Holy cow – the big cow of Australia

The Big Cow
(Image free to use – courtesy of Wikimedia)

The Big Things of Australia have always been a well-known and loved tourist attraction, and there are hopes that they are about to get even more popular amongst tourists and travellers. With plenty of them being restored or relocated, and new ones being built, it is said that the Big Things of Australia are about to make a comeback, and we are overwhelmed with joy!

All of the Big Things of Australia are large structures that are loosely related. Some may be sculptures while others are only novelty structures, but either way, they make for some interesting conversations. Over the years, it has been estimated that roughly 150 Big Things sculptures cover the entirety of Australia. Every state and territory has a different structure (or a few).

While they started as an odd occurrence on a road trip, they have since become a staple piece in some peoples travel plans. People will travel thousands of miles only to see a specific Big Thing, and if that isn’t notable, I’m not sure what is! Some Big Things are heritage listed and highly valued, but unfortunately, others face the chance of demolition.

The Big Cow may not be the most well-known Big Thing, but it sure is the toughest! When the Big Cow was built, locals were told that it would be able to withstand a cyclone. So far, it has beaten most weather pattern, no matter how harsh, though before its change of scenery, it had seen better days.

The history of the Big Cow

The Big Cow was created in the 1970’s to encourage tourists to a small working dairy farm on Ayrshire road, and it definitely did its job! Though there aren’t any specific measurements around for the Big Cow, it is believed that it stands seven times the size of an Ayrshire cow, which it was inspired by. So, I guess we could say it is fairly big!

It is made from concrete which solidifies the fact that it most likely could withstand a cyclone, but we don’t particularly want to find out. When the dairy farm closed years later, the Big Cow remained on the property, but tourists were no longer flocking to see the cow. For a while he was used for a variety of different things, however, in March of 2016, it was declared that it had ‘closed and fallen into despair’. 

Luckily for the cow, some brand-new owners came along to fix it up. In 2019, the Big Cow was donated to Highfields Pioneer Village, and then came the journey. When the 10th of January 2020 came around, the Big Cow started his long journey to Highfields Pioneer Village, which it still calls home to this day.

Due to the cow’s massive size, it was cut into two pieces for transport. After a two-hour truck ride, being cut in half, and being rehomed, the Big Cow found a soft landing at Highfields Pioneer Village. Once it had arrived at Highfields Pioneer Village, fundraising begun to restore the cow and make it one piece again. The cow was then put back together, given new concrete footings, and surrounded by a security fence to keep it safe.

Ms Dodd’s from the Highfields Pioneer Village says, “we want to revive that old idea of visiting big things while having a rest stop.”

“There used to be a big culture of visiting big things around the country, and now those people are bringing their children to see the big things.”

It was then officially opened by Mr Clive Berghofer AM on the 20th of September 2020. The Big Cow now resides in its ‘forever paddock’ and it is now able to welcome visitors every day from 10 am to 4 pm, but online bookings are required to be able to marvel at the sight of the Big Cow.

The Big Cow festival

It is my belief that everything is worth celebrating, and someone must agree! The festival of the Big Cow begins on the 17th of September 2021 and will continue through until the 26th of September. This festival was created to celebrate and recognise the history of the Australian dairy industry and all things cow related!

The theme of the 2021 festival is ‘all things cow’, which sounds exciting, to say the least! You will be able to experience an in-depth look at the dairy industry and gain knowledge about all things cow related. It will heavily outline what the dairy industry was like in the Australia Pioneer days.

Though it won’t be your usual festival involving a copious amount of alcohol and live music, it is going to be a fantastic event that is friendly for all ages. It is a great opportunity to learn, experience, and enjoy time with your family. At this festival, you will be able to milk a cow, churn butter, and enjoy a nice old ice cream.

 It is a great experience for anyone and will help everyone understand that the dairy industry isn’t all bad. Whether you’re a history geek, a fan of cows, or you are just looking for a fine form of entertainment, you are guaranteed a fantastic time at this festival. Tickets are available online now for a discounted price.

Knickers the cow

In recent years, the big cow has seen a new rival appear across the country in Western Australia. The impressively huge Holstein Friesian, lovingly named ‘Knickers’ is also a large cow in Australia, but unlike the Big Cow, Knickers is real, and he isn’t actually a cow! He is a steer, the biggest steer in Australia for that matter, and he is making news headlines all over the world.

Source: The Guardian

News channels all over the world are calling Knickers a giant, a freak, and even a ‘factory creation’, implying that he was genetically engineered. However, this could not be further from the truth. Knickers was made famous entirely by accident.

Knickers became famous after a photo was posted of him standing high above his herd on a cattle farm located in Western Australia. In no more than an hour, Knickers was reaching the screens of not just Australians, but people all over the world. It got to a point that even celebrities were sharing his articles and posting about him.

Geoff Pearson, the owner of Knickers said that he was getting calls all day, every day that started at four o’clock in the morning, and while it may have been irritating, Geoff didn’t expect any of this. He says that every day he is receiving calls from all over Australia, the UK, the US, Canada, and even New Zealand. His story has been posted by BBC, CNN, USA Today, and even the Daily Mirror.

So, why exactly is Knickers famous? Well, we don’t really know. Though it does make sense considering Australia is a country with a love of big things. Knickers’ owner says that it is the novelty of it all that has created such an uproar. “You don’t get steers of that size in normal production systems,” he says.

Now we get to Knickers’ size. Standing at 1.94 metres which is roughly 6ft 4in, Knickers is just shy of beating the current world record holder of the biggest cow in the world, a steer named Bellino, who stands in Italy at 2.02 metres tall. Knickers also weighs a hefty 1,400kgs which is roughly 220 stone. When people said he was big, they meant it.

What most people fail to understand is that Knickers wasn’t always destined for fame, quite the opposite, actually. Steers are usually sold to slaughter at three years old, so they usually don’t get to achieve their full height. Though Geoff Pearson is still adamant that Knickers is one in a million.

Geoff had tried to sell Knickers to slaughter a month beforehand only to be told by the abattoir that he was too big for slaughter. “He’s too big for the chain, he’s out of spec, he’d be too heavy for the machines and he’d probably actually be hanging on the floor, so there would be contamination issues, and his cuts of meat would be too large,” Pearson says. I bet he is happy that Knickers wasn’t slaughtered now!

There have been pessimists in the world saying that the cows next to Knickers are small, and while that may be true, it is still a fact that Knickers is large. Some say that Knickers is an Arnold Schwarzenegger standing next to Danny DeVito’s. Knickers will now happily live out his days on a 3,000-acre property with 4,000 head of cattle to keep him company.

Now we understand, Australia is not only obsessed with big things, but also cows, with a few now gaining fame among Australians. The spotlight may have started on Knickers the cow (steer), but the Big Cow statue is now beating its rival significantly in the field of tourism and here’s hoping that it can begin to reignite Australia’s love affair with the Big Things in Australia.

If you enjoyed reading our article about The Big Cow, you may enjoy reading about The Big Bogan.  

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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