Patchewollock is a rural village on the eastern edge of the Big Desert (Mallee) in north-west Victoria, about midway between Warracknabeal and Mildura. Until 1986 it was the terminus of the railway from Warracknabeal and Hopetoun. The boundary of the Wyperfeld National Park is about 10 km southwards, where the typical Mallee plant system of Eucalyptus and Porcupine grass are found. It is thought that the name Patchewollock is derived from an Aboriginal expression meaning plenty of porcupine grass.
Patchewollock’s landscape is sandy loam and extensive island sand dunes, partly accounted for by the area being crossed by a former bed of the Wimmera River. (The river’s outlets now empty into Lakes Hindmarsh and Coorong, south of the National Park). Patchewollock is in the former Pine Plains pastoral run, a marginal grazing area taken up in 1847.
Patchewollock was without a railway connection until 1925, when the line was extended from Hopetoun. The railway came a little after the completion of stock water channels from the Grampians supply in 1921 and the creation of several soldier-settlement farms. The school in the old township was closed and a new building was constructed near the railway station (1927). Local reservoirs were completed in the 1920s. Schools were also opened at Patchewollock East, North and South, but closed during the 1940s. Soldier-settlement had been over optimistic and holdings had to be amalgamated. The country’s marginal capacity was demonstrated during drought and wind erosion in 1944, with severe dust storms. Large silos constructed at the railway siding in the late 1930s received no grain in the drought year. In better years, though, the harvests have been profitable.
During good times Patchewollock has built a bush nursing centre (1927) and a memorial community centre (1980), which replaced the old hall. The closure of the railway line in 1986, however, was keenly felt.
Patchewollock has a community store, a hotel/motel, bush nursing and pre-school centres, three churches, a recreation reserve, tennis courts and a golf course. The group school closed in 2006.
Census populations have been:
|Patchewollock and environs||2006||322|
Throughout the late 1990s and most of the 2000s Patchewollock endured a long drought. It was finally broken in January 2011, when over 134 mm of rain fell during the month, the record highest January total.