The design team behind the iconic Big Oyster in Taree is reportedly claiming royalties from the designers of the Mill Park Library, arguing that the similarities between the two buildings are too strong to ignore. Built in 1990 to celebrate the thriving oyster industry in the town on New South Wales’ mid-north coast, the Big Oyster now sits abandoned above a local car dealership, a shadow of its former life as an award-winning restaurant and reasonably-priced gift shop.

However, that current use belies the Big Oyster’s strong influence on modern Australian architecture, with design industry insiders claiming the rooftop mollusc is celebrated across the country for its realistic appearance and bold use of natural light. One such insider contacted The Watsonia Bugle this week to hint at potential legal proceedings about the design of the now 18-year-old building that plays home to the Mill Park Library.

The insider said, “The Big Oyster is a bit of a sacred cow in Australian architecture circles, so I’m not sure how the design of the Mill Park Library ever got approved in the first place, but here we are. I’m not sure how successful any legal case would be, but times are tough so I think everyone is looking for ways to access secondary revenue sources.”