|Location||Woombye, Queensland, Australia|
|Opened||15 August 1971|
|Height||16 metres (52 ft) tall
The Big Pineapple is a heritage-listed tourist attraction on the Sunshine Coast in South East Queensland, Australia. It is 16 metres high and was originally opened on the 15 of August 1971. It is situated on a 165 hectare site. The Big Pineapple features two rides: One on a Nut Mobile, the other on a small train that takes passengers on a tour of the plantation and lets them optionally disembark at a small zoo situated on the property. The rides take visitors around the plantation while the driver broadcasts information about the plants at the plantation, along with a history.
The plantation also features a small animal farm where visitors may feed the animals. Such animals include: dingoes, a deer, a donkey, alpacas, pigs, chickens, ducks and various birds. The plantation once housed a Macadamia Nut factory. They still grow macadamia nuts.
In 1971, Mr & Mrs Bill Taylor purchased a modest pineapple farm of 23 hectares on the coast side of the Bruce Highway. The Big Pineapple was opened by the Minister for Labour and Tourism, the late John Herbert on 15 August 1971. In 1972, the attraction was the recipient of the first award presented by the Australian National Travel Association for a tourist development in Queensland.
At 3:00 am on 11 September 1978, the building housing the tropical market and restaurant was completely destroyed by fire following an attempted burglary. The then Governor-General, Sir Zelman Cowen, opened the new complex on 19 December, just three months later. The purchase by Lanray Industries occurred in 1981.
In 1984, the Nutcountry Tour was extended to take in a section of rainforest in the redesigned Nutmobile, verandahs were added to the main upstairs restaurant, the Queensland's Hidden Treasures exhibit was opened presenting an array of Queensland's gems and minerals, in natural form (in the rough) and as finished jewellery and Troppo's Restaurant was opened. Troppo's subsequently changed its name to Plantations Restaurant. Queensland Press Limited became the new owner of the Big Pineapple in 1985. In 1986, eight more properties were acquired bringing the total land holdings to 113 hectares.
1987 saw land purchased on the southern side of the highway, which allowed the construction of new car parking facilities, accommodating a further 20 coaches and 420 cars. A pedestrian bridge was constructed to span the highway. The Big Pineapple underwent a major redevelopment. The main upstairs restaurant was doubled in size. A new reception area and tourist information centre was added. The Big Pineapple was refurbished and relocated.
In 1988, the Big Pineapple held the opening of 'Tomorrow's Harvest', a greenhouse displaying horticultural technology. RAPS night-time family restaurant opened in June of that year. The following year, the 'Magic Macadamia' was opened to promote the macadamia industry and the qualities of the macadamia. The Sunshine Coast's road system was augmented by two major additions in 1990: the Sunshine Motorway on 20 January and the Bruce Highway - Nambour bypass on 16 October. This meant the site was no longer adjacent to the Bruce Highway.
In December 1991, a mini-tornado caused substantial damage to Tomorrow's Harvest attraction, closing it for seven weeks while temporary repairs were affected. The 'Rainforest Stop' opened in December, adding rainforest walks and the animal nursery to the Train tour. In 1992, the Big Pineapple held the opening of the 'Arts and Crafts Gallery' in the retail area beside the train station and the expansion of the leisurewear department. During a seven-week closure in May/June 1993, the Tomorrow's Harvest attraction was refurbished: the tornado-damaged roof was replaced, the displays upgraded and 'Robbie the Robot' was added. Plantations Restaurant received a colonially-themed makeover during a major refit in September. Punkahs, evaporative cooling, new decorative facades and upgraded lighting and signage were added to the upstairs retail area during the refurbishment project completed in December.
A major refurbishment of Sunshines Restaurant was completed in June in 1994. The Endeavour Foundation's bingo game closed in August and RAPS Restaurant in September. The 'Farm Show' was added to the Train tour in September 1995. Guided tours of the Macadamia Factory for Nutcountry passengers commenced in December to enhance the experience when the factory was not processing.
The 'Bromeliad Feature' was added to the Tomorrow's Harvest attraction in February 1996. The 'Wildlife Garden' featuring koalas and other native animals was opened in April. Roughend Pineapple became the new owner of Sunshine Plantation in July.
Closure and re-opening
In 2003, the Big Pineapple was threatened to be sold to liquidators after refusal to pay creditors by company director Mr. Graham Hayes. The Big Pineapple was put into receivership in 2009. The Australian Taxation Office had been pushing for the property to be wound up since 2003, when it was revealed it owed the ATO $533,700.
In 2010, the Big Pineapple was sold to a prominent local family, the Bowden family of Buderim, for an undisclosed amount by PPB (receivers and managers). The Bowdens plan to completely renovate the historic tourist attraction, but several of the traditional drawcards of the Woombye landmark will remain, including the heritage-listed 15-metre fibreglass Big Pineapple and its famed sundaes. New to the attraction will be the housing on the site of a number of classic racing cars within the buildings. In 2011, renovation and reconstruction continued in an effort to return to business as an agritourism operation.
As of September 2012 the Big Pineapple has a small animal zoo, pineapple train ride and a rainforest walk. Visitors are able to climb the Pineapple. The site has Saturday Markets and is being renovated to be a Corporate and Community Hub. It will not be returned to its former glory or have a Car Museum as it was rumoured.
In 2013 the first 'Big Pineapple Music Festival' was held in April with Birds of Tokyo headlining the event.
Other Big Pineapples
A Big Pineapple sat atop a disused petrol station in Gympie, Queensland some 100 km to the north, but was demolished in 2008. Another 'small Big Pineapple' is located at the front of a petrol station in Ballina, New South Wales.
In the United States, an airline called The Hawaii Express, which operated service between Los Angeles, California, and Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1982 and 1983, was nicknamed "The Big Pineapple" because of that design which was painted on the mango-colored tail of the aircraft.
The Hawaiian Pineapple Co. (later, Dole Food Co.) erected a pineapple-shaped water tower over their cannery building in Honolulu, HI, on 23 February 1928. The pineapple was 40' tall, with a 24' circumference, capable of holding 100,000 gallons. Resting atop 100' steel legs above the cannery, it served as a local landmark for many years. "The Big Pineapple," as it was called, was dismantled in 1993, after the cannery was closed down.
A copy of the original Big Pineapple is in Bathurst, South Africa. It is actually bigger at 16.7 m high. Inside is a curio shop and informative static and visual displays of the pineapple industry in the area with an observation deck on top looking out over farm lands and the Indian Ocean in the distance. There is another big pineapple facsimile located in Singleton.
- Bridie Jabour (17 October 2011). "Smoothing rough ends of Big Pineapple". Brisbane Times (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 4 November 2011.
- The Sunshine Plantation Railway, Nambour, Eardley, Gifford Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, November, 1972 pp226-229
- "Big Pineapple sold to mystery buyer as visitors and staff turned away". The Courier-Mail. 2010-10-14. Archived from the original on 14 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-14.
- "Gympie's Big Pineapple Crush". Gympie Times. 2008-08-27. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
- "The Largest Pineapple in the World". 2010-03-01. Retrieved 2011-01-24.
- Jack Stevenson, Exploring Scotland's Heritage: Glasgow, Clydesdale and Stirling. Edinburgh: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1995, p. 83.