I was born in Pingrup in 1963 and I’ve never moved. I’ve been away on three lots of long service, I call it, and that’s the only time I’ve left town, really. I’m a farmer, wheat-cropping nowadays, and I daresay I’ll get back into sheep one day again shortly. My son wants to come home to the farm, and he likes sheep. Also, I’m Pingrup’s Shire President. I’ve always been a community person and been involved in all the sporting clubs in Pingrup. Nowadays we don’t have any sporting clubs because they’ve all gone by the wayside, so my way of giving a bit back to the town is to go on the council and be involved in that side of things. It’s motivating. Gets you going, keeps you moving. Pingrup itself is only a couple of hundred people; the numbers have dropped away a little bit here in the last twenty years. Farms are getting bigger and bigger. Fifty years ago, all the farms were all three thousand acres and everyone employed full-time staff. Now everyone owns three or four more farms than what they did forty years ago. Everyone’s bought their neighbours’ farms so less people are left in the community. That’s just the sad way it is; the numbers at the school are less because of it, and the numbers in the community are less. But the ones that are here are all good people, so you’ve got to look after them. I’ve got four kids who live all over the countryside. I miss them badly, but they’re happy. My middle son’s in America on exchange. The oldest son hopefully is coming back to the farm next year and the youngest is coming back to the farm for six months over harvest. My daughter’s in Perth doing physio and she plays Aussie rules football. She actually going to Melbourne to play football in November (2018) with the Western Bulldogs. Sport has always been a huge part of our lives. I always played football, cricket, any sport. My kids have all been the same, and my parents too. My daughter played two years of football with the Fremantle Dockers so I spent ten years travelling to Perth almost every weekend to watch the kids play sport. That was what you’d do, it was the buzz of it all. I’ve got a dozen racehorses; we’ve got a couple of broodmares, and a couple of foals every year, and then a couple of old racehorses which are retired now and just live on the farm. The racehorses go to Albany, Mount Barker, Esperance, Bunbury, and Perth if I’ve got a good enough horse that year. We travel all over the State. In the summertime, the races are all south. It’s a hobby, an expensive one, but when it’s what you love, it’s what you love. I like horses, and it’s just a big buzz when you have one that runs a good race. When you’ve bred the foal and you’ve reared the horse since the day it was born, right up to getting it broken in and winning races, and everyone’s excited and jumping up and down, and you drive home that night you’re on cloud nine, basically. The Pingrup Race has been around for eighty-odd years, 1932 I think we started. It’s always been a day that’s pretty high up on our calendar here. All the community clubs get a good chance at making some money, and there are lots of visitors coming to town for the day, spectators, and jockeys and trainers bringing their horses. It’s a great day for the town, not only socially, but it also encourages a lot of ex-Pingrup residents to come back for the day. It’s a day we’ve got to continue on happening, because we don’t have many big-day events these days, with no football team, no hockey and no cricket team. Numbers have just dwindled away and we can’t make up a local team. We amalgamate with Lake Grace, which is nice, and then go up there for our winter sport, but you don’t have the same sort
of commitment and community feel. We have to learn to be more resourceful and live a bit further out of the square, I suppose. But it was nice when there were more people around. We have to perhaps find another little industry. Tourism is a great venture, and the painting of the Pingrup silos will bring a few more people through. We need to work on stopping those people though, and getting them to spend some dollars in our town. If we can do that and get a bit of a consistency there, then the pub will do better, the roadhouse, the café will do better, and everyone will improve a little bit and we might end up with more people living here. I love the small community, I enjoy the camaraderie and there are a lot of good people with good hearts in this town. I’ve got my open space, and my paddocks, and my farm, and my horses. I don’t have a car beeping its horn over my shoulder all day. We get very busy in seeding, spraying time and harvest time. The rest of the year it’s not too bad. You’re generally watching the crops and getting the machinery ready for harvest. Late August, September and October in Pingrup is the best time of the year, because you’ve got the mosaic of colours of all the fields and paddocks. Canola and lupins are out in flower and the salt lakes have all got a little bit of water in them. All the farmers are excited and a bit apprehensive―about what the season’s going to bring. There’s always that little bit of thrill in the air, because you can see there’s a bit of crop out there, and you can see things are going along quite okay and you’re getting closer to payday when you might get some money back in from your crops.