The Willow Blue Story
Started in 1985 when Ian Callen found out that English Willow was sent to Australia in 1902. The English Captain, Archie MacLaren while honeymooning in Healesville was struck by the similarities to the English climate. He sent English Willow cuttings to Bob Crockett ( Test Umpire ). As a result of this a plantation was established at Shepherd’s Flat near Dalesford VIC. This plantation producing bats until it was bought out by Slazenger in 1956 and cut down putting an end to an Australian industry.
Ian took cuttings from some of the original Crockett trees and began building the industry. It wasn't an easy task though... he had to find
suitable locations and convince environmentalists that he was not cultivating a weed.
In 1994 after 9 years of frustrating setbacks on 25 acres of Watts River flood plain in Healesville our first "salix alba caerulea" English willow trees were planted.
As they were English Willow or Blue Willow being grown down under... we gave them the name "Willow Blue".
Today we are felling and processing timber for more than 50 Bat Makers throughout Australia & New Zealand.
It all started with this Man
A.C. MacLaren (Lancashire)
35 Test 61 innings 4 not outs 1931 runs 140 H.S. 5 100’S 33.87 Average
Century on Debt v Sussex at Hove
First Player to score 400 in an innings 424 (Somerset 1895)
Captained England 22 times
The Yarra Valley Connection:
Married Maude and honeymooned at Healesville
Great friends with Dame Nellie Melba.