I am a Willow Blue Australia Accredited bat maker, having completed a masterclass with former test cricketer and master podshaver Ian Callen at his workshop in Tarrawarra, Victoria. Ian Callen, Australian test cricket player # 291 has over 35 years experience in making cricket bats.
Only Willow Blue Accredited Bat Makers have access to this timber.
When purchasing a Flame Cricket bat you can be assured you are buying a hand crafted quality bat, suited to you and your individual needs. Not a mass produced bat, made overseas then imported and bought off the shelf.
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 Crokett (test umpire). As a result of this a plantation was established at Shepherd's Flat near Dalesford Victoria. This plantation was producing bats until it was bought out by Slazenger in 1956 and cut down, putting an end to an Australian Industry.
Ian Callen took cuttings from some of the origional Crockett trees and began building the industry. It was not an easy task though... he had to find a suitable locations and convince environmentalists that he was not cultivating a weed.
In 1994 after nine years of frustrating setbacks on 25 acres of Watts River flood plain in Healesville the first " Salix Alba Caerulea", " Enghlish Willow" trees were planted. As they were English Willow or Blue Willow being grown down under...Ian gave them the name "Willow Blue".
Today the Callens are felling and processing timber for more than 50 bat makers throughout Australia and New Zealand, breeding life back into the Australian cricket bat industry.