The Big Slide Rule at the University of Tasmania, Hobart

close up of the big slide rule
The Big Slide Rule (Source: Alps Roads)

The Story of The Big Slide Rule

Unlike many other Big Things of Australia, you won’t find The Big Slide Rule in a conspicuous location. Instead, this little-known oversized slide rule is located at the School of Mathematics and Physics, Sandy Bay campus of the University of Tasmania in Hobart. 

This wallhanging is an enlarged replica of the slide rule, a tool many mathematicians are well familiar with. The slide rule was invented in the 1600s by William Oughtred but gained popularity in the 1800s after being redeveloped by a French artillery officer, Amedee Mannheim. Engineers used it to solve mathematical problems such as divisions, multiplications, square roots, exponentials, logarithms, and other trigonometric functions.

This tool was used for more than 350 years until the 1970s following the invention of modern-day calculators.

Away from math, Tasmania has more popular Big Things that are easier to find. One famous tourist attraction is the Big Platypus in Latrobe, found outside the Axeman’s Hall of Fame. This structure represents the unique duck-billed egg-laying mammals that inhabit the town’s rivers. 

Another one is the Big Penguin in Penguin, the northwest coast of the state. This monument was built as a proclamation of Penguin town, also home to the world’s smallest species of penguins.

 More easy-to-locate Big Things in Tasmania include:

  • The Big Tasmanian Devil in Mole Creek, located at the entrance of Trowunna Wildlife Park
  • The Big Cherry in Latrobe, visible from the Bass Highway. 
  • The Big Coffee Pot in Deloraine, visible from the Deloraine-Chudleigh road.
  • The Big Rock Lobster in Stanley, sitting atop Hursley Seafood restaurant. 

We hope you have fun exploring these Big Things in Tasmania. And while at it, please don’t forget to share your experience with us in the comment section below! 

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