Big Lizzie – Red Cliffs, Australia - Atlas Obscura

Big Lizzie

Red Cliffs, Australia

One of the world's largest tractors was built to replace camel caravans. 


Big Lizzie played a huge role in clearing the land that would one day become Red Cliffs, a town hundreds of European soldiers settled after World War I. The enormous tractor could clear 50 acres of land in a day, which was a monstrous feat even for the iron behemoth.

A man named Frank Bottrill began constructing Big Lizzie in 1915. His ambitions were, well, big, and his reasons were rather kind. He hoped the vehicle would replace the camels that were so often forced to lug heavy loads across Australia’s arid, unforgiving deserts.

Bottrill’s final result was a beast of a machine. Big Lizzie clocks in at an impressive 34 feet tall and has huge wheels specifically designed to travel across sand. The tractor could pull two large trailers behind it.

Big Lizzie finished clearing the area around Red Cliffs in 1924. The tractor then moved on to other areas within Western Victoria, but this venture proved unsuccessful. Bottrill soon abandoned the enormous tractor, and it sat unloved and unused until 1971, when a committee was formed in Red Cliffs to buy Big Lizzie and bring it home to the town it helped create. Now, anyone who visits Red Cliffs can get a close look at the vehicle sitting beneath a protective shelter.

Know Before You Go

You'll find Big Lizzie at Barclay Square.

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