Small town, big sporting ideas

Jo FulwoodCountryman

It might be small, but Yerecoin locals are thinking big.

In fact, with less than 250 people in the town and surrounding areas, the tennis club proudly claims to have modern facilities and almost 60 members - which is not bad as a percentage of the population.

And it's not just the tennis club. Many of Yerecoin's facilities are not what you would normally expect in a small Wheatbelt town, thanks to a cropping program that has been part of the community for almost 40 years.

Local farmer Todd Duggan said a group of farmers had purchased the 40ha town block in the early 1970s, and donated it to the local Progress Association.

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"The town would be a different place if we didn't have that income to maintain facilities and infrastructure," he said.

Mr Duggan said volunteers involved with the Yerecoin Progress Association seeded, sprayed and harvested the crop, and money raised was passed back to community groups.

"Over the years fertiliser and chemical have been donated by local farm agents and also farmers who couldn't participate in the actual work," he said.

Mr Duggan said local groups would request funding from the Progress Association for projects and infrastructure upgrades.

"We've funded things like school facilities and the tennis courts have been completely re-vamped," he said.

"Also, we now have synthetic tees at the golf club as a result of the crop funds."

And the list of community upgrades goes on.

"We've funded the planting and irrigation of a lot of native shrubs and trees on the town verges and in the last few years we've put a new veranda extension on the hall," Mr Duggan said.

"We've also repainted the hall, put in a new kitchen and new floor coverings.

"Usually it's the president or vice-president of the Progress Association that does most of the work, and this year it's been the Manning family.

"Like anywhere, it's hard to get volunteers, particularly in such a small community."

Mr Duggan said the block had been planted to Hindmarsh barley for this season, however, in the past it had brought in more money as a hay crop.

"Some years when it's been put into hay, and when it's gone 4.5t/ha we have made up to $20,000 gross in a year," he said.

But Mr Duggan said with hay being such a labour-intensive crop, it had been easier to plant cereals in the past few years.

Mr Duggan said Yerecoin, like many communities in the Wheatbelt, had experienced a dry June, but rains in July and August had helped the crops to recover.

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