The Mallee, if you weren’t sure, is north-western Victoria and together with the Wimmera captures some great dusty wheat-and-sheep lands that were also the backdrop for the dressmaker.
It’s not somewhere people mention together with the concept of a tourist destination which on some levels is a shame. Being a tourist in my home was brilliant fun so figured I’d better line up some highlights.
I’ve already posted pix of the Big Koala (hardly a tourist attraction) and the J-Ward in Ararat. Today we’ll whip through the very excellent Dimboola Victoria Hotel – run my my amazing high-school friend Meran Pilmore. The next blogs will encompass the Grampians, and the Yarriambiack Shire silo tour.
With all the water around in the Wimmera, Dimboola is actually looking pretty good and unlike Horsham, many of the stores still wear their original facade. So it’s actually unexpectedly pretty.
Meran grew up a few streets behind my family home and as both parents of teachers, we were pretty much compulsory friends. She was also a brilliant adventurer and creator, always imagining fantastic stories and building cubby houses, climbing trees and fixing things.
Now she and husband Stoph run the Victoria Hotel in Dimboola which has turned from a run-down oderous establishment to something really quite exceptional. Megan’s knack for collecting and creating has turned the pub into a movie set and it’s often booked out for accommodation. The food is on fleek and the decor is just incredible.
Her love of story-telling is evident in the Bib Reid Room, a private dining room dedicated to a woman who was a draftsman during WWII and contributed to the war effort by illustrating manuals for weapons. She also sketched her beloved Dimboola.
For the sharp-eyed, you may spot what I call the ‘horses of Natimuk road’ in the pic below. Meran rescued the images, the same ones which hung in the homes of both my great-grandparents, and they are now in the pub dining room.
A huge verandah to drink a morning coffee on and watch the town wake up and crazy but awesome bits of… Stuff… Throughout the hotel that just capture the imagination.
Unlike Dimboola, Pimpinio is experiencing no resurgence and it has little more than a caravan retailer from what I could see.
And the Wimmera plains were the flattest place I drove in more than 8000km across the country.
There truly is no place like home.