It’s impossible to miss the enormous sculpture of a cigar when visiting Churchill in Latrobe Valley, east Victoria. Initially known as ‘The Spire,’ The Big Cigar is a 32-metre-high golden tower built in 1967. At the bottom of the sculpture, there’s a brick wall bearing the names of the town’s first inhabitants.
Contrary to popular opinion, the gigantic cigar wasn’t built with any intention to reference Sir Winston Churchill’s famous cigar. Instead, it was merely an item of interest.
The History of Churchill and The Big Cigar
Churchill wasn’t the town’s original name. Initially, it was named after its surrounding district, Hazelwood. However, before the town’s construction began, the then Housing Minister, Lindsay Thompson, announced plans to rename it to Churchill.
This decision wasn’t well-received by some locals. For this reason, they filed a petition to retain the original name, Hazelwood.
Thompson expressed his disappointment, claiming that it would be shameful to revert the proposed name honouring one of the most influential men in the 20th century.
The petition was finally heard in 1989, and a vote was held to choose the ideal name for the town. After a narrow win, the name Churchill was selected.
The Big Cigar also became a popular home for pigeons, which, unfortunately, destroyed the inbuilt lighting of the enormous tower. However, in 1999, external lights were installed on the giant structure, making it even more conspicuous, especially at night.
The Big Smoke is yet another iconic cigarette sculpture in Myrtleford, Victoria. Also known as the Big Cigarette, it stands at an old tobacco factory located on Myrtleford-Yackandandah Road. The giant monument is believed to be the world’s largest cigarette, measuring 25 metres high.