Big Swoop has hit the big time. In a big way.
Just 18 months after its installation, the much-loved Canberra sculpture has already made its way on to a coin and a stamp.
Australia Post announced on Monday a new national stamp and coin series called Aussies Big Things.
And Big Swoop was the "big thing" selected for Canberra.
That has put the humble Garema Place magpie into the big things pantheon, alongside Aussie icons such as the Big Banana and Big Pineapple. (The Big Merino at Goulburn was overlooked but the Giant Ram in Western Australia was included in the series.)
Big Swoop is now on a collectable, uncirculated $1 coin struck by the Royal Australian Mint. (For sale from Monday for $3.)
And he's also on a $1.20 stamp released by Australia Post, putting him in pockets and on letters around the nation.
Artist Yanni Pounartzis, who created Big Swoop, was "in disbelief"
"I'm thrilled and very honoured that he's been endorsed by Australia Post and the Royal Australian Mint," he said.
"To think that Big Swoop would end up on a coin and a stamp is unfathomable, but at the same time, I find it hilarious."
Australia Post said the Aussie Big Things is a "celebration of the great Australian road trip".
Ten big things have been chosen to be on their own coin: the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, the Big Pineapple on the Sunshine Coast, the Giant Koala in Victoria, the Big Blue Heeler in Muswellbrook in country NSW, the Big Lobster in South Australia, the Giant Murray Cod in Swan Hill, Victoria, Big Swoop in Canberra, the Big Tasmanian Devil in Mole Creek, Tasmania, the Big Jumping Crocodile in the Northern Territory and the Giant Ram in Western Australia.
Five were chosen to also be on a stamp: Big Swoop, the Big Tasmanian Devil, the Giant Koala, the Big Jumping Crocodile and the Giant Murray Cod.
Big Swoop, nailing a hot chip in Garema Place, was created by Pounartzis and brought to life with the help of sculptor Gustavo Balboa and fibreglasser Stuart Rowsell of Bloodhound FX in Sydney. If was funded by a grant from the City Renewal Authority.
The $1 coin features Big Swoop with Telstra Tower, hot air balloons and a bus shelter in the background. The $1.20 stamp also shows the big fella with a person eating hot chips in Garema Place.
Pounartzis said having Big Swoop on a coin and a stamp just showed how far the scrappy little magpie had come in less that two years of life.
"When I created him, this kind of honour was the furthest thing from my mind," he said. "It's another reminder that he was for the community and they decide what he becomes."
Assistant Minister for Charities, Competition and Treasury Andrew Leigh said Australia's "Big Things" were loved by all.
"Whether it's The Big Banana, The Big Pineapple, or Canberra's very own Big Swoop, the best 'Big Things' celebrate the character of our communities and give visitors a reason to smile and pop in for a visit," he said.
"While the Mint's 'Big Things' coins may be of standard size, the memories they evoke loom large."
The coins and stamps are available from Australia Post here or at post offices.
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