Hattah–Kulkyne National Park, between Ouyen and Mildura, is at the geographic and cultural centre of this interesting region.

Story + Photos Cormac Hanrahan

The word ‘mallee’ is laden with cultural meaning.
Conjuring notions of back-breaking toil, rainless skies and ruinous dust storms, it is for many a place where families, who were encouraged to settle by government schemes and dreams, left defeated and broken. Those that remainedwere regarded as tough as the roots of the multi-stemmed eucalypts they grubbed out of the ground. 

Wherever these hardy trees grew was deemed mallee country. By the 1950s, however, with most of that country turned over to cropping, the geographical limits of mallee country became hard to define, and it remains so today. 

The Division of Mallee is a federal electorate (which also includes the Wimmera) that takes its name from the Mallee region in north-western Victoria. Over the border in SA lies the Murray Mallee, while the area north of the Murray River in NSW is referred to simply as mallee country.

This story excerpt is from Issue #137

Outback Magazine: June/July 2021