22 March 2006 - Port Elliot to Ouyen
After a week at Port Elliot we left today bound for Ouyen in the middle of the
Victorian Mallee. Our route led through Goolwa north to join the South East
Freeway which took us past Murray Bridge and Tailem Bend. After Tailem Bend we
turned down the Mallee Highway (Route B12). Almost as soon as we were on that
Highway we entered the grain country for which this region of South Australia
and Victoria is famous. Despite marginal soil and low rainfall, substantial
quantities of grain are grown. The road is generally straight and pretty flat,
marked by regular settlements built around a silo where grain grown in the area
is stored before being taken away on the train.
The silo at each settlement can be seen in the distance marking that place on the map; in smaller places the silo may be one
of a handful of buildings forming the settlement. We didn't see houses or buildings outside the towns or villages. There are
a couple of larger settlements but they are not big (Lameroo - 560 population; Pinaroo - 650 population). We stopped in
Lameroo for lunch in the A'liner; it was a neat, clean and prosperous looking township with basic services and two large
grain silos but very isolated.
After we crossed into Victoria (passing from the Murray Mallee to the Mallee) the wheat land continued but with breaks for
natural reserves. As the road approached Ouyen the amount of land devoted to grain increased and the wheat fields extended
to the horizon on both sides of the road. Ouyen was established as a stop on the Mildura to Melbourne train line in about
1906 and has grown into a major support and transport centre for the Victorian Mallee.
||Grain storage at Tailem Bend on the Murray stores much of the grain produced around the Lower Murray and east of Tailem Bend into the Mallee.
||Grain storage at Lameroo in the Mallee
||Expanse of grain paddock beside the Mallee Highway between silos at Tutye and Boinka.