Walking in Lydia’s Footsteps

Our trip to Kalgoorlie was expected to be the last piece of filming that we did on the documentary. We flew up there on Thursday courtesy of one of our sponsors, Barrick and were very kindly looked after by the All Seasons Grand Plaza Hotel; whose manager incidentally used to be involved with Everton Football Club in England, working as a translator for one of their first foreign signings.

Kalgoorlie is where Lydia moved after being born in Katanning. It is located 595km north east of Perth in Western Australia, and was founded in 1893 during the Yilgarn-Goldfields gold rush. It is located close to the so-called “Golden Mile”, a seam of gold.

The town has a population of just under 30,000 and the name Kalgoorlie is derived from the Wangai word Karlkurla, meaning “place of the silky pears.”

We had arranged to meet an Aboriginal lady who was going to perform Milbindi for us. This is an activity reserved for the women, where they tell tales by drawing with a wire in the sand. This was to be our opening sequence. Sadly when we went to the agreed place at the agreed time she did not. We waited but she never came, and so we had to abandon this idea, which was a great shame.

The good news was our second day was far more successful. We filmed two of Lydia’s cousins playing football together, James and Quentin. They were great fun, and Quentin made James run and run and run.

We then went into the main street and filmed some scenic shots of the town. This was fairly easy as the main street is very long and very wide and is renowned for the amount of pubs. There are 25 historical pubs still in the town today and many more have ceased to exist.

Following some lunch in one of these establishments where the food was good but the service poor, we met with Lydia’s cousin Carmen, who could not have been a better host. She drove us to Hammond Park, where the family had a picnic the last time Lydia was in town. Here we filmed an interview with her before she took us to meet more of Lydia’s cousins. From there she drove us to Lydia’s old home in Boulder and the family home where she used to play as a child. The rain was pelting down at this stage and so unfortunately we were unable to film, but it helped us get a grasp on those formative years.

Walking down the street they had a walk of fame for all the famous sportspeople who have come from this famous Australian town, Walter Lindrum the Billiards player was one, Terry Walsh the hockey Player another, and we could not help wondering when we might see the name Lydia Williams. If she is afforded that honour she will be the first woman, and in a town like Kalgoorlie, which is built on testosterone, this would be no mean feat.


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