The Big Bulls of Rockhampton are good examples of Australia’s storied Big Things. Located in Rockhampton, Central Queensland, the Big Bulls are seven statues of bulls designed and built by Hugh Anderson. There are also several other structures of small bulls you will encounter when you visit the city known for beef farming. In this article, you’ll learn more about the history of the Big Bulls, their location, and other interesting facts.
History of the Big Bulls
The Big Bulls were erected to attract tourists to the beef farms in Rockhampton. The city has been nicknamed the Beef Capital of Australia, even though the town of Casino in New South Wales also lays claim to the title. The erected beef cattle sculptures are about seven times the average size of a cow and are made of concrete. The city of Rockhampton owes much of its revenue to the growing beef industry.
Location of the Big Bulls
The Big Bulls of Rockhampton are found in different places around the city. Rockhampton is famous for hosting Beef Australia events, and the concrete depiction of bull sculptures throughout the city represent the main breeds of cattle found in the region.
At the southern entrance to the city, you’ll find the Brahman Bull. It is the most recent Big Bull structure, having been erected in 2000. The oldest Big Bull sculpture, also known as the Brahman Bull, is located at the Rockhampton median strip adjacent to the Red Hill Homemaker Centre. It was built in 1978. Down in Frankford Town Park, you’ll find the Santa Gertrudis bull erected in 1985.
Another Bull sculpture known as Romagnola Bull is located at the O’Shanesy Park, and was built in 1997 as a commemoration of the Italian Beef Cattle World Congress. You’ll find the fifth bull structure, known as the Bradford Bull, when you drive past the Bruce Highway. The last official Big Bull is the Droughtmaster Bull, erected at the Rockhampton Airport (ROK) entrance in 1994.
Why the Big Bulls keep losing their balls
The Big Bulls of Rockhampton made headlines in the region a few years ago, following repeated cases of theft of the bulls’ testicles. The infamous bulls’ gonads are often targeted by souvenir hunters who stole the coconut-sized concrete balls off the bulls, leaving the local authorities with no choice but to replace them. The ‘castration’ cases prompted the local government to insert steel rods into the bulls’ testicles to make it even more difficult for the ‘testicles thieves’ to detach them from the bodies of these iconic sculptures.
Things to do in Rockhampton
When driving across town, you’ll definitely see Rocky’s Big Bulls near roundabouts and pedestrian sidewalks. So, put on your cowboy hat and boots and get ready to explore Australia’s Beef Capital! There are several places in the city where you can purchase your cowboy gear and get dressed as a beef farmer. Take a walk in Rockhampton Central Business District, and you’ll come across boutique shops selling a unique range of western clothing inspired by beef farming.
You can also visit the Gracemere Saleyard to witness firsthand how livestock sales take place. The best day to visit the Gracemere Saleyard, also known as the Central Queensland livestock exchange, is on Friday morning when live cattle auctions begin.
Rocky’s food is also amazing, and as Australia’s beef capital, you’ll surely enjoy the very best the beef industry has to offer.
You can visit Mount Archer National Park, located on the edge of town, to get spectacular views of the city. If you love birdwatching, the Mount Archer National Park is home to beautiful and rare woodland birds worth checking out.
Another outstanding place to visit in this region is the Capricorn caves located a few kilometers north of Rockhampton. These are privately owned limestone caves open to the public for fossicking, abseiling, and animal viewing. The caves are home to endangered species and wildlife, and have breath-taking views from the summit.
If you love flowers (who doesn’t?) you can visit the Rockhampton Botanic gardens, a heritage-listed botanic garden for the ultimate peace and tranquility in the city. It offers a perfect blend of romance and nature, while maintaining an urban feeling. The Rockhampton Zoo is home to over 50 native animal species from around the world, all coexisting with each other within the perimeters of the gardens.
You may also check out the Pumpkin Island, which usually has self-catering cottages and beach houses for hire. If you are lucky enough, you’ll see dolphins, turtles, and whales, but this depends on the season you choose to visit Rockhampton.
For history lovers, there is a historical museum west of Rockhampton at the Mount Morgan Railway museum. Here, you’ll experience different modes of transport from the 1800s, through audio-visual displays and 3D representations.
Events in Rockhampton
There are various events held in Rockhampton worth attending. One such event is the Professional Bull Riders tour, an adrenaline-filled event with lots of fun activities held at the Great Western Hotel.
There’s also the triennial Beef Expo that features tons of activities such as trade fairs, stud cattle competitions, and beef-cooking demonstrations. This expo offers the perfect opportunity for beef lovers to learn more about the ins and outs of this type of farming, and also interact with experienced beef farmers.
From time to time, the Big Bulls of Rockhampton are given a facelift, especially when events related to the beef industry are about to be held in the city. The makeovers are usually done after every three years when the town hosts Beef Australia expos. The beef expos, in particular, are quite popular both locally and internationally. In 2018, for example, the event set an attendance record of 100,000, a true testimony of its popularity. Besides, it is the biggest beef expo event in Australia, and it has helped put Rockhampton on the world map.
If you enjoyed this article we recommend reading our article about The Big Merino!
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.