A Melbourne artist has claimed responsibility for erecting a sign advertising a multinational fast food outlet in the Simpson Desert Conservation Park.
The large sign, which reads “McDonald’s opening soon”, was erected 200 kilometres into the desert and can be seen for miles in every direction.
Speaking to 774 ABC Melbourne’s Red Symons on condition of anonymity, the artist said the prank was “about 12 months in the planning”.
“Me and some army mates and a couple of other mates drove up for the Finke Desert Race,” he said.
“We decided on the second night that we’d put it up there.”
The sign stands out in the stark desert landscape, with one visitor describing it as “completely inappropriate”.
The artist said he and his team took no chances in making sure their work would be noticed.
“We put some solar powered lights on it so that it powers up at night and it’s even more obvious,” he said.
A box at the bottom appears to contain a bag of fast food, but the artist said the bag simply holds a few toilet rolls to weigh it down.
He said he and his team had signed the box, but subsequent visitors to the area have made it harder for anyone hoping to use the signatures to track down their identities.
“I’ve seen on the photo yesterday, on the news, that there’s significantly more signatures on there,” he said.
He said he and his group are now considering producing another desert-based installation, perhaps installing a fake speed camera along the same remote track.
With the mystery of who installed the controversial sign seemingly solved, the only question remaining is why the anonymous team went to such enormous trouble to put it there.
“Why not?” said the artist.