Munster market gardener Ravlich looking forward to Cockburn Pioneers’ Luncheon

Tony Ravlich. Picture: Matt Jelonek d468712
Tony Ravlich. Picture: Matt Jelonek d468712

MUNSTER resident Tony Ravlich remembers a time when wild horses ran free in the suburb and Barrington Street was largely an unsealed track used by just a handful of cars each day.

His family moved to a 7.5ha lot on the street from Kalgoorlie in 1941, quickly establishing a market garden.

“Things have changed dramatically since I was a youngster,” Mr Ravlich said.

“Cockburn is virtually now a residential place which is a shame but you can’t stop progress.

“Now all the market gardeners have moved to areas where there is bigger land available.

“(7.5ha) now is a very small market garden.

“Today’s market gardens are on (40ha) lots, the reason being there are more vegetables needed to supply a growing population.”

Produce from the Ravlich family’s market garden was distributed all over Perth.

“Before I even left school, every morning and every night you helped pick veggies,” Mr Ravlich said.

“If there was an order for a ship that had to go early in the morning we’d get up early and pick veggies, head off to school, then when you came home you’d be back in the garden helping out.

“That’s how it was done in those days.

“It was part of my life. You did enjoy good produce.

“You were always proud when you produced good veggies.”

When his father passed away in 1952, Mr Ravlich took up more responsibility.

That increased when his mother died 10 years later.

While he now only works a hobby farm on Barrington Street, he and son Mark still grow produce to sell locally at Tony Ale, Peaches Food Market and Pearl Fruiterers.

“At 77, I’m still up early every day,” he said.

“It hasn’t changed form the early days.

“I’m lucky I’ve got my son who helps me out.

“When I need help, he’s the helper. He does most of it now.”

Mr Ravlich will be among more than 400 people attending the City of Cockburn’s Pioneers’ Luncheon on June 2.

The annual event is attended by residents who have lived in Cockburn continuously for 60 years or more.

“It’s a proud day. It’s great to mix with the older pioneers of Cockburn,” Mr Ravlich said.

“There’s not too many of the old original pioneers.

“Our mums and dads were the originals and we’re virtually the second generation.”

Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said the event was an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution of the City’s long-term residents.

“Everyone attending has made a contribution of one form or another,” he said.

“From those who worked the land, plied the oceans, managed small and large businesses, ran the family home and saw to the education of their children through to current and former elected members, CEOs and retired members of staff who live in Cockburn.

“The majority of those attending also contributed to the development of the social fabric of Cockburn and its proud sporting, artistic and cultural diversity.”