HOT TOPIC

FROM THEME PARKS TO QUIRKY ROAD­SIDE AT­TRAC­TIONS: WE ALL HAVE MEM­O­RIES OF PLACES THAT NO LONGER EX­IST. WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITES?

Life & Style Weekend - - BEST OF OUR SAY -

DAVE

The Big Cow. 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 the Big Cow: a A 16m tall bovine with bulging eyes and ud­der so big that 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 of­fi­cially shut down in 2016 be­cause some nump­tys 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 Moodonna back and big­ger than ever here on the Coast.

SAM

Olympia Theme Park. In the heart of Alexan­dra Head­land, less than 200m from the beach, stood the mighty Olympia Theme Park. Pri­mar­ily, it was a wa­ter­slide com­plex, but it was 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 leading up to the front counter.

The cricket often play­ing on the mas­sive 22-inch screen above the lock­ers con­firmed it was sum­mer and the elec­tric­ity fill­ing the air of the hun­dreds of kids, young and old, ready to tackle the black hole, one or both of the speed slides or leisurely cruise down the coloured tube (number 2) or the open-aired number one slide.

What­ever your speed, the climb up the ramp then stairs, mat in hand, meant you were in for the time of your life.

I was for­tu­nate enough to call Olympia Theme Park my home for over a decade as adopted son of Con and Julie and full-time life guard/pool at­ten­dant/mat col­lec­tor. To this day, it was the best job I have ever had and ar­guably the best job any teenage boy could ever want.

The Coast is poorer for it not ex­ist­ing nowa­days, but the mem­o­ries will last for­ever.

ASH

Nos­tal­gia Town. 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, it was 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.

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, so why ques­tion these things? It was a sim­pler time and do-good­ing “Tri­pad­vi­sor Nazis” didn’t ex­ist to point out these flaws in a dig­i­tal at­tempt to feel su­pe­rior and scare vis­i­tors away.

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, fo­cused on star rat­ings 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.

TUNE IN FOR DAVE, SAM AND ASH ON HOT 91.1 ON WEEKDAYS FOR BREAK­FAST FROM 5.30AM.

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