|The Big Lobster|
Larry the Lobster
|Location||Kingston SE, South Australia|
|Developer||Ian Backler and Rob Moyse|
|Owner||Casey Sharpe and Jenna Lawrie|
|Opened||15 December 1979|
|Materials||Fibreglass over steel frame|
The Big Lobster is a tourist attraction located in the town of Kingston SE, South Australia. Known locally as "Larry the Lobster," the sculpture of a spiny lobster stands 17 metres tall, and is regarded as one of the most impressive of Australia's Big Things. Designed and built by Paul Kelly for Ian Backler and Rob Moyse, it is made of steel and fibreglass and was intended to attract attention to the restaurant and visitor centre at which it is situated. The Big Lobster was opened on 15 December 1979 after six months of construction.
The Big Lobster was originally conceived by Ian Backler. A local lobster fisherman, he formulated a plan to build a visitor centre in Kingston SE while travelling in the United States. Upon returning to Australia he formed a partnership with Rob Moyse, and they engaged Ian Hannaford to develop the complex on a vacant block of land.
The Big Lobster was envisioned by the developers as a means of attracting attention to the centre, and initially the lobster was intended to "rear up" over the front of the complex. Unfortunately, the plans changed when local council regulations forced the lobster to be repositioned in front of the visitor centre. Paul Kelly, who had previously built the Big Scotsman in North Adelaide, was employed to design and build the new structure. While possibly anecdotal, it is said that final size of the structure was the result of an accident: the plans for the Big Lobster were provided to Paul Kelly in feet, but he misread the measurements and used metres instead, resulting in a threefold increase in size. Kelly built the lobster in Edwardstown, South Australia, and the final product was transported by road to the site, where it was opened by the South Australian Premier David Tonkin on 15 December 1979.
Ian Backler and Rob Moyse ran the site for 15 years until selling it in 1984. The new owners operated the complex until 1990, when it was sold to Eric and Kath Peltz. The current owners, Jenna Lawrie and Casey Sharpe, purchased the property from the Peltz' in 2007 after it had been on the market for six years. They then renovated the site, making changes to the complex as well as steam cleaning the lobster, and formed plans to repaint "Larry" (as the lobster is locally known) as part of the process.
Design and construction
The Big Lobster is 17 metres high, 15.2 metres long and is 13.7 metres wide, with an approximate weight of 4 tonnes. The designer, Paul Kelly, modelled the structure on a lobster that he purchased and had stuffed for the purpose, and built it at warehouse out of a steel frame with a fibreglass shell. The details were carved out of foam prior to the application of the fibreglass, before transporting it and having it reassembled on site. The process took approximately six months.
The visitor complex at which it was sited originally consisted of a restaurant, tourist area and a small theatrette. Under the current management the restaurant has been altered to provide a more open-plan space, and it now incorporates the restaurant and a wine tasting area, with plans having been formulated to add accommodation and an accredited tourist centre to the venue.
- Lonely Planet Central Australia Charles Rawlings-Way, Meg Worby, Lindsay Brown - 2009 : - Page 97-"In nearby Kingston SE (www.kingstonsesa .com; population 2230) is one of Australia's 'big' tourist attractions – the lurid but rather well executed Larry the Lobster. Kingston SE is a hotbed of crayfishing and hosts the week-long Lobsterfest in ..."
- "All things big" 19 October 2004, p. 12
- Clark 2004, p. 181
- Clark 2004, pp. 181–182
- Clark 2004, p. 183
- "Big Lobster yours for $690,000" 2 October 2001, p. 12
- Jenkin 14 November 2007, p. 35
- Scutt 2009, p. 93
- Clark 2004, p. 182
- "All things big". Canberra Times. 19 October 2004.
- "Big Lobster yours for $690,000". The Advertiser. 2 October 2001. p. 12.
- Clark, David (2004). Big Things: Australia's amazing roadside attractions. Penguin Books. pp. 180–183. ISBN 0-14-300200-7.
- Jenkin, Cara (14 November 2007). "BIG CRAY Bright future for S-E landmark; New life for old shell". The Advertiser. p. 35.
- Scutt, Craig (2009). The Little Book of Big Aussie Icons. Five Mile Press. pp. 92–93. ISBN 978-1-74178-600-2.