Who is Ploddy the Dinosaur?
Many Australian and overseas visitors are familiar with some of this country’s famous giant roadside icons such as the Big Banana at Coff’s Harbour, the Big Pineapple on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and the giant merino ram at Goulburn. Few realise, however, that the first of these landmarks to be constructed was ‘Ploddy’. In 1963 the Australian Reptile Park’s founder, Eric Worrell, decided to put the attraction on the map by commissioning the design and construction of one of his most ambitious projects, a 26-metre concrete replica of a giant dinosaur. Weighing in at almost 100 tonnes, the design was based on a dinosaur called a Diplodocus, hence the name Ploddy was coined.
A team of talented people were employed to create the icon including designer Ken Mayfield and construction engineer Jim Sullivan. All in all, it took two months to build and an investment of over 1,100 man-hours. At its completion, Ploddy stood as a proud guardian at the front of the Australian Reptile Park in Wyoming overlooking the busy Pacific Highway from Sydney.
The Diplodocus on which Ploddy is modelled was one of the largest dinosaurs that ever lived, despite having a brain that was smaller than a human. It was so heavy that it spent much of its life during the Jurassic Period partially submerged in water to assist with supporting its huge bulk. It was a placid vegetarian that lived in herds, with each individual consuming several tonnes of food each day.