WHERE IS IT?
Derrent is located south of Goodhope and 60kms west of Buckaroo. It's about ninety kms from Jethro Tull and two hundred and seventy kms from Red Bottom Flats (no, the other Red Bottom Flats).
Derrent was founded by accident. In 1844 a party of Europeans were heading north to Queensland to enjoy "Schooners Week" on the Gold Coast where they would enjoy watching 19th century schooners while drinking heavily.
Unfortunately their wagons crashed into a cartload of escaped drunken convicts, possibly the State’s first road accident. The wounded and dimwitted convicts were left there to die. Instead some survived and being too dopey to find their way back, they just stayed there and became a town.
Thus the town motto:
"Out of stupidity comes hope and grain."
FUN FACTS ABOUT DERRENT
Derrent is the number one town in Australia for deaths at a pedestrian crossing. In 2015, when it looked like the town would lose its spot to Terrence in South Australia, the mayor controversially made all pedestrian crossings to be black stripes. Despite the anger from some council members, pedestrian crossing deaths are back at number one.
Derrent is mentioned in a Slim Dusty song: “In most towns folks are full of good will/ They never try to kill/ But some places are aberrant/ Just like the town of Derrent” (“Places I’ll Never Bloody Go To”- Slim Dusty).
Derrent has been declared a ghost town on several occasions! It’s something the Mayor lists as a major achievement – taking Derrent off the Ghost Town list and proving it has a population.
Derrent has one library which has only been burned down nine times this year.
INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT DERRENT
The Clap Tree
A famous tree said to give the clap to anyone who sits under it. (Though this may have something to do with the antics of Mick, a local young larrikin who cheekily has been known to hide behind the tree; chloroform young women then unknowingly have sex with them).
Despite police warnings, it is still listed as one of Derrent's Hidden Tourist Wonders.
The Grain Re-Enactment
The town’s big moment of history was the passing of the local grain counting laws of 1948. This meant that grain was counted by each single grain rather than in “handfuls”. The climactic scene when Councillor Bill Stevenson and Boss McGinty thrashed out the specifics of grain counting is recreated to a slightly smaller audience each year.
Right: local actor Jason Blighty plays "Boss McGinty" in the locally produced BW film - The Counting Fields Of Derrent".
This fast paced, heavily drink fuelled event sees folks come from all over the State to take part. It's only second to August Snail Racing in terms of extreme violence.
It often ends in rioting. But its worth seeing to watch the Grain Towers of Truth being destroyed after seven "clickety clacks".
JUST DON'T MENTION THE DRUGS!
"Yes, we're quite normal here" said Mayor Phil Townsend irritably. He disagrees with the suggestion that Derrent is so bland and boring that no reputable drug dealer will come near it.
"We could have drugs, loads of cool drugs believe you me, we just choose not to" the Mayor said sniffily. He then ended the press conference. We followed him home for follow up questions but he had a roll up garage door.
The Derrent Grain Murder Mystery
Each passing year the mystery deepens. What happened to Florence McIntosh, the town prostitute and insatiable grain lover in that hot summer night of 1873? Why was the crime scene in fourteen equally boring locations? If she died as quickly as historians claim, how come her last action was to write a thoughtful, yet blood splattered thesis on the new ways of counting grain ? Finally, why has it taken so long since her death for the police to investigate it? And very finally, why are there still no police in Derrent? There's not actually any tours about the mystery - but the local bookshop sells an unrelated Adam Sandler DVD.
Above: The last recorded image of Florence McIntosh before her death in 1873. Note that the wheat she is holding has not yet been officially counted.