There are mixed feelings coming across an abandoned footy/cricket ground like the one at Latham, about 315km north of Perth. It’s sad but, for a scoreboardspotter like me, filled with anticipation.
Latham delivered. The scoreboard, ravaged only by the elements, stands ready to do the job if asked (the stairs are sturdy but I wouldn’t advise standing on the platform). Nasty prickly plants are slowly taking over the oval and the cricket pitch and nets are ruins.
The Latham name is still around in WA footy and has been for a long time. In the 1920s there was a Morowa-Latham Football League and once there was a team called Latham-Maya There’s not much left of Maya (on the road to Perenjori) these days. Latham played in the Dalwallinu District Football Association until 1967. When the DDFA disbanded the Magpies moved to the North Midlands Football League and in 1971 merged into the Coorow-Latham Magpies and they’re still going.
Sniffing around after my visit to Latham I came across the sad tale of Antonio Fanto who murdered fellow Italian Cosimo Nesci on a track just out of Latham in March 1931. Fanto was hanged at Fremantle Prison just after 8am on Monday 18 May 1931. His last words were: “Prega per mia moglie e i bambini.” (Pray for my wife and children). Fanto’s family was still in Italy.