The Story of The Big Miner
The Big Miner in Warrenheip, a suburb of Ballarat, Victoria, is an oversized statue of a miner. It is one of the many Big Things of Australia built to celebrate the mining industries and culture in different towns across the country.
The giant structure stands 8 metres tall. However, the statue itself is around 6 metres tall but sits on a base measuring 2 metres high, consisting of at least 15 tonnes of concrete.
Designed by Wayne Johnston of 3D Theme Concepts and sculptured by Steve Bristow, the massive sculpture was unveiled on December 1, 2006, by Ballarat Mayor David Vendy. The statute celebrates the tens of thousands of gold prospectors who migrated to Victoria in the mid 19th century.
The original plan for the huge statue was announced in 2004 by Wayne Johnston. The statue was projected to cost approximately $1.5 million and create 15 new employment opportunities for the locals.
Mr. Johnston also hoped that the Big Miner would dig its way into the list of the Big Things of Australia, complementing Ballarat’s existing tourism attractions.
However, like many other Big Things of Australia, the Big Miner also attracted its own fair share of controversy. As reported by The Courier, some residents thought the $1.5 million allocated to construct the iconic structure was too much, arguing that plenty of other public projects needed more attention.
For example, some claimed that the money should have been spent on fixing roads, while others thought the structure would cause traffic-related problems.
As intended, The Big Miner in Warrenheip now joins the list of many other iconic structures built to celebrate the mining industry and culture in different towns across Australia.
Other examples of mining-inspired Big Things of Australia include:
- The Big Miner in Rubyvale
- The Big Pick, Shovel and Sieve in Sapphire, Queensland
- The Big Wheelbarrow in Port Hedland, Western Australia
- The Big Sapphire Ring in Sapphire, Queensland
- The Big Miner’s Lamp in Bowenfels, New South Wales