The town of Chinchilla in Queensland is home to one of Australia’s storied Big Things, the Big Melon. This huge slice of artificial melon is one of the newest Big Things in the region.
The creation of the Big Melon
In 2018, Australian travel company, Wotif, launched a national campaign to gift the nation a new tourist attraction. This was due to the increasing popularity of the Big Things of Australia both locally and internationally. Another reason was to celebrate the company’s 18th anniversary.
The company received many offers from across the nation but the final four were from Chinchilla, Kingaroy, Mittagong and Glen Innes. Chinchilla’s Big Melon ultimately won the competition right before the 25th anniversary of the famous Chinchilla Melon Festival.
By now, you’re probably asking yourself, ‘Why the big melon? If that’s so, here’s your answer:
Why the Big Melon
The town of Chinchilla is home to at least 5,877 people, according to the 2016 census. Most of the locals are farmers, although coal mining is also a popular economic activity in the town.
Melon farming is one of the most common types of farming in Chinchilla. In fact, the town is often referred to as the ‘Melon Capital of Australia.’ According to statistics, this town alone produces at least 25% of Australia’s melons annually. To cement its bragging rights, the Melon Festival is held in the town every two years, in February. The event raises well over $2 million for charity every time it’s held.
The first Melon festival in Chinchilla was held in 1994, following years of drought. The purpose of the festival was to lift the spirits of local farmers who suffered huge losses from the drought. During the first ever Melon Festival in the town, there were at least 2,500 attendees, which was quite a decent number considering the town’s small population. Almost two decades later, in 2011, the number had risen to at least 10,000.
The event itself is family-friendly and fun-filled. It consists of fun activities such as Melon Skiing, Melon Bullseye, Melon Bungee, Melon Chariot, Melon Ironman, and so much more. There is also a melon eating competition for those who love to devour this fruit.
In 2009, the festival made headlines internationally when John Allwood’s name entered the Guinness World Record book for head-smashing 47 melons in a minute.
Location of the Big Melon
The Big Melon can be found next to the Chinchilla Information Center off Warrego Highway, Western Country Area, Queensland.
There is no doubt that the Big Melon is an instant hit both in Chinchilla and across Australia. While most Big Things in Australia appear a little bit older, especially the very first ones, which is understandable, the Big Melon of Chinchilla looks fresh and mouthwatering. Made from fiberglass, it measures approximately nine metres long (26ft), three meters high and weighs at least four tonnes.
The town of Chinchilla offers more than just the Big Melon. Here’s a quick look at some of the fun things to do in this part of Queensland.
Fun things to do in Chinchilla
The Chinchilla Historical Museum is the perfect place to be if you wish to connect with the town’s past. At the museum, you will also learn more about the locals and their culture.
If you love to spend time outdoors bonding with nature, this town is also home to the Charleys Creek Walk and the Chinchilla Botanic Parkland. The Chinchilla Weir, in particular, comes with camping facilities (two nights maximum), power sites, barbecue areas ideal for picnics. Other interesting places to visit in the town include the Barakula State Forest, Lapunya Art Gallery, Richard Best Memorial Park, Cypress Pine Art Sculpture and the Cactoblastis Monument.
Certainly, the Big Melon has opened the town of Chinchilla to the world. Its strategic location, just off the Warrego Highway, makes it even easier to locate. In 2019, for example, the Melon Festival attracted at least 15,000 people. It should be remembered that this was only one year after the official launch of the Big Melon.
Judging from these numbers, there is every reason to believe that the attendance record will keep getting better in the coming few years. If you haven’t yet visited this now-famous structure, the best time is now, and the second-best time is right now.
If you enjoyed this post we recommend reading our article about The Big Avocado!
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.