Tag Archives: Western Australia

A Cricket Tale; John Inverarity

For those who come from Non-Cricketing countries (the poorer world), the Captain of the Australian Cricket Team holds a position of greater respect and influence than any Australian Prime Minister who has held office in history. The Australian Cricket Selectors choose that Captain. This is the first of an occasional series written specifically for the Cricket Tragics of the world.

The newly appointed full-time selector for the Australian Cricket Team, John Inverarity is uniquely placed to hold the position. Playing 223 Sheffield Shield games from 1962 to 1985 and fitting in half a dozen Tests was quite an achievement back in the days of the virtually amateur players. He was a member of a talented family of athletes. Inverarity’s father was a first-class cricketer between the wars, and his daughter Alison was an Olympic high-jumper.

Former Australian Test cricketer John Inverarity has been appointed full-time chairman of selectors.

Throughout his long career John Inverarity was not only a good batsman, but a great captain and theorist. In five years as captain of Western Australia he won the Sheffield Shield four times. When schoolteaching took him from Perth to Adelaide he just kept on playing, being seen as something of a freak in Australian first-class cricket as he continued, grey-haired and ghostly, into his forties. South Australia duly won the Shield in 1981-82, with Inverarity contributing 348 runs and 30 wickets. By the time he finally retired, in 1985, he had crept past Don Bradman’s Shield-record run-aggregate.

Being a fellow Western Australian, albeit eleven months younger, I followed him as a cricketing hero. There were three major incidents which I will always remember. ABC Radio was responsible for me hearing two of those three incidents as they happened. The third, I saw.

In a Sheffield Shield match at Adelaide in 1969, while still playing for Western Australia Inverarity was not yet off the mark when a Greg Chappell delivery completely changed direction in mid-air, suddenly nose-diving to flatten the stumps. Bewildered, Inverarity looked to the heavens and trudged off. The new batsman was almost at the crease when the umpire Colin Egar signalled dead ball. A swallow, now also dead and lying some yards behind the wicket, was revealed as the cause and Inverarity was recalled, going on to make 89. The sparrow was later taxidermied and put on display in the Adelaide Cricket Museum.

On the Ashes tour of England in 1968, Invers played his second Test at the Oval.

Charlie Elliot raises his finger and Australia's John Inverarity falls lbw to Derek Underwood at the Oval in 1968. England thus won a remarkable, rain-effected match with six minutes to spare!

Opening the batting with Bill Lawry, he was out for just one run in his first Test innings. However, in his second innings he almost gained a place in the records book. No Australian opener had carried his bat since W.A. Brown in 1938 at Lords. Listening to the commentary from the BBC, there being no television coverage in those days, I heard him continue to bat as five, six, seven wickets fell at the other end. Derek Underwood was starring with the ball. Invers made his fifty as eight and nine fell. Just as we were beginning to think that a Draw was possible Underwood struck again, only this time it was the opener who was adjudged LBW! So no good thing happened. England won by 226 runs with six minutes to spare and Invers did not make the record book. I’m not sure which disappointed me most.

Now for my first ever sight of Invers. A bit of background first. I was working at the University of Western Australia at the time and riding a hot little red Lambretta scooter. Finishing work at 5pm I was able to scoot into Perth and down to the WACA to watch the last half hour of play in the Shield matches. Not that I would go into the ground. At the Causeway end, there was a chain-link fence and a viewing area of about ten feet. Up to fifty of us would gather there to see a little of the play. This gathering was stopped with the building of the Lillee-Marsh Stand.

WA was playing Queensland who had contracted the fastest bowler in the world, West Indian Wes Hall, to play for them that season. This particular day, I was there just after lunch on the final day (19th Feb, 1963) as Western Australia was approaching its second win of the season. With seven wickets in hand and just two runs needed for victory, the skinny, tall 18 year old newcomer was due to face the last few balls of the match. Wes Hall grabbed the ball and, after glaring at Inverarity, marched towards the Members and began measuring out his run.

Having been facing the gentle and innocuous leggies of Colin Westaway, Invers was surprised. No! He was shocked! From our vantage point we could see his legs literally shaking as he watched the menacing West Indian preparing to bowl. Taking a nervous guard, Invers looked up and saw a big white-toothed grin in Wes’ black face. Hall threw the ball to his skipper, John McLaughlin, a very occasional offie and the match ended two off-breaks later.

