28 Apr
Trash into treasure | Cricket memorabilia returns home

Trash into treasure | Cricket memorabilia returns home

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure rings true for prominent WA cricketer Darren Wates after a piece of cricket memorabilia from his career was found at the Balcatta Recycling Shop and returned to him. A signed photo, ball and stumps all framed of the swing bowling all-rounder was found in the donated items that arrived at Balcatta Recycling shop earlier this year.

Workpower’s Debra Lawson who works at the shop as a Support Coach, assisting people with disability in employment, knew there must be a special story behind the piece and endeavoured to find Darren.
“History is incredibly special, whether that’s someone’s personal history like Darren’s or whether it’s a piece of history that contributes to something bigger like a World War,” said Ms Lawson.
“It took me a couple of months to find him after contacting the Western Australian Cricket Association and South Perth Cricket Club, but eventually I found him.”

After knowing exactly which framed memorabilia Debra had found, Darren raced down to the Balcatta Recycling Shop, operated by Workpower and the City of Stirling to purchase the 23-year-old pieces, before someone else did.

“The photos were taken in 1998/99, the season before I was selected to play for WA, when I was awarded the Olly Cooley Medal for the fairest and best player in the WACA First Grade competition,” Darren explained. “It’s a funny story really, the owner of the framing company had a connection with South Perth Cricket Club, and was looking at expanding their object framing offering into sporting memorabilia. When I was asked if I’d like to help them with some sporting display items for their store, and also commemorate my season, I was happy to help out.”

“I was given another small framed object piece at the time, but the framers used the large deep object framed pieces to showcase how they could frame and commemorate special sporting moments.”
“After becoming part of the WA team, I used the same framing company to frame some of our special achievements along the way, and it was always a nice reminder to go in and see those photos from my younger years on the wall.”
“I never knew what happened to the store, so was quite surprised when I found out the pieces had been donated to the Balcatta Recycling Shop.”

Darren’s been entrenched in WA’s cricket history for many years, after playing several seasons for the state team, he retired from the pitch in 2008 before becoming a WACA Board Member from 2015 until 2020. He has kept close to South Perth Cricket Club including helping out as a bowling coach for several seasons.

These sporting memorabilia aren’t the only piece of rich history to come through the doors of the Workpower’s Reuse Shops, with an Australian Army hat dating back to World War II donated at Tamala Park Reuse Shop in Mindarie this month.

“We’re working with a historian to find out the history of this hat which is likely to be placed at the Army Museum of Western Australia in Fremantle,” said Ms Lawson.