Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | OUR SAY -


Our won­der­ful coun­try has a beau­ti­ful tra­di­tion of over­sized tourist at­trac­tions. I guess it’s same, same but dif­fer­ent to our ob­ses­sion with mini ver­sions of things. There’s some­thing so Aus­tralian about an over­sized fruit or seafood be­ing a tourist at­trac­tion. We’ve got the Big Ba­nana, the Big Pineap­ple, the Big Prawn and even a Big Golden Gui­tar.

The one I loved as a kid, though, was a gi­ant, over­sized heifer.

Yes, right here on the Sun­shine Coast, lo­cated at Ku­lan­goor, was the Big Cow – a 16m-tall bovine with bulging eyes and ud­der so big, if it shook you’d lit­er­ally have all the boys in the yard.

The Big Cow was built in the 1970s and was a pop­u­lar stop for fam­i­lies on the site of a dairy farm.

I’m sure ev­ery fam­ily who vis­ited the Sun­shine Coast dur­ing their hol­i­days would have taken a fam­ily pic lean­ing on the fence in front of the Big Cow.

The big old girl was shut down in 2016, be­cause some nump­ties think that peo­ple don’t care about “big things” th­ese days. Pfft, I say.

Bring back more big things.

I’d like to see some Big White Shoes to be put up at Noosa or a Big Walk­ing Frame at Pel­i­can Waters.

Come on, peo­ple. Have we lost our sense of hu­mour?

Can we please bring back the Big Cow? I want to see Moo-donna back and big­ger than ever here on the Coast.


In the heart of Alexan­dra Head­land, less than 200m from the beach, stood the mighty Olympia Theme Park, pri­mar­ily a wa­ter slide com­plex but turned into a week­end and sum­mer won­der­land by pro­pri­etors Con and Julie Spil­ios. Ev­ery sum­mer, Olympia was on ev­ery­one’s to-do list. I can still re­mem­ber the ex­cite­ment of walk­ing in through the front doors, the big yel­low and blue-ren­dered en­try lit­tered with fi­bre-op­tic lights, the buzz and shrill of the games room, the elec­tronic bleats from Laz­er­force and waft­ing smell of freshly fried chips call­ing lov­ingly from the hot­box.

The cricket of­ten play­ing on the mas­sive screen above the lock­ers, con­firm­ing it was sum­mer, and the elec­tric­ity fill­ing the air of the hun­dreds of kids ready to tackle the Black Hole, one or both of the speed slides, or leisurely cruise down the coloured tube or the open-aired num­ber-one slide. What­ever your speed, the climb up the ramp meant you were in for the time of your life.

I was for­tu­nate enough to call Olympia my home for over a decade as “adopted son” of Con and Julie and full-time life­guard/pool at­ten­dant/mat col­lec­tor – to this day, the best job I have ever had and ar­guably the best job any teenage boy could ever want. Olympia taught me many life lessons: how to pick up chicks, the im­por­tance of hav­ing fun, but more im­por­tantly, the value of hard work. Both Con and Julie worked tire­lessly and in­stilled in me a work ethic I cher­ish to­day. The Coast is poorer for it not ex­ist­ing nowa­days, but the mem­o­ries will last for­ever.


My brother and I used to get scared driv­ing past the big skele­ton out the front of Nos­tal­gia Town at Pa­cific Par­adise that was there as part of Grave­yard Putt – as the name sug­gests, a mini-golf game set in a grave­yard and adorned with all things goth and spooky. But it wasn’t enough to scare us away. If I went there to­day, I wouldn’t prob­a­bly get the same vibe. Much like the revered par­faits at the Big Pineap­ple. It’s the sto­ries post their ex­is­tence that seem to be steeped in folk­lore more than the re­al­ity of the day. Even so, our fam­ily out­ings to Nos­tal­gia Town al­ways brought joy to a school hol­i­day or bright­ened a dull week­end. The quirky train ride through yes­ter­year arte­facts seemed to all make sense at the time but, on re­flec­tion, had no log­i­cal rea­son for their col­lec­tive ex­is­tence. Di­nosaurs with bushrangers and vin­tage trans­port with dolls and clowns … but it was the ’80s/’90s. Why ques­tion th­ese things?

The funny thing was, no mat­ter how many times we went, we al­ways found new fun. Were we more eas­ily en­ter­tained back then? Were we just grate­ful that some­one was run­ning a busi­ness purely de­signed for our amuse­ment? Or have we just grown into a mob of whin­ing di­vas, stuck on our de­vices and bored by any­thing that doesn’t shock and awe us, or at the very least pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity to grow our In­sta fol­low­ers? Who knows? But I will never for­get the chills Grave­yard Putt gave us and I will never for­get my hole-in-one through the eye socket of the ghoul on the third hole. Good times.


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