Ossie the Mossie is as iconic to Hexham as the Big Banana is to Coffs Harbour.
But you don’t need a bug zapper or the Aerogard because Ossie the Mossie is a friendly member of the Hexham Bowling club.
The infamous Hexham Grey mosquitos (Aedes alternans) are known for their large size, fearsome ferocity, and painful bite. Although this is a very hated mosquito, the larvae are voracious predators of other mosquito species, which makes them beneficial.
The Hexham Bowling Club has long used the Hexham Grey Mosquito as their symbol with the “retired” bowlers being affectionately known as the “Hexham Greys”.
In 1994 members raised $17,200 to have the three and a half metre high Ossie built, modelled after the giant chicken used by the nearby Toyota dealership.
Ossie was officially unveiled 28 years ago on March 10, 1994 by Lord Mayor of Newcastle Cr John McNaughton with the then chairmen of the Hexham Bowling Club Jim Mehan.
Over the years Ossie has had some work done, due to damage from the elements and other insects. In 2010 Ossie even had to be moved back a bit, when the Pacific Highway was widened.
But despite all that, Ossie serves as a friendly beacon to those around and those who pass by offering a warm welcome.
If you find yourself in Hexham, make sure to go to 290 Old Maitland Road, where you will find the Hexham Bowling Club. Stop in and visit Ossie to get a photo of Australia’s biggest and friendliest mossie and while you’re there I recommend a visit to the Riverside Bistro for lunch or dinner. Which is exactly what my partner and I did on our trip past the iconic mossie.
The Riverside Bistro is open 7 days including public holidays for lunch from 11:30am to 2pm with dinner from 5pm. It offers friendly staff and fast service as well as an inside play equipment area for the kids. Their menu offers a wide range of Asian and Australian Cuisine.
Feeling hungry we ordered the Prawn Cocktail for our entrée, which was delicious. And for our mains we ordered the Sweet and Sour Pork, Combination Chow Mein, and the House Special Fried Rice. All of which was very enjoyable, the chow Mein came with crunchy noodles and the pork was absolutely delectable.
For dessert you have the choice of cheesecake and ice cream, deep fried ice cream, deep fried pineapple with ice cream, mud cake with ice cream, banana fritter with ice cream or just ice cream. All of which sound absolutely scrumptious and make it a hard choice to decide.
So, the next time you find yourself driving past Hexham and you see a giant mossie on top of a sign, stop in for a visit to the Hexham Bowling Club Riverside Bistro.