Thursday, August 24, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Bowen’s most bountiful child is turning 21 this week and the whole town is celebrating the huge milestone of an iconic structure that has featured in over 1.5 million selfies over the years.
At a height of 10-metres and weighing a whopping five tonnes, the Big Mango is believed to be the largest structure of its kind in the world.
It was the brainchild of a local doctor at the time, Geoff Ingham, who got the project underway by establishing the Big Mango Trust to help fund and build it.
It cost $90,000 to build and brings more than 80,000 people to the site each year, more than returning the value spent on its construction.
About half the Big Mango’s visitors call into the Bowen Visitor Information Centre next door to find out about the local tours, activities, and accommodation.
Manager of Bowen Tourism and Business, Leanne Abernethy, said the Big Mango represents something truly special for Bowen locals.
“While it’s an object in reality, this icon is now an internationally renowned symbol of our town and our region.
“We’re a proud coastal town of many farming families who value the opportunity to share our pride with as many visitors as possible – and the Big Mango plays a huge role in attracting these visitors from all over the world.”
With a population of about 11,000 and known as ‘the food bowl’ of The Whitsundays, Bowen supplies 10 per cent of the entire Australian mango crop.
The Big Mango symbolises the Kensington Pride variety of mango, which is also known as the ‘Bowen Special’ and is lush in colour.
Bowen is the birthplace of the Kensington Pride in Australia, after being introduced from India in 1871.
Celebrations will be taking place across the Whitsundays for the next week.
Yesterday morning Katie Brown from Channel 7’s Sunrise broadcast live from the Big Mango, delivering the morning’s weather report right across the country.
Last night the tourism industry celebrated the milestone with a huge and extended Tourism Whitsundays Networking Night at the Big Mango, with an after party at the Grand View Hotel.
By coincidence, the iconic 100 per cent mango sorbet which is sold at the Information Centre, also reached an incredible milestone by breaking its long-standing record.
Previously the record has been 18,500 sold per year and this week that figure was smashed, with more than 19,000 sold with five weeks still remaining before the cut-off at the end of the financial year.
“We would absolutely love to sell 21,000 this year to go with the Big Mango’s 21 years!” said Ms Abernethy.
“So please come down to the information centre and treat yourself!”
Bowen Tourism and Business Manager Leanne Abernethy prepares for filming earlier this month. Photo credit: Facebook
The Bowen Visitor Information Centre welcomes 40,000 visitors through its doors each year. Photo supplied
A record-breaking 19,000 mango sorbets have been sold from the centre so far this year. Photo supplied
Kenny the Big Mango mascot. Photo supplied