Ploddy The Dinosaur: Australia’s Most Famous Diplodocus

Ploddy The Dinosaur
Ploddy The Dinosaur. Source: Creative Commons

Ploddy The Dinosaur is believed to be among the first Big Things of Australia. We all know dinosaurs are extinct, so if you’re hearing about Ploddy for the first time, it’s not a living thing.

What is Ploddy The Dinosaur?

This is a large female diplodocus structure found in the Australian Reptile Park in Somersby, New South Wales. She was initially named ‘Dino’ but was later renamed ‘Ploddy.’

History of Ploddy The Dinosaur

Ploddy was erected in 1963 at the Australian Reptile Park, located initially at Wyoming, north of Gosford. It is now over 20 years since she was transported to Somersby, and over half a century since she was constructed.

Ploddy The Dinosaur
Celebrating Ploddy’s 50th anniversary. Source: Creative Commons

Ploddy is a popular landmark in the coastal region, and Australia’s most famous dinosaur. This colossal dinosaur sculpture is usually one of the first things you’ll notice when you drive on the Old Pacific Highway, Somersby, from Sydney. Even though the Diplodocus ceased to exist over 150 million years ago, the iconic dinosaur that is Ploddy is still here with us for more than half a century.

Ploddy The Dinosaur features

The project was commissioned by Eric Worrell, Australian Reptile Park founder, who coordinated and designed the more than 26-metre giant dinosaur replica. He was helped by engineer Jim Sullivan, designer Ken Mayfield and several other people who invested over 1100 man-hours in completing the project in just two months. The structure weighs almost 100 tonnes and is a replica of one of the largest dinosaurs ever to grace this planet.

Why Ploddy The Dinosaur was built

Given that there are so many species of animals in Australia, it is understandable if you wonder why the creators of this massive structure were inspired by dinosaurs. Here’s why:

Around 1963, researchers from the United States discovered fossils of the Diplodocus dinosaur in Wyoming, Australia. As the world embarked on research to understand more about these gigantic reptiles that once ruled the animal kingdom millions of years ago, the late Eric Worrell tapped on the opportunity to put Gosford on the global map, as a tourist destination. This was the main inspiration behind the construction of Ploddy.

The relocation

Ploddy The Dinosaur stayed at the Wyoming Australian Reptile Park for 33 years after her completion. The structure was placed strategically to face the Pacific Highway from Sydney.

She gained massive media attention during her relocation from Wyoming to Somersby, New South Wales. Around that time, her name was changed from ‘Dino’ to ‘Ploddy.’ Transporting a structure weighing 100 tonnes was not a walk in the park for those involved; Ploddy’s feet and tail had to be cut off to fit onto a semi-trailer transport vehicle.

The destination was about 10 kilometers away, a route that passed through the main streets of Gosford. During the transportation, children and adults alike were excited to see Ploddy in the streets; they paraded themselves along the sidewalks to witness the iconic dinosaur monument travel to her new home.

Businesses came to a standstill as crowds of people witnessed this once in a lifetime event. It is believed that over 15,000 people lined up on the streets to watch the ceremonious transportation of Ploddy to her new home.

Interestingly, on the day of transportation, there was heavy downpour in the morning, but by mid-day, the rain had stopped, and the relocation resumed as usual.

Iconic Roadside structure

Ploddy became an iconic roadside structure for both locals and visitors when the Somersby Australian Reptile Park was opened on 7th September 2000. The giant structure is positioned atop a hill next to the Sydney-Newcastle freeway. It is estimated that every year, more than 40 million cars pass by the freeway to get a view of this amazing landmark.

When the Australian Reptile Park marked Ploddy’s 20th year at the park, a handful of locals were given raffles tickets to join the celebrations. Some of the funds from the raffle tickets were donated to Devil Ark, the park’s program created to save the Tasmanian devil from extinction.

Repainted on November 17, 2016, and more than 100 times in total, Ploddy is considered an icon in the coastal region. As a result of being repeatedly painted, she is now 1.5 cm thicker.

Role in creating awareness

Since her arrival at the Australian Reptile Park, Ploddy has participated in several campaigns to raise awareness about various aspects in society. For example, she was once repainted to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS on World AIDS Day, celebrated every December 1st.

How to access the Australian Reptile Park

Ploddy The Dinosaur
The park’s entrance. Source: Creative Commons

Unfortunately, Ploddy The Dinosaur is not freely accessible to the public; she is surrounded by a perimeter fence inside the park. To access the Australian Reptile Park, you’ll have to buy admission tickets from the park’s website. As of February 2021, adults pay $43 for a day pass and $99 for an annual pass, while children aged three to 15 years pay $25 for a day pass and $60 for an annual pass. Senior citizens pay $33 for a day pass and $80 for an annual pass.

You may confirm the rates of other categories such as Single-Family and Family Pass by contacting the Australian Reptile Park. The park’s gates are usually open from 9 am to 5 pm every day apart from Christmas Day.

To see Ploddy the famous dinosaur, you’ll have to travel to Somersby, a semi-rural locality in the Central Coast region of New South Wales, which is 77 km by road from Sydney. It takes about an hour or less to reach the Australian Reptile Park from Sydney by road when you take the Gosford exit off the M1 Freeway. To get to the park by train, you’ll have to take a train to Gosford Train Station.

Once you alight from the train, you may take a taxi to the Australian Reptile Park since there are no buses from Gosford station to the park. At the park, you may receive a 25% discounted entry ticket when you present a taxi or Uber receipt.

If you enjoyed this post, we recommend reading our post about The Big Penguin!

We also have a Big Things store featuring T-shirts on some of the most famous big things in Australia. These include The Big penguin, The Big Kangaroo, The Big Jumping Crocodile and The Giant Koala. They are available in baby sizes all the way up to adult sizes.

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