Alf Cantrell is the man who makes things happen in the tiny town of Yeoval in the mid-west of New South Wales.
Story and photo by John Dunn

Alf Cantrell is a man of many parts. In his early days he was a machine fitter, before creating Australia’s largest strawberry farm, just outside Sydney. He moved west and drove a tourist tram in Dubbo before moving it to Centennial Park in Sydney, operating it on weekends while running a property-maintenance business. He went west again, to Yeoval, earning a living making dog and horse leads, which he sold at country shows. 

Alf ran the general store for seven years and also drove a school bus. He dedicated his spare time to community activities ranging from the committees of the show society and the pony club to the local council’s tourism body and its Anzac Centenary celebrations, all of which culminated in his receiving the New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory Regional Achievement Award in 2014.

With the strong support of his wife Sharon, Alf planned and developed Yeoval’s parks, gardens and facilities, organised attractions such as the Mulga Bill Festival and persuaded the Waterhouse horseracing family to donate a six-tonne, six-metre bust of the famous English sculptor Henry Moore, which he placed by the main street. It is one of the largest public art works in Australia. “It’s been a most successful tourism asset,” Alf says. “You either love it or hate it, but either way it attracts attention. People stop to look and mostly they stay a little while to walk around town, maybe buy lunch and certainly visit our museum.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #111

Outback Magazine: Feb/March 2017