The Big Windmill in Coffs Harbour
The Story of The Big Windmill
The Big Windmill is found at the Big Windmill motel in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.
Melbourne-based Dutch architect Franz De Kever and his wife were behind the idea of the Big Windmill. The couple decided to invest in the motel business by purchasing a 6-acre site where the motel would be built. They also planned to establish a Dutch restaurant to accompany the motel, and a windmill was considered the ideal mascot for their new business.
Franz De Kever and his wife first built ten motel units before constructing the Windmill Restaurant and the Big Windmill. However, they faced several challenges in setting up the windmill.
First, they had to find eight pieces of giant wood, measuring the same in length and width. After a long search, Mr De Kever found the ideal materials in forests near Kempsey, New South Wales. Next, he sketched the windmill and finally started working on it.
Unfortunately, Mr De Kever had a tragic accident in 1974 when he fell off the construction site while fixing the Big Windmill’s frame. After his death, construction stagnated for many years until 1984, when Mr Hans Eecen and his family purchased the motel.
Initially, Eecen and his family were guests at ‘De Windmolen’, the motel’s original name. However, after purchasing and transferring ownership, Mr Eecen was determined to complete the construction of the windmill.
He sought the help of Harry Dercke, who made the blades in Holland and travelled to Australia to help in assembling the giant windmill. It was officially opened by the ambassador from the Netherlands in 1982.
Eecen and his family expanded the motel with 30 more units and a cocktail bar. The serene environment is decorated with several artifacts the family collects during their trips to Holland. To commemorate Mr De Kever’s idea of the massive windmill, a plaque bearing his initials lies below the giant Windmill.
The Big Windmill aside, Coffs Harbor is also home to the Big Bunch of Bananas, Big Slurpee (no longer exists), Big Koala Family, and many more.