Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I Know Where You Live #8

On March 6, 1931, the residents of Ouyen, a small dust- and sod-farming community in far north-west Victoria, barricaded their main street and took up arms as rumours circulated that communists had taken over Sydney and were preparing to march on Melbourne. Why communists, or anybody else, would march on Melbourne via the middle of fucking nowhere is not apparent, and history is silent on what the Ouyen Falangists did when the expected revolutionary army failed to arrive. Probably they retired to the Victoria Hotel to discuss how bloody hot it had been lately, for it is always hot in Ouyen, hot enough to dry the balls off any brass monkeys present, as well as disincline the townsfolk to utter anything more sophisticated than grunts and howls.

The country surrounding Ouyen is amongst the most rugged in Australia. Ironically, given the events of March 1931, the earth upon which Ouyen is built is as red as Trotsky's undies, and as filled with ants as Lenin's brassiere. Although some areas are suitable for farming (crops include wheat, barley and plax, a genetically-modified hybrid of flax and plastic used in the production of harpsichord plectra), the majority of the land around Ouyen is comprised of dense scrub and salt flats. During the silver boom of the late 19th century, Ouyen supplied sixty percent of Broken Hill's salt, while Ouyen prostitutes, outsourced to the diggings, supplied almost eighty percent of Broken Hill's syphilis. Meanwhile, the mallee fowl, a kind of blood-sucking chicken, is said to roam the countryside of a nighttime, pecking ineffectually at the necks of virgins.

Ouyen itself is home to around one thousand people, several of whom are not knowingly married to an immediate family member. The majority of residents make their living from farming and/or seasonal circus work, although recent years have seen a rise in the area's number of retirees, a demographic change reflected in the increasing number of lawn bowls-related deaths. Bore water is supplied to the town, while tanks are required for drinking and gin-and-tonic waters. Civilisation is not entirely absent, however: Ouyen's hospital is capable of handling emergency cases provided you book at least a week in advance, and banking facilities are available on a need-to-foreclose basis.

Nearby attractions include the Hattah Lakes, which live up to their palindromic name by being boring no matter which direction they are viewed from, and Walpeup Lake, a popular spot for leaving hurriedly. Further north is the regional city of Mildura, which has been described as "the Ringwood of the north", and which offers access to a variety of thoroughly disappointing Murray River activities as well as a shopping mall experience that is second only to the second-worst shopping mall experience in the entire world. Note that Mildura is a popular weekend getaway for Ouyen socialites, so it might be best to visit during the week, and even then the carrying of knuckle-dusters is advised.

Ouyen: 3 dud Mallee roots out of 5.


MrLefty said...

You forgot about their wacky rain dance caper of a few years ago, when all the Ouyen women got naked and tried to terrify God into dropping cold water on them.

Tim said...

I also forgot to mention that Ouyen is the home of Australia's best vanilla slice (as voted by the Academy of Vanilla Slice & Sciences). Jeff Kennett used to visit every so often to slug down a few slices for the cameras before heading back to Melbourne to order the closure of another ward of Ouyen hospital.

TimT said...

plax, a genetically-modified hybrid of flax and plastic used in the production of harpsichord plectra

J. S. Bach would be surprised to find out that went into the making of plectra ...

Lucy Tartan said...

J.Ken went up last year for the vanilla slice thing. I had to sit next to him on the plane. He gave me shit about the book I was reading. What an almighty fucktard.