost.
The Big Galah put the SA town of Kimba on the map … could a big thing be a drawcard for Darwin? (Supplied)
“Everyone is doing it tough at the moment,” she said.
“Ratepayers are not going to forgive us.”
Ms Cullen said the structure would not have to be expensive, and external funding could also be sought.
“It could be anything from $10,000 to $200,000,” she said.
Mr Vatskalis noted the City of Darwin had $400,000 of unspent funds allocated to public art.
Humpty Doo, the small town on Darwin’s rural outskirts, is already home to a big boxing crocodile, while Fly Creek can lay claim to the world’s biggest whip.