Cricket tragic Les Everett’s quest to uncover Australia’s lost cricket pitches

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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Cricket tragic Les Everett at an abandoned cricket pitch in Kronkup.
Camera IconCricket tragic Les Everett at an abandoned cricket pitch in Kronkup. Credit: Cameron Newbold

Cricket tragic and historian Les Everett is on a mission to uncover abandoned pitches from yesteryear right around WA.

Mr Everett was in the Great Southern last week to find old cricket pitches, continuing a journey he began in October 2019.

His goal is to publish a book with photos and history of lost pitches that were in days gone by the lifeblood of the sport in small communities.

Hailing from Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Mr Everett began taking photos of old football scoreboards before starting an Instagram page where he is documenting his travels around WA.

A former left-arm opening bowler for West Perth, he said there had been great interest from across people around Australia.

An abandoned cricket pitch in Kronkup.
Camera IconAn abandoned cricket pitch in Kronkup. Credit: Cameron Newbold

“I just went to a couple of places, Shackleton and Ardath, in particular, that I’d actually played at when I was playing for Corrigin,” he said.

“Corrigin has got a turf wicket but we also used to play on these malthoid pitches on gravel grounds at some of the places.

“It just struck me then that this is interesting and it was that quick I came up with the idea of abandoned cricket pitches. I decided I’d do something on Instagram. The first photo I put up was the cricket pitch at Shackleton and away I went. It very quickly became a bit of an obsession.”

The old home ground of the Porongurup Cricket Club at Bolganup Homestead.
Camera IconThe old home ground of the Porongurup Cricket Club at Bolganup Homestead. Credit: Les Everett

Now living in Perth, Mr Everett made the trip south last week to uncover more old wickets.

That included visiting an old pitch in Kronkup, which is now overgrown with grass and resides in the middle of a cow paddock.

He also went to a spot in Gairdner, the Porongurup Cricket Club ground at Bolganup Homestead, a pitch in Woogenellup and visited Forrest Hill among other places.

An old pitch in Toolbrunup.
Camera IconAn old pitch in Toolbrunup. Credit: Les Everett

“I started finding ones like this that are in paddocks,” Mr Everett said.

“There is places that are on an oval that no one plays on anymore and the ones that are in really thick bush where nature has taken over.

“The thing that has struck me over time is the social aspect of it.

“In a place like this in Kronkup, they had to make their own thing.

An old wicket at Mott Oval in Dumbleyung.
Camera IconAn old wicket at Mott Oval in Dumbleyung. Credit: Les Everett

“They were very quick to do things like build a hall, build tennis courts and have an oval that had a cricket pitch on it to get that social aspect of things going.”

Mr Everett plans to have a book published next year and will finish his photography and documentation of old pitches in October this year.

“What’s been pleasing is that a lot of people are interested,” he said. “I get people sending me photos from all over Australia.

A pitch near the old school in Nyabing.
Camera IconA pitch near the old school in Nyabing. Credit: Les Everett

“A lady in Broomehill rang me to say she had a pitch that I can visit. People offer to take me out to places and show me places there is no way you would find without a bit of a local knowledge.”

Mr Everett is documenting his project on his Instagram account: @abandonedcricketpitches.

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