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You're How Big?

AUSTRALIA | Friday, 9 September 2011 | Views [346]

And there it was.

This gigantic structure of breathtaking beauty, presence and stature, right there in my view. An Australian icon rising up in front of me: threatening to black out the sun. After such a long journey there, seeing it was like finding a cool refreshing beverage in the middle of the Sahara – so very satisfying. With the sunset burning through the sky with dramatic slashes of oranges, purples, reds ands pinks, the experience was even more magical than imagined.

I had been expecting big. I know the history, had read all the facts. I knew it was big. But still, as the car rolled around the bend and it came into view I was utterly blown away with just how big it managed to be.

It’s unbelievable that this massive structure was just there, surrounded by nothingness, the empty space beside it only accentuating its sheer size. It was beautiful too, all curving, soft lines, pale pink in the right light and with this almost nonchalant way of just being. Just there in the middle-of-nowhere. Just existing. Not caring who saw it, if any one ever did. Of course it’d been seen by human eyes before, but standing there I felt like it was just me, alone in the world with this beast. It was a vulnerable, but humbling feeling.

And it’s not Uluru - as is many peoples first guess when I speak this way.

This isn’t the only one of its kind. Not by a long shot. I’ve seen others. Touched some. Climbed some. Taken the typical tourist snaps of me pushing them over, holding them up, ninja-kicking them into oblivion. They are the Leaning Tower of Pisa of Australia. There are hundreds all around the country. Some with meaning, many with no purpose at all.

I have an almost obsessive fascination with icons of this kind. I think it’s amazing that they even exist. Appearing in the most bizarre places to stun and amaze the unassuming traveller. This particular mind blowing, thought provoking, emotion swelling structure of my explorer dreams is located in the self proclaimed middle-of-nowhere: Kimba, South Australia. And it’s a giant pink and grey galah. Giant.

A galah, so huge it looms over the whole town: protecting the dusty buildings and ensuring no development creeps in too close to steal its middle-of-nowhere title. It’s fantastic. It serves no purpose at all other than to exist. There’s no galah wildlife refuge in Kimba. There’s no famous ‘local galah saves baby’ story to build a monument for. The giant galah in Kimba is simply an oversized bird set up on the edge of town to serve as a gimmick to take photos of.

I absolutely love it.

My quest is to see them all. So far I’ve got an orange, camera, cassowary, gumboot, kangaroo and galah checked off my ‘big things’ list, but I won’t be completely satisfied until my eyes have feasted on every single one.

The mission continues.











Tags: icons, nullabor, outback


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