When Kulin farmer Fred Davis’s harvester burst into flames almost 40 years ago, he could not have imagined it would spark a wildly successful fundraising campaign for his local football club.

Key points:

  • The Kulin-Kondinin Football Club has raised a record $60,000 from its annual community harvest
  • The fundraiser started almost 40 years ago after local farmer lost his header in a fire
  • Almost 2,600 tonnes of grain was harvested in less than 24 hours

The flames had burnt through several hectares of Mr Davis’s wheat and left him without a machine to harvest the rest of his crop.

So in 1984 what is now the Kulin-Kondinin Football Club stepped in to lend a hand, bringing headers, chaser bins and trucks to the property to get the job done together and starting a tradition that continues to this day.

Mr Davis, now 82, said the 2021 crop was a stand-out, with more than 2,591 tonnes of wheat and barley hitting the bin in just 24 hours thanks to the efforts of local farmers.

“It’s the best crop we’ve ever had,” he said.

“We get blokes coming from miles away.

“After buying that shit of a harvester, we didn’t want to go back to harvesting our own crop.

“Because we’ve gone to the footy club instead of owning our own harvester, we’ve saved money on depreciation and that’s enabled us to get a little bit more land over the decades.”

A man stands in front of a header at rest in a golden field.

Kulin-Kondinin Football Club president Simon Duckworth said the team had raised a massive $60,000 this year.(Supplied)

$60,000 in 24 hours

Under the arrangement, the Davis family pays the team for each hectare they harvest and each tonne carted from the property.

Kulin-Kondinin Football Club president Simon Duckworth said this year the team had smashed records amid ideal growing conditions and unprecedented commodity prices, raising $60,000 for the team.

“There were 12 headers, 12 trucks and nine chaser bins of all different makes, colours, shapes and sizes,” he said.

“Guys travelled upwards of 100 kilometres to get there on the day, and we had five or six guys shifting comb trailers, opening gates, delivering lunches and drinks.

An aerial shot of harvesting machinery at work in a paddock.

It took 12 headers, 12 trucks and nine chaser bins to harvest this year’s fundraiser crop in Kulin.(Supplied)

‘First class’ support

Mr Duckworth said the local footy team was the beating heart of the town, and that the camaraderie and passion was as strong off the field as it was on game day.

“There’s guys not even involved in the footy club that stop harvest, up stumps and come and give us a hand,” he said.

“The support we have is absolutely first class.

“Guys leave their own crops – which are worth quite a bit of money this year – to come and fundraise for the footy club.”

Mr Davis’s son Kim said he was proud to be part of the tradition.

“It’s been quite interesting watching the generations do it as I’ve grown up,” he said.

“There’s three generations at least that have helped out over the years from particular families.

Footy club makes $60k in 24 hours and it’s all thanks to Fred’s ‘s*** of a harvester’
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