Bill’s literary tour of the Mallee

I love road-tripping around different parts of Australia, and for some time now have had a hankering to explore the Mallee-Wimmera region of western Victoria. This hankering has been enthusiastically supported by Bill (The Australian Legend) for whom this part of Australia was his youthful stomping ground. We have discussed the region and what might be included in a Mallee literary tour several times over the years – with Lisa joining in on occasion too.

Jenny Ackland, Little gods

We would all, I think, like to compile a list of books set in the region. I’ve reviewed a few on this blog – at least I think they are set in the Mallee, as the region’s borders are a bit confusing to me – such as Jenny Ackland’s Little gods, Charlie Archbold’s Mallee boys, and Sue Williams’ crime novel Live and let fry. Lisa recently posted a review of a new Mallee-set book, Anne Brinsden’s Wearing paper dresses, and last year, another, Bill Green’s Small town rising.

But, topping it all, is that this week, Bill has finally put fingers to keyboard and written a post on touring the Mallee which he has generously said I can post here too … He starts:

Sue/Whispering Gums a year or so BC set me the task of devising a literary tour of the Mallee – the northwest corner of Victoria, a triangle bounded by the Murray River to the north and northeast, the South Australia border to the west and let’s say to the south the 36th parallel, so a line from a bit north of Route A8 to the Murray north of Echuca. To read the rest of the tour, please check out his post. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if you hitched a ride and took the tour too!

Thanks so much Bill … there’s a possibility we might even do a bit of this trip this month. It all depends … no glamping in Little Desert is a bit of a worry!

37 thoughts on “Bill’s literary tour of the Mallee

  1. I’ll be doing my own ‘tour’ tonight, from Melbourne to Murrayville and on into South Australia. I’ve crossed the desert from Murrayville to Nhill a couple of times, when I was 10 and again when I was 25. I think the parks people are trying to keep it unchanged.

    • I think it’s a good thing that they are trying to keep it unchanged but there’s a real tension there – just like archives, museums, state/national libraries have – between preserving for the long haul but making it available also because who are you preserving it for besides those who want to use it!

      Anyhow, how your tour tonight went well!

      • Nonsense, you’d be a beaut tour guide, you’ve already got the Akubra and a slogan (The Australian Legend). You only have to read a couple of extra books to be able to talk about them, and you could talk about the landscape and the environment and why it’s special etc. I’ve been on a couple of bus tours in WA when I wanted to see Wave Rock and the Pinnacles and it was too far for me to drive there and back in one day by myself, and the bus drivers who were just ordinary blokes did the a sort of generalised spiel about this and that on and off and people were perfectly happy with that. (They probably had cue cards to refer to under the dash.)
        I’ve had a look at Academy Travel tours with proper experts with PhDs and whatnot, and they cost a fortune. An out-of-the-question fortune, as far as I’m concerned, because I’m not spending heaps of travel money here in Australia while there’s still a chance that overseas travel might open up again before I’m too old to enjoy it. I’m talking about a reasonably priced tour in a mini-bus with morning tea and lunch somewhere nice. (The WA bus tours stopped at footy clubs and the CWA fed us).
        You get it sorted, I’ll take the train up as far as Swan Hill and join you there.

  2. Reading based on region, no mater where in the world, is a good way to go I think. It allows one to clarify books in a different way from typical. One d
    Could also look at differences and similarities.

  3. Hi Bill, I have a poetry book by Charles Henry Souter, titled The Mallee Fire and other Verses (1923), you may like to add to your list. Your tour sounds very inviting!

  4. And of course, you would have to add All The Rivers Run by Nancy Cato. Also, Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living by Carrie Tiffany, may sneak in.

  5. A road trip in Australia sounds like a trip to dreamland, for me. So, if it sounds so remote and even impossible, reading your accounts will definitely pull the distance closer. Are you actually going on a road trip and blogging about it? Or is this a ‘virtual’ one through books? Why, during Covid, we’re not even allowed to be dining with someone, or be in a car, who is not from the same household. 😦

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