Burekup roadside sign a celebration of the tight-knit farming towns’ community spirit
On the side of a busy highway in the State’s South West, stands a sign steeped in community spirit.
What was established more than three decades ago as an entrance statement to the small farming town of Burekup, has become an iconic roadside fixture and a public celebration of the tight-knit community.
Originally a timber town, built along the Bunbury to Perth railway line, it is now home to an array of beef and dairy farmers, as well as fruit and vegetable growers and equine enthusiasts.
From birthdays, anniversaries and memorials to baby announcements, weddings and even proposals, the metal letters on the sign are rearranged every couple of days to commemorate important dates in the community.
Many people have dedicated their time to posting the messages since its inception in the 1980s, when a group of local “Burekupians” including the late John Hutchinson built it from scratch.
For the past 11 years, retired bus driver Albert Fullarton has been enthusiastically taking bookings and rearranging the square steel letters.
It all started when his wife Moira wanted to put his 70th birthday up and the man doing it at the time wanted to pass the baton.
It is one of many community services Mr Fullarton is part of, with the 81-year-old also the Commander at Bunbury Sea Rescue, a member of the Burekup Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade and Brunswick Lions and helps out at the local country club.
“I didn’t fancy playing golf and bowls is an old man’s game,” he laughed. “It keeps me active.”
“Moira has a book down at the shop ... but the locals all seem to know me from the country club ... and ring or go into the shop and get our phone number.”
It takes him about 20 minutes to rearrange the letters, during which he often gets a toot from cars driving along the South Western Highway or a wave from the train driver as they pass by.
It has been a rewarding experience for the pair, who have helped make happy memories for many.
“We’ve seen brides at the sign getting photographs taken,” Mrs Fullarton said.
Mr Fullarton also helped make the sign stand taller, with he and fellow local and sign-arranger Tony Green lifting the frame.
Noah Atthowe, 5, had his birthday celebrated on the big sign.
His mother Kate said each year, she organised for all of her boys’ birthdays to be put on the sign.
They love it and think it’s awesome. It gets people in town involved throughout the year and the kids get excited about it and come down and take pictures.
Shire president Mick Bennett said it fostered the community spirit of small country towns.
“Council have supported it from day one,” he said. “It’s just fantastic for that community and everybody celebrates with them when they have birthdays or babies or weddings.”
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