The Big Pears in Parkes

The Big Pears in Parkes represent the region's pear farming culture. Here's their story.
Big Pears in Parkes (Source: Wikipedia

The Big Pears in Parkes comprises a group of seven sculptures in the form of the pear fruit. These oversized pears sit outside the National Gallery of Australia in the suburb of Parkes, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.

Initially, the Big Pears graced the forecourt of the National Gallery before being replaced in 2018.

The pears sculptures were moved to the Australian Garden, located within the institution, to give room for a new art piece by an American artist. The Broken Obelisk, fondly described as a ‘gravity-defying artwork’, was unveiled in August 2018 at the former Big Pears location.

Artist George Baldessin designed the Big Pears in the 1960s using corten steel in Moorabbin, Melbourne, Victoria. He named the sculptures Pear – Version Number 2’ as an alternative title. In 1973, the National Gallery of Australia bought the art pieces and moved them to their gallery to showcase the artist’s work. 

Victoria is Australia’s largest producer of pear fruits because of the region’s mild winters and warm summers that favour the crop. This state serves the country about 90% of its pears, mostly from the Goulburn Valley region. The country produces three types of pears, namely:

  • Packham pears
  • William pears 
  • Beurre Bosc pears 

Baldessin’s pear sculptures are a replica of the Beurre Bosc type of pears. As an artist, his work was more than just a showcase of the pear fruits. He used the fruit to symbolize women, physical desire, and sensualized eating. 

Other Big Things in the Shape of a Fruit

Australia has several other Big Things in the shape of fruits across different states. Here are a few examples:

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