Driving along the Swansea bends recently, we noticed the Big Prawn looking a tad lonely.
The prawn itself looks in good nick, but the site appears desolate and worse for wear.
Its signs are covered in graffiti, while overgrown grass and weeds are growing in messy patches around it.
The Big Prawn probably isn’t too worried about all this. It’s made of stern stuff.
As many will remember, it survived the horrific bushfire that swept up the coast from Doyalson to Catherine Hill Bay with ferocious speed in October 2013.
The Big Prawn’s service station – known as the Big T Roadhouse at Crangan Bay – was burnt to the ground.
A servo had been on the site since 1960, but the Big Prawn wasn’t built until 1991.
The guy who built the Big Prawn – Shane Simpson – previously told Topics that it was built with nine-millimetre thick fibreglass and a steel pole that could withstand wind speeds of 250kmh.
The design was based on a frozen prawn that was pulled out of an Esky.
After the blaze, hundreds of punters stopped for selfies with the iconic prawn.
They were amazed it didn’t melt and buoyed by its resilience.
The Big Prawn stands as a reminder of the fire’s frightening power.
It became a kind of symbol. A symbol of hope, you might say.
But we can’t deny that its status as a symbol of hope, at present, is a tad shaky. It’s become a symbol of decay and decline.
It’s not the best statement at one of the Hunter’s key entry points.
So what’s happening with this site?
Topics hears that Westside Petroleum lodged a development application in November last year for a new $1 million service station on the site.
The Big Prawn will be moved further north on the site to allow for better vehicle movements.
Things seem to be ticking along, as the company jumps through hoops and ticks the boxes needed to get the project over the line.
There’s been no word from the company on when the new servo is expected to open.
Hopefully things get moving next year.
It’s always good to have another petrol station along that stretch, which is a pretty isolated area.
And the fishos coming from the south love buying their prawns there for bait.
Delicious Sugar Dirt
Speaking of big icons, we read recently that the Big Milo Tin will be built in Kempsey on the North Coast in 2019.
This seemed like a case of commercialism gone mad. But considering Milo was founded in the area and its factory remains there, some might think it’s a good idea.
Milo was first made during the Great Depression to tackle malnutrition in children.
But when Nestlé decided last year that Milo was a core dairy product, consumer advocacy group Choice dubbed it “delicious malted chocolate sugar dirt”.