Do you like big things? Looking for something sheepish? Tired of having the wool pulled over your eyes? Wondering if the writer is just rambling on to see how many baa-ad sheep-related puns he can milk out of one article? (He is, and will likely manage at least an-udder one or two before the end...) Then it's probably time to get to the point. If you like really big things, really sheepish things or really big sheepish things that make for a really good photo, The Big Merino is well worth a visit.
Rearing its head out of Goulburn (around 45 minutes from Canberra), just off the Hume Highway, The Big Merino- a giant ram called Rambo- has been a feature of the local landscape since the mid-1980s. Rambo, a larger than life replica of a real ram (also named Rambo and apparently a bit of a stud...) who lived on a nearby farm, was built as a tribute to the region's wool industry. Standing at just over 15 metres tall and weighing in at 97 tonnes, Rambo is the biggest of his kind in the world, and while he may look impressive on the outside, his multi-storied interior also has something to offer.
Inside are some exhibits devoted to Australian wool, a lookout, and even a wishing well.
To go within, head around to the rear of The Big Merino where you'll find a gift shop, which in addition to selling a range of products including souvenirs, clothing, and local foodstuffs, also holds the entrance to Rambo's inner attractions.
Head up some stairs and you'll pass by a Koertsz Wool Press from the late 1800s, which at the time of its invention was a clever machine that changed the way wool was packaged into bales and made the packing process easier and much more efficient.
When you reach the second floor you'll find some more displays highlighting the unique properties of Merino wool and some of the products it's used in. Continue upwards and you'll get to the lookout, from which you can see a small part of Goulburn through Rambo's very own eyes.
If you're feeling lucky, Rambo also has his very own wishing well, which is actually more of a wishing stairwell than a well in the traditional sense (and it doesn't contain any water), but all that aside, you can still drop a coin to the bottom and send out a wish.
The sign at the top of The Big Merino's Wishing Well
Unfortunately the Big Merino just reminds me of all the sad sheep I see around the region who have just been shorn as we come into winter. Being left in a paddock in sub zero conditions with no fleece or protection from the elements shouldn't be allowed.