Melbourne-based writer and journalist. Purveyor of finally crafted radio plays. A Muppet of a man.
I find the Australian habit of ‘big things’ rather commendable. Build a large representation of something, stick it on the side of the road, and people will come. They’ll stand beneath its oversized greatness, whistle in appreciation, and say ‘imagine if they were that big, eh?’ A photo and a fridge magnet later and they’re on the road again. The big thing remains, awaiting the next weary traveller.
The Big Pineapple is a member of this proud tradition, albeit in a rather sad, rundown fashion. In dire need of a renovation (or at the very least a decent scrub), it sits next to a pineapple plantation in Woombye, Queensland, just outside of Maroochydore. It measures sixteen metres high, but is almost obscured by a rundown visitor’s centre and carpark. In its heyday it must have been quite the drawcard for the area – there’s a pedestrian walkway stretching above the highway – but now it mostly just dreams of warmer climates and better days.
Within the great pineapple is a decaying diorama showing pineapples being grown and harvested. Level two has a collection of rusting Golden Valley cans and a few photographs from the sixties of short-skirted women flanking men with impressive facial hair. This leads to an observation deck where thrilling views of the carpark await you.
What was left out of the entire experience was anything else regarding the long history of pineapples. This is just a few facts gleaned from The Pineapple: King of Fruits by Fran Beauman:
The Big Pineapple doesn’t hint to any of this glorious past, limiting its efforts to a board on which is written the mythical legend of a magical pineapple. It’s the sort of thing you begin reading with an encouraging smile, but the further and more detailed it gets you begin to wonder if it was written while wearing a tin foil hat.
The dilapidated condition of the Big Pineapple isn’t entirely surprising given it was rescued by locals after bankruptcy a few years ago, and while it has potential it still left a lot to be desired. Hopefully at some point it will return to a state of fruity greatness.