» Big Cigarette

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Location: Myrtleford, VIC (280km NE Melbourne)

Myrtleford is partway between Wangaratta (which lies on Highway 31 between Melbourne and Sydney) and Bright, on the edge of the highlands in north-eastern Victoria. The Big Cigarette is about 3km down a road heading north out of the town, which I think is signposted alerting to the rough whereabouts of said Cigarette.

Date visited: ?? Aug 2002

Big Cigarette [1]Bigness: As soon as we drove over the rise, I couldn't believe my eyes - here was surely the biggest cigarette in the world! Unfortunately I didn't get anything besides the tobacco factory in the photos to make a comparison, but the Cigarette was easily a good 3 to 4 stories high. I think the clever thing here is that it is a working chimney disguised as a cigarette, but what would've been more clever is if they actually had it facing the other way - I don't know of many cigarettes that smoke from the filter. That aside, one of these fellas could keep a pack-a-day smoker going for years.. if they had a really big mouth to fit it in.. and enough suction to inhale the smoke.. and a dozen friends to help light it. Hmm, perhaps that isn't such a great idea after all. 8/10

Interest Factor: How do you keep one interested at a Big Cigarette? Firstly, it's attached to a tobacco factory and is on private property - not a good start. Thankfully the gate was wide open so we helped ourselves inside to get a couple of happy-snaps. Nobody was around to tell us off and I'm sure they get the odd tourist wanting to take photos anyway. Otherwise, why build it in the first place? Secondly, you really need something auxiliary to do instead of looking at a giant cigarette. Like, maybe they could give people tours inside the Cigarette, or least of around the factory or on to the catwalk halfway up. But what I'm really thinking is turning the place into a giant theme park. Teach kiddies how cigarettes are made! Ride the cigarette train through the tobacco plantations! Free samples at the end for the kids! Alas there is none of that. Oh well. 2/10

Weirdness/Realism: The only thing I find weird about the Big Cigarette is the fact that anybody made it in the first place. Mainly because the first thing that springs to mind is a related theme park (see above). Kind of ridiculous like Duff Gardens from the Simpsons. Still, they made a fine cigarette. I'm sure the only thing missing is the tobacco and carcinogenics inside. 9/10

Accessibility: Not being an overly popular tourist attraction usually means you have to put in a little effort to find it. My memory of this afternoon is hazy due to all the excitement of meeting the in-laws for the first time. I think I remember there being an old sign pointing in the direction of the Big Cigarette, but it's more likely we were going under the guidance of Emma's dad who had been there before. So I guess we were pretty lucky on the day. I'm sure asking a local or checking the Civic Guide will help if you get stuck. 6/10

Big Cigarette [2]Tourist Factor: There was nobody there at all. As in zero humans. Except us of course, which is why it scores a 1. There may have been people working in the factory but we didn't see them or even their cars. It was only a Friday morning - maybe they get the crowds on the weekends? I'll never know. If you're looking for some quiet time alone to stare at a Big Thing, the Big Cigarette is for you. 1/10

Overall: Once again, the Big Cigarette was one of the Big Things I had done zero research on so I wasn't sure what to expect. It remains one of my favourites to date not only because it's a one-of-a-kind but also because of the area it's in. I'm a big fan of mountainous terrain, and the Big Cigarette is nestled in the middle of a wide valley on the edge of the Victorian alps, so it's quite scenic. Still, besides being a big cigarette it hasn't got much going for it. Unless my plan for a cigarette theme park comes to fruition. 5/10