In defence of the young Inverarity, the Fremantle Doctor was in and his whites were probably flapping in the wind. Yet I much prefer the thought of his knees knocking as Hall was preparing to bowl.

I Love a Sunburnt Country

It will come as no surprise to readers of the archive that I love my country.

Sometimes a few of my fellow countrymen aggravate me. More often I am proud of the tasks they accomplish.

Yet to me Australia is not just people. It is a living, breathing, cantankerous continent. With resources and wonderful vistas where mankind has touched lightly upon its surface.

Even today with people dying in the increasingly serious Queensland floods and property and livestock being destroyed in Western Australia’s bush fires. True heroism is being shown by all the police, fireys, defence personnel and volunteers who are helping in terrible conditions.

I love my country. As did Dorothea Mackellar who wrote the poem below.

I love every part of this poem. Yet the line which is running through my head today is “Her beauty and her terror.”

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold –
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Thanks to @lakitambourke for the original thought which went on to produce this post.

Spring is Here

Spring is here in Western Australia.

I found these little bits of Spring on the edge of the beach. Growing wild.

September is a reward for surviving the cold of winter.

Bright flashes of yellow show that Spring is indeed here.

Spring is here

Here are some of the bright purples springing up to give a counterpoint.

Spring is here

Then another yellow, known from childhood as “Dandelions” but actually the spring-flowering Cape Weed. On the farms of my youth, every Spring was noted for the fresh farm milk changing its taste due to this yellow weed.

Spring is here


Willem de Vlamingh (b1640) was a Dutch sea-captain with the VOC (Dutch East India Company)who explored the south west coast of Australia (then “New Holland”) in the late 17th century.

On 10 January 1697, he ventured up the Swan River. He and his crew are believed to have been the first Europeans to do so. He named the Swan River (Zwaanenrivier in Dutch) after the large numbers of black swans that he observed there.

There is now a large sundial which commemorates the approximate position of where he reached. It is just below the Wheel of Perth and I was able to get a shot of it.

Sky Watch Friday

This is one of those shots where all the action has not yet happened.

The theatre; The Swan River in Perth, Western Australia.

The setting; Taken on Tuesday from the Eye of Perth as some early winter storms were approaching, they hit on Tuesday night and continued through Wednesday. By Thursday morning there were just occasional squalls.

The actors; the Red Bull Air race pilots. You can see some of the bits and pieces for the race on the Swan River in this photo. You can also see the threatening clouds in the sky.

Note!  This is the part of this post which is the Sky Watch entry.

On Thursday morning Brazilian pilot Adilson Kindlemann, 36, was attempting a knife-edge turn around a pylon when his plane’s wing clipped the water and crashed. I think this is the first crash in a Red Bull Air Race since it began.

I didn’t take this image – it was released by Red Bull.

The pilot was taken to Royal Perth Hospital with minor injuries including whiplash. So there is a happy ending to the story.

Photo Hunt; Creamy

What could be creamier than fresh milk?

In the South West of Western Australia is a little town named “Brunswick Junction”.

It is the centre of the local dairy industry. All the cows for miles around supply this factory where milk is pastuerised and separated.

The cream is sold as cream or manufactured into the best Ice Cream in Australia. The ice cream I grew up with. The special treat at the annual Sunday School picnic.

Apart from that, I just love the art deco building and the mystery of the door on the upper floor which leads nowhere.


A little local politics

Here in Western Australia we have just exercised our democratic right to vote on two issues.

carlesFirstly, who will be the representative for the electorate of Fremantle, Perth’s Port city.

The good news is that a Green’s candidate has got up and stolen the seat from the Labor Party who have held it for 85 years. Congratulations,  Adele Carles.

Secondly whether or not we, in the Western Third of the Continent, should have daylight Saving.

The bad news is that the Neanderthals in this state outnumber thinking people and we will now be three hours behind the action instead of just two. Thank you to everyone who is too lazy to change from sundials to more modern timekeeping devices. It would be easy to believe that we have been taken over by that other bastion of Luddite thought, Queensland, eh?