The Big Spanner in Sapphire
The Story of The Big Spanner in Sapphire
Almost every town in Australia owns a Big Thing. Most of these iconic structures attract tourists or celebrate a certain aspect of history related to their current location. In Sapphire, The Big Spanner was the first oversized structure in the Rubyvale and Sapphire region to join the list of Big Things of Australia.
Built by Allen May in 1982, the Big Spanner doesn’t follow the common theme of other Big Things in Sapphire, Rubyvale, and Anakie. Instead, it’s a two-metre-long spanner-shaped sculpture mounted on a wooden frame to market the Big Spanner Mechanical Repairs and Services.
Unlike its counterparts in the region, the Big Spanner has nothing to do with the mining activities the area is commonly known for.
Sapphire, Rubyvale, and Anakie belong to the sapphire-rich Gemfields region in Central Queensland. Consequently, most of the Big Things found in these three towns are related to the sapphire mining heritage in one way or another. For example, the Big Pick, Shovel, and Sieve in Sapphire symbolise the tools miners traditionally used in the mining fields.
Other Big Things found in Sapphire and surrounding areas include:
- The Big Sapphire in Anakie, a huge sculpture that resembles the blue sapphire found in the mining fields.
- The Big Miner in Rubyvale, located outside the old Bobby Dazzler mine, now turned into a sapphire fossicking site.
- The Big Sapphire Ring in Sapphire, located in front of a sapphire fossicking park.
Australia has a rich mining heritage preserved by numerous oversized structures. While The Gemfields in Queensland were rich in gemstones, other mining regions were mostly famous for producing different precious minerals such as gold. Examples include:
- The Big Gold Nugget in Douglas Daly, Northern Territory
- The Big Gold Panner in Kelso, New South Wales
- The Big Gold Pick and Pan in Grenfell, New South Wales