2 June 2023

Cash splash set to spruce up Adaminaby's Big Trout as icon turns 50

| Gail Eastaway
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Big Trout

The Adaminaby Big Trout is set for restoration, similar to the 2012 facelift. Photo: Gail Eastaway.

Adaminaby’s Big Trout is set for a major restoration thanks to a $318,000 grant from the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund.

Snowy Monaro Regional Council (SMRC) said it was delighted to announce that International Conservation Services (ICS) would develop the repair plan in collaboration with the council’s corporate projects team.

ICS is Australia’s largest fine-arts and heritage conservation firm, having recently completed projects including the restoration of the doors of Old Parliament House in Canberra and the Hall of Memories at the Australian War Memorial.

Repairs will be carried out by ICS’s team of world-class heritage restorers and conservators, while SMRC improves the parklands surrounding the Adaminaby icon.

Lake Eucumbene Chamber of Commerce chairman Tim Corkhill said he was pleased the work was to proceed.

The Big Trout was last given a facelift 12 years ago, but the maintenance plan devised by those conservators apparently had not been implemented, resulting in the trout deteriorating to its current condition, Mr Corkhill said.

He said it was fitting the trout would be restored in its 50th year.

The Big Trout was an initiative of Adaminaby businessman Leigh Stewart and artist Andy Lomnici in 1973. It is one of the “Big Things” that are found in various parts of Australia.

Mr Lomnici used a frozen trout as a guide and built the final work in fibreglass over mesh and a steel frame. The completed Big Trout stands at 10 metres and weighs 2.5 tonnes (2 long tons; 3 short tons).

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The scales were produced by covering the work in mesh, adding a final layer of fibreglass and then removing the mesh before it set.

In 2012, the work was repainted to celebrate the Snowy River Shire Council’s centenary.

Mr Corkhill said the 2012 restoration saw the trout surrounded by scaffolding for months, with the contractors fighting the elements to finish the project. He said he was not sure whether this latest restoration would be carried out in situ or whether the trout would be removed temporarily, although that would pose new challenges.

He said it was pleasing to see the trout’s significance had been recognised.

The Big Trout restoration project joins a long list of work planned and underway for the village following community consultation meetings.

These include:

  • Upgrading and sealing Lucas Street.
  • Upgrading and sealing the unnamed laneway east of Denison Street.
  • Upgrading stormwater drains, kerbs and guttering in Baker Street.
  • Light-vehicle and caravan parking area adjacent to the Big Trout.
  • Heavy-vehicle parking area adjacent to the Adaminaby Showground.

Mr Corkhill welcomed these initiatives as well.

He said the town was preparing for a busy winter season, which would be augmented by the reopening of the Selwyn Ski Resort.

However, he warned there needed to be more education for visitors to the area using Snowy Mountains Highway because of the amount of heavy traffic now using the road due to Snowy 2.0 works.

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He said there was community concern about the volume of heavy traffic and its possible impact on visiting motorists.

“The sooner the Bobeyan Road is upgraded, the better,” Mr Corkhill said.

Bobeyan Road is a link road from Adaminaby to the ACT. The former state Government announced funding for its upgrade about two years ago.

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