Giant worm that saved Australian town from economic collapse hits the stage

Giant worm that saved Australian town from economic collapse hits the stage

Giant worm that saved Australian town from economic collapse hits the stage

Updated 7 August 2013, 14:29 AEST

The story of Korumbarra, a small town that turned to a local giant earthworm to save it from economic demise, has become the subject of a new play.

Korumbarra, Victoria, has a population of about 2,800. Locals say it is home to the world's largest worm, growing up to three metres long.
 
The idea to turn the worm into a tourist attraction emerged in the 1970s when the town faced economic collapse after the local coal mine closed.
 
Two entrepreneurs opened The Giant Worm Museum which featured a 100-meter-long worm-like structure advertised as "The Wonder From Down Under".
 
The worm's scientific name is megascolides australis and was celebrated in Korumbarra for 20 years with an annual parade called Karmai, the aboriginal word for earthworm.
 
Justin Smith, whose father created the worm puppet in the parade, says he has fond memories of accidentally eating one of the first puppet worm mock-ups as a young boy, just before it was to be presented to a group of people. 
 
But if you're thinking of visiting the town in search of the worms, you might like to think twice.
 
"(The worms are) so endangered now they're almost impossible to find," says Melita Rowston, who is performing a play that tells the story of the earthworm's legacy in Korumbarra. "But you can hear them".
 
The play Hey! Yeah! Molly'sTravelling Worm Show! is performed at Melbourne's Malthouse Theatre, 13-24 August 2013.
 
 
Presenter: Phil Kafcaloudes
 
Speaker: Melita Rowston, writer and performer, Hey! Yeah! Molly'sTravelling Worm Show! 
Justin Smith, youngest & longest running worm boy for the worm parade in Korumbarra, Victoria
 

Contributors

Phil Kafcaloudes

Phil Kafcaloudes

Presenter

Host of Radio Australia's daily morning talk program.  In his nearly 30 years in the media industry, Phil has been a radio presenter, TV reporter and the ABC's journalism trainer.  

Contact the studio

Got something to say about what you're hearing on the radio right now?

Text/SMS
Send your texts to +61 427 72 72 72

Tweets
Add the hashtag #raonair to add your tweets to the conversation.

Email
Email us your thoughts on an issue. Messages may be used on air.