The Big Peanut
The rural town of Tolga, Atherton Tablelands in far North of Queensland had one peanut shop that was popular with both locals and visitors before closing down in early 2019. However, another one of Australia’s iconic big things in the shape of a big peanut still stands across the road from the shop.
Initially, it was known as the Big Peanut but now it is fondly referred to as the Big Peanut Man. The big Peanut resembles a human shape; its head is a huge peanut adorning a magician’s hat and with a smile on its face.
The torso of the gigantic peanut holds a sign written ‘The Peanut Place’. Back then, the sign welcomed visitors to the famous peanut shop.
The feet of the peanut man face opposite directions while standing at attention. This historic structure drew peanut lovers to the peanut place, including tourists who would stop by to take photos with it.
A Brief History of Peanut Farming in Tolga
Tolga receives sufficient rainfall in a year, which is favourable for farming. In the early years, farm settlers in the region rented out their farms to Chinese ex-miners who mainly planted maize and vegetables.
Maize was mainly used as pig feed while the pigs were processed for their meat. Peanut farming was done in small quantities until when soldiers from World War I settled in the area. The maize and pork prices fell, propelling most farmers to try out peanut farming in larger quantities.
The state government supported local farmers by facilitating peanut farming and constructing peanut storage facilities. Tolga quickly became a hub of peanut farming and production after the construction of the Cairns- Atherton railway line in 1903 that had an extension connecting to
Between 1910 and 1921, Tolga became a junction of railway lines connecting to Yungaburra and Milla Milla, further marketing its peanuts.
As a result, the town’s peanut production grew exponentially, producing an average of 10,000 tonnes a year, despite facing stiff competition from the currently famous Kingaroy Peanuts.
Kingaroy Peanuts also want to construct their own ‘big peanut’ monument celebrating peanut farming by the locals, and as a tourist attraction.
The big peanut man is still iconic despite the closure of the famous peanut shop. Many people keep fond memories of the good old days and the iconic symbol of the town that has been standing for over 40 years.
If you are planning a trip to Tolga, be sure to visit the Big Peanut man for a good photoshoot session and enjoy a feel of Tolga’s peanut farming history.
Notable attractions in Tolga
Tolga is a small rural town but there’s still lots to see and do. To learn more about the town’s history, visit the Tolga Historical Society and Museum or Tableland Heritage Centre. If you love spending time outdoors, the Rocky Creek War Memorial Park and CWA Park are great places to visit in this town. For shopping, the Tolga Markets and Atherton Tableland Salvos The Salvation Army should be top on your list.
You can read more about big things in Queensland here.