A sign just out of town tells us Northam is 99km from Perth… and it’s the last stop before you hit the city on the train journey from Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
On the day of our visit Northam Railways were handing out an awful thrashing to Beverley in the Avon Football Association and the scoreboard team was having trouble keeping up. Henry Street is also home to the Northam Federals.
Footy started in the Northam in the early 1900s and the town has been producing players for the big leagues ever since. Brisbane draft choice Deven Robertson is the latest Northam boy to move in the AFL joining Sidney Stack (Richmond) and Ian ‘Bobby’ Hill (GWS). Robertson’s uncle, West Coast champion Darren Glass (270 games) might be Northam’s finest footballing export though old-timers would be able to come up with other worthy nominees.
For example two members of the East Perth team of the first half of the 20th Century (1906-1944) are from Northam – centre half back Ray Starr (170 games; one premiership) and fellow defender Albert ‘Nails’ Western (158 games, 20 games for WA, four premierships).
Other handy Northam products include Jim Spencer (East Perth, 185 games); Tom Sergeant (Claremont, 83 games, three premierships); Jack Emeades (Claremont, 141 games, two premierships); Arnold ‘Bud’ Byfield (Claremont, 36 games, one premiership, Melbourne 18 games); Ken Lally (East Fremantle, 43 games); Leon Davis (Collingwood, 225 games); Dean Kent (Melbourne & St Kilda, 76 games); Rob Haddrill (Fremantle, 58 games) and Cruize Garlett (North Melbourne, 32 games). We’d love to hear of others.
There’s a scoreboard of the same design at the nearby Jubilee Oval, once the town’s main footy venue.