Ouyen’s claim to be the home of Australia’s biggest mallee root has come under question after a local Tooleybuc farmer, Ian Lockhardt, has boasted an even bigger mallee root.
While both towns are adamant theirs is bigger, the score will be settled once and for all when Guiness World Record officials attend the inaugural Mallee Root Festival in Ouyen on March 25th.
Flowman checks out the competition with Donald McGregor from Landmark Ouyen
The festival, which aims to replace the once annual Great Australian Vanilla Slice Triumph competition, will host a variety of activities according to event organiser Josh Plozza.
“There will be music in the streets, stump tossing, wood sculpting, market stalls, food, drink, exhibits and exhibitions, old time movies and the introduction of Mr and Miss Mallee Root,” he said.
The Mallee Root Festival is a nod to years gone by, honouring the once vital task of clearing the scrub.
Roots were kept and burnt to keep families warm and fuel the stoves that kept early Mallee farming pioneers well fed and watered.
A century later, Ouyen’s “biggest mallee root in Australia” sits proudly on its bed of bricks at the entrance to Blackburn Park.
Ouyen’s biggest mallee root in all of Australia
Tooleybuc’s mallee root is also currently on display in Ouyen, ready for the officials in a little over a month.
Which is bigger? You decide!
However Ouyen locals aren’t scared of a little challenge, with Mallee Root Festival committee member Nathan Grayling questioning “Is that all there is?”.
If Mr Lockhardt is successful in his claim to the title, he hopes to build a display centred on it in his home town.
Image Source – Mike Robertson & Flowman