The not so ‘Happy Hens’ egg world at Meredith

During the 1990s I made many backseat trips along the Midland Highway between Geelong and Ballarat, and one of the sights on the trip was the ‘Happy Hens’ egg farm at Meredith. Misleading named given that thousands of battery hens call it home, even more surprising was the egg themed tourist attraction that once occupied the site.


Photo by Mattinbgn, via Wikimedia Commons

Called ‘Happy Hens Egg World’, from the highway an adventure playground with a massive slide towered above the surrounding trees, and inside the gates the ‘Big Egg’ was perched atop a visitors centre, from which tours of the egg farm could be taken.

Our family never actually paid a visit to Happy Hens – my parents knew someone who went on the tour and were disturbed by what a battery hen farm looks like from the inside, so they didn’t let us go in.

You might think that calling a battery hen farm ‘Happy Hens’ is just inviting trouble, and it did – by the 1990s activists from Animal Liberation Victoria were breaking into the complex on a regular basis and rescuing injured birds.

With all of that unwanted attention, the owners presumably realised that inviting tourists into a battery hen farm wasn’t good for business, and so the tourist complex was closed down. The massive slide was demolished soon after, but the large ‘Happy Hens’ sign on the highway is still there today, albeit repainted.

As for the trio of big hens sit outside the locked front gates, these were erected after the park closed, sometime between 2010 and 2013. So much for keeping a low profile!

Footnote

The ‘Big Egg’ was never visible above the treeline, but you can find a photo of it on the Wilkins Tourist Maps’ Australia’s Big Things webpage.

The massive slide at Happy Hens was originally located at Seagull Paddock in Geelong, a photo of the slide can be found on the KRock Facebook page.

Animal Liberation Victoria has been targeting Happy Hens for years – here is an article from 1998 detailing the arrest of an activist on trespassing charges, and by 2007 they had completed at least 23 rescue operations there.

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4 Responses to “The not so ‘Happy Hens’ egg world at Meredith”

  1. Matt says:

    Great read Marcus. Yet another random yet awesomely intriguing blog with various links – keep em coming!

  2. Gemma says:

    There was an episode about it on The Late Show in the 1990s

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