Big prawn's big move

The Big Prawn at Ballina is being relocated to the eastern side of the construction site where a Bunnings Warehouse is being built.
The Big Prawn at Ballina is being relocated to the eastern side of the construction site where a Bunnings Warehouse is being built. Patrick Gorbunovs

IT'S going to take two cranes almost all day, but finally Ballina's iconic big prawn will be moved to its new home today.

In a challenge of engineering and logistics, the two massive cranes will hoist the revered 60-tonne crustacean skyward from its home of the past 23 years.

Once free, an intricate dance by the cranes will begin, which will see the big prawn walked, while being hoisted aloft by the cranes, to its new home on the eastern front corner of the Bunnings Pacific Hwy site.

Unveiled in 1989, the six by nine metre concrete prawn greeted motorists as it sat on top of the West Ballina transit centre and restaurant.

When Ballina Shire council approved its demolition in 2009, a wave of community support, including a Facebook page, saw a campaign launched to save the big prawn.

After attracting national and international media attention, president of Ballina Tourism and Hospitality Inc, Leanne Cawley, announced in late February this year the big prawn would be relocated to the Bunnings development.

Bunnings managing director John Gillam said Ballina's iconic big prawn was always part of the plans for the new Bunnings development.

"Right from the start, we recognised the importance of the big prawn to many in the Ballina community," he said.

"Today we are relocating it to its new home near the entry to the site."

Mr Gillam said the new Bunnings Warehouse was expected to open in 2013.

He said Bunnings would invest over $31 million in the development of the 2.5 hectare Ballina site.

When complete the new Bunnings Ballina will provide 100 new jobs for locals plus jobs for the 44 staff currently employed in its Ballina store.

More than 180 construction jobs are anticipated to be created through the construction process.

Prawn Facts

  • The Big Prawn was unveiled in 1989.
  • The 6m x 9m prawn is made of concrete.
  • The Big Prawn weighs 60 tonnes.

Topics:  ballina big prawn

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