The Story of The Australian Farmer
Farming has a special place in Australia’s history and culture. For this reason, in the sparsely populated town of Wudinna, in South Australia, the locals found a special way to honour the agricultural industry in the region. They built a massive sculpture of an Australian farmer.
Also known as The Big Farmer, this oversized sculpture measures 8 metres high and took at least 17 years to develop, from the initial concept to the final unveiling in 2008. It was carved by artist Marijan Bekic and his son David between 2007 and 2009.
The initial proposal was tabled in 1992 by the Wudinna District Council, formerly the District Council of Le Hunte. The main goal was to create a community project in the area. However, it took seven years after the initial proposal for the council to announce the official tender for the construction of this massive structure.
When Bekic saw the advertisement, he submitted a proposal to the council, which was accepted and displayed to the local community. Impressed by the idea, the council sought a grant to support the project but failed. As a result, the Wudinna & Districts Telecentre donated land and attracted multiple sponsors to support the project. The local community then provided food and accommodation for Bekic and his son.
Although the initial plan was to complete the project within 12 months, it took two years. The official launch was broadcasted live by a local radio station and attended by over 1000 residents, including prominent politicians.
The top of the sculpture represents the sun, while the body depicts grain crops. The sheep sculptures found at the bottom of the massive statue represent the local sheep farming culture. When viewed from a distance, they seem like human feet, sitting at the structure’s base.
Other farming-inspired Big Things of South Australia include The Big Orange in Berri, the Big Olive in Tailem Bend, and The Big Cherries in Pages Flat.