Patchewollock in Victoria’s Mallee region is a town that has seen better times. The houses are rundown, the church and school have closed. The Art Deco era pub has to be the saddest that I’ve seen. The grain silos however are brightly painted in the hope that tourists will come.
Our home for the night is the Patche Sunset Resort, down a dusty red dirt road at the back of town in the grounds of the old school. There are $15 power and water grassy sites complete with plenty of rabbit poo fertiliser. The amenities are the old school toilets & showers (why is it that they always smell the same). We’re first in for the night so we get dibs on the grassiest sites. An old rabbito’s truck advertises ‘Rabbits and Hares’. The welcome sign tells us that we must pay at the pub after 4:00pm. It is searingly hot, so we wait in our vans in the cool of the aircon.
It’s about a half kilometre to the pub using the shortcut across a rabbit infested vacant block and we make it safely without going down a rabbit hole or breaking a leg (I wouldn’t want to make that trip in the dark).
Bryce is the publican. There’s old ‘Harry’ who’s a little deaf. He’s perched on a stool and looking for the glasses that he left at home (down near the rabbit paddock). And ‘John’ the cockie with a hat that looks like it has been through a combine harvester, more than once. Four more caravanners rock in and the local tourism lady and her son (“he’s the driver”). The place is jumping. They reckon that they get thousands here for the annual music festival in October. I try to get a decent photo of the pub but it’s impossible to make it look any better so I take a few pics of the corrugated iron Mallee Fowl statues across the road instead.
After our foray to the pub we eat dinner in the school shelter shed. A real treat for our ex school principal mate El Prado. The flies and mozzies are bad and the heat even worse.
All I can say is please visit Patchewollock. The Patche Sunset Resort is a good freedom camp with power and water. The locals are a great bunch and they need a bit of a leg up to get the old place humming again. The Mallee sunsets are pretty good too.