Humans of the Wheatbelt - David Sims

Humans of the Wheatbelt is an imitative by the Wheatbelt Health Network.
Humans of the Wheatbelt is an imitative by the Wheatbelt Health Network.

My association with Northam goes back to 1967 when as a budding young cowboy I won my first bronc ride with a prize of $67 twice my wage as an apprentice butcher.

The rodeo was held on Jubilee oval in front of a crowd of 8000 people. The arena was star pickets and hessian. You wouldn't get away with that today!

I moved to Northam in 1976 I was working on a shearing team at the time while endeavouring to build my horse breaking business. I eventually finished up with the shearing team and started work as a farm hand on Spring Hill with the late Lindsay Adams.

I was employed there for 10 years but I did take 6 months off to manage a Thoroughbred Stud during the breeding season but returned to Spring Hill until it was finally sold.

In 1989 a former workmate and I opened Avon Shearing Supplies after 12 months I bought the business and along with my former wife we operated it for 21 years.

I was once told at the time it was the longest operating business in Northam run by the same people at the same address. During that 21 years my wife and I purchased 100 acres where we built a new home and lived there where we ran a small SRS merino flock and I continued with my horse breaking.

It was during this time that my son decided to try his hand at Boxing. I trained him from home and used to take him to Perth once a week to my old friend and mentor Lorry Flanders. He was the boxing coach at the South Fremantle football club for extra coaching and sparing.

Roy was an exceptional young boxer becoming a junior state champion and a Northam junior sports star of the year. I was invited to get the boxing activity up and running again at the Northam PCYC and I ended up as coach for 21 years. In that time I also started up boxercise.

Some wonderful young people passed through the doors in those years Novice State and Australian champions were to grace the walls of the Northam PCYC. It was a very proud moment for me when last year I was awarded life membership to this wonderful organisation.

One of my most treasured memories of Northam was when the Northam Town council gave me permission to erect a memorial to honour a local hero 2nd Lieutenant Hugo Vivian Hope Throssell VC Throssell of the 10th Australian Light Horse Regiment. He was the first West Australian and the only light horseman to be awarded a VC. With a small committee of myself Jen Hicky and Loyd Nelson we raised the money and built the memorial that stands in the park opposite the boulevard. The memorial was unveiled by the The Governor Micheal Jeffery MC.

Another highlight of my time in Northam was when a former mate from my days with the shearing team asked me to go to the US with him to work as a wool classer. Whilst working over there I was able to reunite with an old mate from my rodeo days consequently I go back regularly to visit him up in Montana.

Like everyone life's journey the tracks sometimes will be a rough old bush track and other times you'll be on the black top.

The saddest moments I guess would be losing my younger brother. Life just became too hard for him loneliness and depression. It's a terrible position to be in. The end of my marriage after 43 years wasn't the best time in my life either. Although I take full responsibility but you can't look back you'll only get a sore neck and you only live once and if you do it right once is enough.

When I finally retired I chose to live in Toodyay it's a beautiful little town it's surprising how people get to know you and become friends I still visit Northam regularly to catch up with old friends.

The advice would I give to young people today if asked.. It's an old one but good one 'If the gate wont open don't force it you weren't supposed to go there and do whatever your passion desires even if it means running away with the circus' Even though I didn't have any choice to how my journey began I have the choice on how it finishes.

Human - David Sims

Interviewer & Photographer - Paula Whittington