It's coming...
It's coming... McDonald's

A big 'Big Mac' is going to pop up for Australia Day

HOW would you feel if you woke up on Australia Day, went down to the community event at the local park, and found a giant Big Mac?

It's no secret Australians are obsessed with big things. We love the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, the Big Prawn in Ballina, the Big Merino in Goulburn, the Big Rocking Horse in Gumeracha, and the Big Tassie Devil in Mole Creek.
You name it, we've supersized it and tacked on a plaque.

Of course, some are better than others, like the Big Potato in Robertson, which is unfortunately brown, round and lumpy. There's also the Big Koala in Dadswell's Bridge, which has devilish red eyes that glow at night time, frightening passers-by.

Some are pretty controversial, for example, the fact that there are two Big Pineapples just an hour apart in southeast Queensland, or the fact that Babinda and Tully still can't agree who should have the Big Gumboot for being Australia's wettest town.

In the regional NSW city of Tamworth, our obsession is spiralling out of control.

Australia's country music capital is already home to the half-tonne 12m high Big Golden Guitar, which was unveiled by Slim Dusty in 1988.

On Thursday, it's going to get something far more controversial: a Big Big Mac.

It's not just an inflatable gimmick that will last a day, either.

No, the Big Mac weighs 300 kilograms and it's been sculpted from polystyrene, sealed with resin, and painted look like a burger.

At first, news.com.au journalists and editors were pretty sure it was a hoax, designed as an elaborate and controversial publicity stunt.

After all, why would anyone unveil a giant hamburger - especially a registered trademark of a huge American corporation - in a regional Australian city?
 

We were pretty sceptical, but Macca’s sent us some of the designs.
We were pretty sceptical, but Macca’s sent us some of the designs. McDonald’s

But Tamworth Mayor Col Murray confirmed it's definitely coming.

"Some will warm to it better than others, certainly the younger generation will probably have a higher appreciation for what the Macca's brand brings," he told news.com.au.

"Like me, for example, I've had a few breakfasts and I like their coffee, but I don't eat much of the other things. I think the real message here is a recognition of the capacity of the producers in the region to contribute to something like Macca's.

"We produce high-quality beef, and high-quality lettuce, and it recognises the fact Tamworth is a serious part of the McDonald's supply chain."

According to the mayor, Tamworth is "probably the epitome of Australiana".

It's a town that holds traditional values close to the heart, and since Australia Day falls in the middle of the annual country music festival, it's a big deal.

The Big Mac was constructed in Sydney, and it will make the 400-kilometre journey to Tamworth on the back of a truck before it's unveiled in Waler Park - pretty much right in the middle of town - on Thursday morning.
 

A mock-up of the enormous Big Mac that's coming to Tamworth.
A mock-up of the enormous Big Mac that's coming to Tamworth. McDonalds

The burger will be more than two and a half metres high, mounted on a five-metre tower. To put it in perspective, the sesame seeds on the bun are the size of your palm.

"With locally sourced beef, lettuce, pickles and wheat, it's our homegrown ingredients that help make the Big Mac an Aussie favourite," said McDonald's marketing director Jo Feeney.

"We think the Down Under Big Big Mac is a fitting way to say thanks to our Aussie farmers and suppliers in Australia."
It is true that McDonald's sources its ingredients from Australian farmers, providing a reliable source of income for hundreds of hardworking families.

Most of its 950 restaurants are franchised by local businessmen and women, and it employs more than 100,000 people across the country.

However, you can't help but wonder how "Australian" McDonald's really is.

For example, there are allegations the franchise has used "aggressive and potentially abusive strategies" to minimise its tax bill in recent years, dodging almost half a billion dollars by sending profits to Singapore.

Last year, Fairfax's Nassim Khadem reported the company effectively halved its tax bill using this method, from $392.6 million in 2014 to $194.7 million in 2015.

Love it or hate it, there's sure to be a crowd in Tamworth this Thursday.

News Corp Australia

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