Newdegate, Western Australia

Final score

Photos and text by Les Everett

At first glance the scoreboard at Newdegate looked a common summer sight. There were a lot of digits. It could have been a fantasy score or randomly arranged numbers. But on closer inspection this score was something more solemn.

Date of birth. Date of death.

Pastor Harold Lee got the idea after attending the funeral of a friend at another Wheatbelt town, Jerramungup. “It took a while for it to sink in. Then I thought, that’s a damn bloody good idea.”

The scoreboard tribute was, Harold said, powerful because of its visual nature. It showed the scope of a life without being over the top.

The pictured commemoration is for much-loved local identity Gordan Alan Dunkeld.

“Alan loved football and was a keen watcher, especially when his brothers used to play,” Harold said, “but his real passion was rifle shooting.”

Alan Dunkeld was chosen in the WA team for the Commonwealth Series held in Hobart in 1954 when he was 19.

“Alan was a natural sportsman and enjoyed his sports for what they were,” Harold said, “but he never told anyone of his achievements.”

Footy note: Newdegate was the home of Noel Morton, father of three former AFL players Mitch (Richmond and Sydney), Jarryd (Hawthorn) and Cale (Melbourne and West Coast). Noel was a part of Claremont’s famous 1981 premiership team alongside Graham Moss, Jim Krakouer, Phil Krakouer, Wayne Blackwell and Steve Malaxos. One of the WA football’s great mysteries is how Claremont became aligned with the Eagles as a father and son club just as it emerged that Noel Morton had a promising brood.

Les Everett

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