Big Red the Mallee Bull

Overlooking the main street of Birchip, Big Red the Mallee Bull has offered a memorable welcome to visitors since 1991 – and has become a destination in its own right. The perfect place to stop for a selfie when you arrive in town!

26/28 Cumming Ave, Birchip VIC 3483


From the earliest days of settlement, the grazing of sheep and cattle under licence took place throughout the Mallee Region. In the harsh Mallee summers, fierce demand on local waterholes led to cattle straying from the main herd in search of water.

Legend has it that these wandering cattle were led by ‘Big Red’, the toughest of all the wild Mallee bulls. As King of the mob, "Big Red" was a magnificent creature, strong of physique, colourful and resourceful with cunning which enabled him to survive droughts, the elements, his hunters and his rivals.

Mr Stephen Laver, the lessee of Black 56A comprising of a large tract of land within the Shire of Birchip in the 1890's, often killed one of the wild cattle led by “Big Red” for meat which he shared with the Aborigines of the area.

"Big Red" put fear into the hearts of the natives and early settlers. His roaring and rampaging as he fought pretenders to his claim of chief of the herd could be heard for miles around. The Aborigines, in their "humpies" and "lean-to's", lived in dread of his visitations. They too had to share the same waterholes.

Stories of "Big Red" kept the children of the early settlers in their beds at night with such parental admonitions as "Big Red will get you!" Likewise, the road from school was more direct than it might otherwise have been.

As one of the earliest settled areas of the Mallee, Birchip can justifiably lay claim to "Home of the Mallee Bull" and “Big Red”. But take note: this legend, like all other legends, is part true, part fiction and may contain a lot of "bull". But it’s our story and we are sticking to it.

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