Into The Valley Of The Mallee

Herald Sun

During WWII, Australia, like many countries, forced citizens to ration supplies. While fuel was rationed, wood was not, so these Australians used all manner of buggy to tote mallee root home. Never heard of mallee root? Well, it’s the rootstock of a mallee tree, of the genus Eucalyptus, which we’ve all heard of, because we picture koalas snug in their branches. And you probably have zero where you live. But Down Under, it was used to burn, like charcoal. Not a pretty sight, but functional.

Four springs ago, a competition was held for biggest mallee root, and this entry from Tooleybuc (a glorious name) was just shy of winning. However, it was more photogenic than the winner, so please enjoy what appears to be a sports bra hanging from its upper root.

But mallee isn’t just for drying skivvies. No indeed. At the mallee root festival in Ouyen, guests witness root tossing competitions. Whoever throws a 9 kilo (nearly 20 lb) stump the furthest, wins. I suppose when they’re done, they can simply set fire to all the mallee and be done with it.

And if you were lucky enough to win the event’s root lotto, you could later enjoy the evening in the honeymoon suite at the Patchewollock Pub. Who knew pubs had suites? Well, this one even has murals.

Their Facebook site reads like another language:

The Dry and Flynn Gurry this Saturday night… Fairy floss and snacks available. Enter paddock next to the pub via Federation Street near the truck stage.”

Pardon me?

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