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Tripping over big things in life


Tripping over big things in life

Sami Muirhead wishes her children would be as excited as she is at revisiting some of her favourite childhood memories.

Do you think family road trips are the best thing on Earth, or hell on literal wheels? We recently took our three kids on a trip to see their grandparents in Mt Gambier, South Australia.

My daughter and I cut out of the trip early because I had to get back to work, but not before I got my selfie with my less-than-enthused,13-year-old-girl and her two younger brothers in front of that bent bit of famous fruit at Coffs Harbour.

When I was a kid, there was nothing more exciting than the Big Banana. It was a big deal and I have a big memory of visiting it. I had my five smurfs and a pack of cards to entertain myself for the trip from Brisbane and was squished in the backseat of mum’s Mazda with my brother and sister. We listened to the one cassette of Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers the whole way down. There were no kindles, no Spotify, no Wordle and no iPad.

Built in 1964, the genesis for the Big Banana came all those decades ago when John Landi was looking for a means to stop passing traffic at his roadside banana stall. John was clearly a big-thinking man.

This yellow tourist magnet started the trend for oversized objects. Closer to home, we have our beloved Big Pineapple and the smallish Big Prawn in the car park of Erbachers’ fruit and vegetable shop.
My favourite is Matilda the Kangaroo from the 1982 Commonwealth Games, which stands tall and proud at the Kybong Matilda Service Station near Gympie.

But back to the Big Banana. The kids did not even want to get out of the car for a belfie (a ‘banana selfie’). They begrudgingly did get out of our air-conditioned, technology-filled ute but the photo is lacklustre with their faces showing their boredom and disdain for the 13-metre long Cavendish queen.

The boys in the family trucked on without us and did send me a video and selfie with the Big Merino at Goulburn, NSW. The video is priceless. My 11-year-old says: “It’s butt is way too big for the rest of it.” And my nine-year-old adds: “It is just a lot of angry-looking concrete”. I have tasked the boys with coming home via the Big Lobster at Kingston, South Australia. Surely this big crustacean will get their juices flowing and I will get the selfie I am craving.


Sami Muirhead is a radio announcer, blogger and commentator. For more from Sami tune into Mix FM.

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