Big Orange (South Australia)

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Big Orange
Big Orange.jpg
General information
Type Big thing
Architectural style Novelty
Location Berri, South Australia
Coordinates 34°14′47″S 140°37′15.1″E / 34.24639°S 140.620861°E / -34.24639; 140.620861
Construction started 14 January 1980 (1980-01-14)
Cost A$145,000
Client Bronte Coombe, Ven Chubb and David Marshall
Height 15 metres (49 ft)
Dimensions
Diameter 12 metres (39 ft)
Weight 15 tonnes (15 long tons; 17 short tons)
Technical details
Structural system Fiberglass panels over steel frame
Floor count Four
Design and construction
Architect John Twopenny
Main contractor Hoffmann Engineering

The Big Orange is one of a number of Big Things to be found in Australia, and is located near the Riverland town of Berri in South Australia. Standing at 15 metres in height, with a diameter of 12 metres, it is the biggest of the "big fruit" in Australia, and incorporates a cafe, souvenir shop, function room, lookout and a 360 degree mural within the structure. Opened in 1980, the landmark has at times struggled to find commercial success, changing hands in 2000, 2006 and again in 2008. Nevertheless, it has been described as the "most defining icon of the region".[1]

History[edit]

The Big Orange was conceived by Bronte Coombe, Ven Chubb and David Marshall. The three invested $145,000 into the venture in the mid-1970s, and the Big Orange opened on 14 January 1980.[2] At the time it was claimed to be the "largest sphere in the southern hemisphere", and Bronte Combe is quoted as stating that it was the only big thing at the time that had a business conducted from within it.[3]

In 2002 the Big Orange was sold for between $100,000 and $120,000 to RivSkills, an employment and training agency.[4] They operated the attraction as an Enterprise Learning Center,[3] but two years later the Big Orange was forced to close, with the owners citing "financial losses and management issues" as contributing factors.[5]

Two years after it closed, in 2006, the Big Orange was purchased by Kevin Dickerson. The Cooltong-based horticulturist planned to expand the property, but a combination of rising fuel prices and the drought saw problems emerge with the business, to the point where the Big Orange was no longer "a viable part of his business plan".[6] The site ended up in the hands of liquidators, and on 29 October 2008 the site was due to go to auction. Options for potential buyers provided by the liquidator include buying the Big Orange, the land, and the water entitlement separately, and it was suggested the buyers might consider rejuvenating the landmark by turning it into a "big golf ball with sponsors' names painted on it".[7] Although the October auction was unsuccessful, with the Big Orange failing to attract any bids,[8] the site was subsequently sold in November to a local businessman. According to the agent who handled the sale, the new owner intends for the Big Orange to remain at the current site, and plans to once again open it to the public.[9]

Design and construction[edit]

The Big Orange was designed by Adelaide based Architect John Twopenny and constructed by Hoffmann Engineering. It stands at 15 metres in height, and has a 12 metre diameter, making it the largest of the big things in Australia based upon fruit. It is constructed of fibreglass panels surrounded a steel frame,[10] and weighs in the vicinity of 85 tonnes.[7]

A footbridge is used to access the main structure, within which can be found four levels. The first contains a function room, the second a combination souvenir shop and cafe, while the third level possesses a 360 degree mural depicting the local scenery. The fourth floor has a lookout providing a view of the surrounding orchards.[3]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Oaten (2000), p. 47.
  2. ^ Clark (2004), pp. 185–186.
  3. ^ a b c Clark (2004), p. 186.
  4. ^ Littlely (6 March 2002), p. 35.
  5. ^ "Troubled Big Orange loses appeal" (8 June 2004)
  6. ^ Jenkin (25 June 2008), p. 30.
  7. ^ a b "Big golf ball suggested as landmark" (23 September 2008)
  8. ^ "Big Orange: Berri auction sours" (30 October 2008)
  9. ^ "Big Orange stays" (22 November 2008)
  10. ^ Clark (2004), p. 185.

References[edit]