The Story of The Big Rocket
In Moree, New South Wales, the Kirkby Park is home to the Big Rocket built as a recreation park for children.
There have been two Big Rockets in the park since 1972. The first Big Rocket was built in 1972 as a commemoration of the Centenary of Education. It was funded by the money left over from the Centenary of Education Ball.
June Mckinnon invented the idea, considering it a worthy gift for the children in Moree. Children enjoyed playing at the first Big Rocket for many years until occupational health and safety declared the structure unsafe, leading to its closure.
In 2009, a new Big Rocket that met all the safety requirements was built under the observation of Dr Fred Watson, an astronaut. The 14.9 metre-high Big Rocket cost a whopping AUD 220,000 to complete. It is a colourful rocket replica featuring two slides and a space-themed command centre playground.
It is worth noting that the Big Rocket was launched during the International Year of Astronomy, celebrated in 2009. The year-long celebrations coincided with the 400th anniversary of the first astrological observations ever made with a telescope. It was also the 40th anniversary of the first human-crewed moon landing.
The adventurous Big Rocket Park was voted among the top ten parks to visit in Australia in the same year. There are also many other parks in Australia that are home to other Big Things. Some good examples include:
- The Big Pheasant at the entrance of Gumbuya Park in Tynong, Melbourne.
- The Big Pool Ball at the Yarralumla Play Station in Yarralumla, Australian Capital Territory.