Nukarni, Western Australia

Additional photos 2020…

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NukarnimaninThere’s not much at Nukarni these days. The footy club still exists but is based in nearby Merredin.

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The Demons played on the gravel until 1980 and in the 1950s and 1960s Nukarni was one of the most successful country clubs in WA. Nukarni won five Merredin Football League premierships in a row from 1951 to 1955. In 1960 Nukarni became one of the foundation clubs in the Eastern Districts Football League and made a habit of playing in grand finals with premierships in 1961,1962, 1963, 1966 and 1968.

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Thanks to Holly Crook for this photo from the late 1970s that shows players from Nukarni and Burracoppin after playing on the gravel. That’s Holly in the foreground leading her dad Max off the ground.

John Crook was probably Nukarni’s greatest footy product. He played 42 games for South Fremantle and five for WA in 1950-51. Crook was a premiership player for the Bulldogs in 1950 and a star in the grand final. One weekend in May 1950 Crook played for South Fremantle on the Saturday and on Sunday made 239 for Nukarni in the grand final of the Merredin Cricket Association. Sick of the constant travel he decided to stay home in 1952. His brothers Paddy and Joe were also very good players for the Demons.

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The old footy ground is overgrown and fenced off but the scoreboard stands proud – a powerful structure if ever there was one.

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10 comments

  1. Thanks Les. I played a couple of games on this ground 1977-78 for the Corrigin Tigers. We were soundly beaten in 1977 on a hot day. Premiership hangover.
    I was on the Wheatbin there in 1973. I remember a few cockies, Jack Whistler and a real old cocky named Ward. It used to have a roadside deli/PO/fuel in those days.. Crooks a big Nungarin family. Ken Ferguson

  2. Hey Ken! Stunned to see your comment. We lived near Nukarni but my footy prowess did not extend beyond the backyard. Nevertheless, I recall going to many games there as a teen – and passing the oval to deliver wheat to the bin. Back then, there was even a store where you could buy perishables, fuel and machinery parts. Sadly, it is now gone. And the oval and tennis courts have long been abandoned. Memories …

    • Yep. I was a sampler on the bins and remember seeing Jack roar down the gravel road to get to the weighbridge. He was like a racing car driver in his old truck. Great bloke. Skinny with slick back hair. I think he was a Kokoda veteran but did want to talk much about those times. The cockies had lots of tricks to fool young uni students on the weighbridge. I used to go to the Nungaring pub and drink Hannans Lager. The Gray brothers were there at that time on the bins. My Mum has stories about Nungarin during WW2 as it was an army base.

      • Thanks Kathine! I remember that ground – in my time it was pony club lead by Mrs McGuiness! My Gran Valma Randall used to watch and tell us lots of stories about the Willis boys playing football there whilst the girls watched, and also about the Crook boys who once played there but didn’t come back from the war. Thanks for the beautiful pics Holly Crook – remember riding my pony Cuddles with you and playing happily inyear one – hope you’ve had the best fun in life so far! Lxx

    • Yep Ken, you got the description right – Jack was a bit wild behind the steering wheel and on motorbikes as a young bloke. We spent many years involved in speedway. Nungarin had a great pub and still is, I believe. Left the district years ago and shifted to Adelaide. Great times back then ….

  3. I have looked at other sites advertising Nukarni and all show an incorrect postcode. Nukarni’s postcode is 6491. Nungarin is 6490 and Merredin is 6415. I grew up in Nukarni and played football on the Nukarni oval in 1972. I know who has the postcode sign from the old Nukarni store.

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