At Cricket Willow in Shepherds Flat, Victoria, willow is harvested, cut, shaped and formed into a weapon of mass destruction for the field.

Australia is synonymous with cricket. Little wonder then that nowhere else in the world can you see the entire process of making a bat in one place. At Cricket Willow in Shepherds Flat, Victoria, the willow is harvested, cut, shaped and formed into a weapon of mass destruction for the field.

Cricket Willow should be recognised as the heart and soul of Australian cricket. It all began in 1902 when Test umpire Robert Crockett planted a single cutting, sent from England. The Crockett brand of bats then went on to be used by such greats as Warwick Armstrong and Lindsay Hassett. Thankfully, current owners the Tinetti family saved a small number of willow plants in the 1960s when Dunlop Sports bought the brand and felled the willow trees.

Today, 27 of the top 40 batsmen around the world use the bats made in the sleepy hollow of Shepherds Flat. Visitors and cricket tragics alike are able to witness the entire process from planting to harvesting to shaping and processing – and even have their own bat made. And then there’s the full size field available for any large groups of tragics to put their new bats straight to work.

Where // Cricket Willow is in Shepherds Flat, Vic, just north of Daylesford. (03) 5476 4277, www.cricketwillow.com.au

Did you know? // The official name of a cricket bat maker (other than God) is a pod shaper. No-one can tell AT why (so if you know, please email editor@australiantraveller.com). And did you also know that all cricket bats – including this 1928 Bradman-endorsed beauty (above) owned by a private collector in Sydney – are made from female English willow trees, which seem to be best at knocking balls around. 

 

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