Culture

We Need To Talk About The Big Oyster, Australia’s Most Useless Big Thing

There are around 150 Big Things in Australia and, if we’re being honest, none of them are that great. A big sheep? Okay, sure. But none are as useless as Taree’s Big Oyster.

Here’s a brief history of the Big Oyster: the massive fibreglass model was built in 1990 to honour the booming oyster industry in the town. It opened as a restaurant and themed gift shop, but now it sits above a car dealership, closed to the public.

Take a second to imagine: you’re buying a car, and the place you’re signing off on the deal has a giant sculpture of a half-open oyster shell above it. Doesn’t that make you stop and think about your life choices for a minute?

The Big Merino Is Shaking (??)

Perhaps the saddest thing about the Big Oyster is that it was built by the same people who built the Big Merino and the Big Prawn. But compared to those titans of Australiana, the Big Oyster is just kind of… there.

Taree's Big Oyster, one of the worst Big Things in Australia

Image: Provided by author

It’s not functional anymore, but thanks to its spot above the car dealership it’s not quite an attraction either. You’ve got to get creative if you want a cheesy tourist photo and you’re going to cop a whole lotta new and used cars in the background.

There are, conservatively, fourteen photos and one repost of the Big Oyster on Instagram at the time of writing. A lot of these seem to be photos of people showing off their new cars, with the statue in the background purely because it’s too big to get out of the frame.

Basically, the Big Oyster is stuck in purgatory, doomed to be a bad attraction and an even worse business venture.

The Big Mollusc Energy Of It All

Taree isn’t a particularly noteworthy town. It’s not a hidden gem in regional NSW, or even a place you visit on an epic road trip.

Similar to the Big Oyster, Taree is just kind of there. By way of backstory: I grew up in an even smaller country town nearby, and even still my memories of Taree mostly involve a week of work experience and bleeding through my gauze in a McDonald’s car park after I had my wisdom teeth taken out.

The fact that oysters are a local produce is relatively unknown, making the statue an even more confusing addition to the town. There might be a plaque describing why it’s relevant but 1) you’d have to enter the car dealership to read it and 2) I doubt it.

Everyone knows the Big Merino is in Goulburn and the Big Cane Toad is somewhere in Queensland. The truth is, the Big Oyster doesn’t add any value to Taree. But it also doesn’t make it any worse, which somehow feels worse. The least it could do is bring some kind of drama to the town.

One Of The Worst Big Things In Australia, Prove Me Wrong

Of the 150+ Big Things in Australia, there are lots of disappointments. So why does the Big Oyster revolt me so much? Perhaps it’s the fact I had to look at this stupid oyster looming over me whenever I went on school trips or to the dentist.

Perhaps it’s because seeing a giant oyster makes me think of eating a hundred of the slimy little monsters. Maybe I hate it because it’s not as good as the Big Merino, but not even as bad as the Big Mosquito or the Big Poo.

Of all the Big Things in Australia, the Big Oyster is the most mediocre. The most basic. The most… fine.

It’s always going to be there, and it’s always going to be fine — no more, no less. That’s all anyone can hope for.

(Lead Image: Provided by author)