More than one way to peel prawn

TAKING SHAPE: The Big Prawn being built by Glenn Industries in 1990. It took six months to complete at a cost of $500,000. suppied
TAKING SHAPE: The Big Prawn being built by Glenn Industries in 1990. It took six months to complete at a cost of $500,000. suppied

IF YOU get the tail of a prawn, and separate it from the body, Ballina can still enjoy a giant crustacean.

Tony Grosset, the technical manager and founder of the company that built the Big Prawn, Glenn Industries, said it was possible to move the Prawn, and the process would be similar to what people do when they eat a not-so-big prawn - separate the head and tail from the body.

He estimated it would cost several hundred thousand dollars to move the Big Prawn, but, once the shell was separated, it could be done in a day.

But that cost, he said, would be much cheaper than building a new one - it cost $500,000 to construct the current prawn in 1990.

Glenn Industries also built the Big Merino at Goulburn, and they were involved in moving it to a new position on the Hume Highway late last year.

“Big things are part of the Australian landscape,” Mr Grosset said.

“Love them or hate them, they have now become part of what Australia is all about - pushing the boundaries, not taking life too seriously and giving things a go.”

Mr Grosset said the Big Merino had been a success due to the heritage display on the sheep industry within its structure. He said the Big Prawn could be also used to pay tribute to the local fishing industry, and other local history.

Mr Grosset last visited the Big Prawn five years ago, and said he was confident the glass-reinforced cement was still in good repair.

“It would have shown visible signs of deterioration five years ago if it wasn't,” he said.

While admitting he's biased, he said he didn't want to see the Big Prawn demolished.

“We would be sad to see it go,” Mr Grosset said.

“I am sure all it needs is some love and attention to restore it back to its former glory.”

Mr Grosset said advances in paint technology since the Big Prawn was built meant there now were products which could give the Prawn a gloss, wet look with a lifespan of more than 30 years.

He said the glass-reinforced cement used to build the Big Prawn didn't have elements that could corrode, giving the structure a long life.

His company used dots-in-the-air technology to build the Big Prawn and the Big Merino. He said a sheep expert gave the Big Merino an A1 rating for accuracy and detail, and that the Big Prawn would have been given a similar rating.

It took six months to build the Big Prawn.

Glenn Industries still has the designs for the Prawn, and Mr Grosset said they could be adjusted to suit any structure.

Building big things launched Glenn Industries.

The company's first big thing was Magic Mountain on the beachfront at Glenelg, Adelaide. That structure has been demolished to make way for an apartment block.

Lennox Head developer Chris Condon, who proposed building a new Big Prawn at a big service centre planned for the Teven Interchange on the Ballina bypass route, said he was keen to talk to Glenn Industries, and the current owner of the Big Prawn Santo Pennisi, about moving the structure

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