From Big (Banana) things...

THE first of the mighty Big Things in Australia turns 40 this year and the Big Banana got all spruced up to celebrate thanks to the sensational singing Clorox Cleaning Crew ? who, unmasked, happened to be our very own Star FM's Break All Stars!

It was an early birthday pressie for the Banana, which was picked by Clorox ? the name behind cleaning brands including Gumption, Handy Andy and Glad ? for a free clean as part of their promotional roadshow.

Bren Kleinert, who contacted Big Banana owner, Kevin Rubie, with the offer to clean it, said she hadn't known the 40th birthday was coming up, but it was perfect timing for what was chosen by the Clorox team as one of the most popular icons in Australia.

Now one Coffs Harbour's most recognisable tourist attractions featuring a toboggan ride, guided walks, plantation tours, and the indoor ice-skating rink and snow slope, the Big Banana was created by American John Landi in 1964 as a sales gimmick.

Mr Landi had set up a fruit roadside stall to sell fruit from the five-acre plantation he and his wife had bought and, using the idea of a big pineapple he knew of in Hawaii, decided to build what was originally called the Biggest Banana in the World to help sales.

Work began in September, 1964, and was done in three months, ready for the curious Christmas drivers-by on December 22.

Kevin Rubie has been the proud owner of the Big Banana since 1993, turning it into a site which claims to be one of the most photographed subjects in Australia, with an estimated one million photos taken annually.

The Big Banana's 40th birthday celebrations will be held on December 11 with preliminary plans to ask people at other Big Things around Australia to express their interest in taking part.

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