www.callencricket.com.au        www.willowblue.com.au  

Growing Crickt Bats in Australia


About Us

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.

AN INDUSTRY REVIVED

 

OUR STORY

Began in 1976 when Ian Callen discovered that English Willow had been sent to Australia in 1902 by the English Test Captain, Archie MacLaren. 


MacLaren whilst honeymooning in Healesville was struck by the similarities of the Yarra Valley climate and river flats topography favourable to growing cricket bat willlow.. 


It prompted MacLaren to send cuttings to Bob Crockett (Test Umpire) and as a result a plantation was established on "Jim Crow Creek" at Shepherd’s Flat near Daylesford, Victoria. 


Crockets plantation produced bats for Australian Test players until the business was sold to Dunlop Slazenger and the Plantation cut down.


This put an end to an Australian industry until Ian found some of the MacLaren's original progeny, 


 He immediately established a nursery and began rebuilding the industry.  It was not an easy task... a part from finding suitable locations he was hampered by environmentalists who needed to be convinced that the English Willow wouldn't naturalize or cross pollinate.


Eventually in 1994 (9 years later) on 25 acres of Watts River Flats at Healesville, 

"Salix Alba Caerulea" trees (English willow) were planted for the purpose of re establishing the Cricket Bat Willow Industry in Australia. 


English Willow, Cricket Bat Willow or  Blue Willow as it is called in the UK is the only willow species used for quality Cricket Bats and because we come from the land "Down Under" we have named our Cricket Bat Willow..."WillowBlue"! 


OUR TIMBER IS NOT AUSTRALIAN WILLOW


IT'S "WILLOWBLUE" ENGLISH WILLOW.

AUSTRALIAN WILLOW CAN BE FOUND GROWING ON THE MURRAY VALLEY HWY PAST SWAN HILL HEADING TO MILDURA.


Today we are felling and processing timber for Bat Makers Ian has personally trained in Australia, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh. It is the first time English Willow has been exported to International markets other than the UK.