The Big Mallee Bull in Birchip
The Big Mallee Bull was instated in 1991 in Birchip, a town in the Mallee region of Victoria. The massive sculpture of a red bull is one of the most storied Big Things of Australia. Here’s the story behind the statue’s existence.
The Legend of The Big Mallee Bull
In the early days of settlement, sheep and cattle grazed throughout the Mallee Region. However, legend has it that cattle often strayed from the main herds, setting up their own select herds in the process.
And, due to harsh weather, especially in the summer, the demand for waterholes led to a survival battle between animals and man. As a result, the cattle would stray into the locals’ lands searching for food and water, prompting Mr Stephen Laver, a local lessee, to hunt down the herd of stray cattle led by the ‘Big Red’ bull.
The ‘Big Red’ reportedly inflicted fear into the hearts of the locals. He often went on a rampage, announcing his presence from kilometres away, warning the locals of his dreaded arrival.
So feared that he was often the topic of bedtime stories back then to discourage kids from straying into the night. As a result, kids would arrive home early from school for fear of encountering the ‘Big Red’ late into the night.
The massive bull also had some conspicuous characteristics that made him the leader of the herd. He was reportedly strong, cunning, colourful and intelligent. These characteristics contributed to his endurance in the harsh environment, dodging hunters, surviving bad weather and terrorizing whoever crossed his path.
Ever wondered where the world-famous saying ‘Fit as a Mallee Bull’ came from? Well, if you didn’t know, now you do!
Whether the legend of the Big Mallee bull is fact or fiction is a debate for another day. However, one thing is certain; the Big Mallee Bull sculpture honours the legendary bull that once terrorized the Mallee region.
If you loved reading the legend of the Big Mallee Bull, the story of The Big Bulls of Rockhampton is yet another interesting one!