Esperance man reflects on childhood

The Yuill family: Graham, Belinda, Kyra and Rhys Yuill. Photo: Supplied.

The Yuill family: Graham, Belinda, Kyra and Rhys Yuill. Photo: Supplied.

In Part 1 of his story last week Graham Yuill described his carefree, happy childhood growing up in Esperance, marred only by the death of his mother in 1979.

Read on to discover how Graham became the successful person he is today.

The Esperance Agricultural Show has always been one of the most anticipated and enjoyable events on the Esperance social calendar.

For Graham it was the event which brought about two fortunate strokes of serendipity, both having profound effects on his life.

Passionate about horse riding and sport and with scholarly ambitions low on his priority list Graham was unsure as to his future direction but it was in 1979, when in Year 11, that the Mounted Section of the Police Force displayed at the Esperance Show.

Constable McCall from Esperance was riding and Graham suddenly saw an opportunity to combine his skill and passion for horses with employment.

After also talking with ex Mountie and local, Harry Taylor, Graham was even more convinced so applied and was accepted into the Police Force at the beginning of Year 12.

Having recently lost his mother Graham decided to complete the school year while he and father, Mal continued to support each other through their grief. 

During that year he added another exciting dimension to his horse riding when he started riding track work for Fred Bow.

Leaving Dad in Esperance the following year and moving to Perth was very difficult.

The cultural shock of moving from a small town where all activities could be reached by bike in a few minutes to learning the logistics of the Perth public transport system and gauging the time needed for each excursion, was daunting – even with the guidance of family who assisted.

In 1982 Graham achieved his goal and was posted to the Mounted Section of the Police Force.

He loved his time in the stables, being involved in large crowd events such as a Pope’s tour, searching for missing persons and the start of horse night patrols in the city.

In 1987 Graham married Belinda Barrett- Lennard.

They met when Graham was home after a knee operation, through mutual friends, Sue and Helen Johnston.

Where?

Yes, the Esperance Show where Belinda was riding.

As an accomplished event rider she introduced Graham to the sport – one in which they continue to compete and enjoy to this day.

In 1988 Graham was transferred to Bunbury.

Belinda worked at the Horse and Country Style store and together they bought 4 acres in Dardanup which they set up with stables for a couple of horses.

It was a busy time as son, Rhys was born in 1989 and daughter, Kyra in 1990.

Although his time in the Police Force was rewarding Graham yearned to start his own business and left the Force in 1991.

By working hard in several businesses they were able to expand into breaking in 10 race horses and eventually bought the horse store, changing the name to Horseland, which Belinda ran while Graham concentrated on Limerick Park, adding 50 acres to the property for agistment.

Both children attended Dardanup Primary School and Bunbury Grammar with Rhys completing his schooling at Denmark Agricultural School and going onto Muresk College, achieving a degree in Agricultural Science. Kyra completed a jockey apprenticeship and has gone onto successfully ride throughout WA and Melbourne with the highlight of her career being in 2011, as the first female rider to win the Perth Cup.

Six years ago the original Limerick Park was sold and 150 acres of rich, fertile land purchased at Burekup where a purpose built barn for 20 horses was established and where Kyra and Graham train horses, Belinda manages the accounts and Horseland Store and Rhys and his wife (also Belinda) have started a successful hay making business called Limerick Meadow Hay, supplying the equestrian industry with a highly nutritious product.

With the family working so well together Belinda and Graham have been able to travel a little and while not planning on retiring anytime soon will continue to enjoy and develop Limerick Park as the highly regarded facility for which it is renowned.

Graham attributes much of his success to a wonderful, grounded childhood and he still is proud to call Esperance, home.