The Story of William The Wombat
The northern hairy-nosed wombat is one of the most endangered species of the Australian marsupials. These animals are so endangered that they’re now restricted to a three-kilometre range inside the Epping Forest National Park in Queensland, Australia.
Facing the threat of wild dogs, the wombats population had reduced to slightly over 100 in 2003. As a result, the Queensland government built a 20-kilometre predator-proof fence around the area inhabited by wombats at the Epping Forest National Park to protect them from extinction.
By 2015, the population of these rare land mammals had almost doubled. In 2021, there were at least 300 wombats in the protected region.
While wombats are predominantly shy, often operating at night, you can find a less-shy oversized sculpture of this mammal in Thallon, Queensland. Nicknamed William the Hairy-Nosed Wombat, this giant wombat sits at the town’s beautiful park. It measures 2 metres high and 3.5 metres long. To put things into perspective, an actual adult wombat measures around 1 metre long and weighs anywhere between 25 and 40 kilograms.
Kids from all over the town and beyond love playing with the gigantic sculpture. Some sit on its back for the perfect photo-op. Next to the sculpture, an information board displays everything you need to know about this critically endangered animal, including its history and population.
But William the Hairy-Nosed Wombat isn’t the only sculpture of its kind in the list of the Big Things of Australia. Over 1,800 kilometres southwest of Thallon, you’ll find the town of Bookabie in South Australia, home to yet another massive wombat statue.
The Big Woombat in Bookabie is situated at Scotdesco Aboriginal Community along Highway 1. It was built in 2013 by local artists to raise more awareness about Southern hairy-nosed wombats.
Other Big Things in Queensland include: