By ANGELA CLUTTERBUCK
GOULBURN has The Big Merino, Coffs Harbour has The Big Banana and now Nyngan will soon proudly boast ... The Big Bogan.
Proponents of a plan to immortalise the iconic Australian image of the “bogan” in a giant steel statue complete with thongs, singlet and Esky are hoping the caricature could boost tourism and give visitors another reason to stop in Nyngan.
The Big Bogan would celebrate the local government area in which it was located - the Bogan Shire, according to council’s manager of engineering services, Graeme Bourke.
Mr Bourke lodged a proposal with the council to build and install the 3.6m steel figure with a fishing rod in his hand alongside a three-dimensional Esky so visitors could sit and have their photo taken with The Big Bogan.
The Big Bogan was the brainchild of Reverend Graham McLeod from Nyngan’s St Mark’s Anglican Church, who suggested it to Mr Bourke.
“He knew I worked at the Shire and I agreed it was a good idea to promote the Shire and attract tourists,” Mr Bourke said. “I drew a few sketches and for a while couldn’t quite get it right, but as it was coming up to budget estimates I thought, right, I’m going to submit this.”
Submit it he did, leaving councillors most enthusiastic about bringing the idea to fruition.
Reverend McLeod said given Australia’s fascination with so-called ‘big things’, Bogan Shire Council could miss out on a big opportunity if it did not act sooner rather than later.
“Firstly I thanked the mayor for not pooh-poohing the idea straight away, fascinatingly none of them objected. They were very much of the opinion ‘let’s give this a go’,” he said. “I thought, we better latch onto The Big Bogan. What would happen if Logan in Queensland decided they wanted to build the ‘Logan from Bogan’ and beat us to it?
“It’s about tourist potential and place recognition. Nyngan is a place where you leave Dubbo of a morning and stop for morning tea. This gives people another reason to stop. Actually, I’m even hoping we can attract people from overseas to come and sit with The Big Bogan.”
There followed some council discussions about what might constitute a bogan, Mr Bourke said, with the singlet, Esky, shorts and fishing rod getting the nod in the preliminary design.
“I decided to leave out the stubby holder and cigarette,” he said.
“A couple of councillors put forward the ideas of giving him a tattoo or having a snake on the ground near him, so we might consider those.”
Bogan Shire Mayor Ray Donald said while some people viewed the term “bogan” in a negative way, efforts to promote the “more attractive” aspects of the bogan identity had the potential to boost tourism in the Shire.
The statue’s location, along with other aspects of the proposal, would be a subject for discussion by Council in the near future, although Mr Bourke hoped it would be at the Peter Sinclair Bridge on the Bogan River.
“In the plan he has a fishing rod, it would be good to tie it in with the theme of the river,” he said.