When Yarran Fair-Townsend was just 10, his life goal was already firm.  Yarran was determined that he would one day play cricket for Australia. In fact, spending his gap year playing cricket in England and working towards his goal of turning professional is what Yarran should be doing right now.  But Covid-19 has scuttled those plans, for 2020 at least.

“I was going to be based in Manchester and playing with the Manchester-Rochdale Cricket Club over the English summer,” says Yarran. “It was supposed to be my gap year and it’s hard to know whether I should try to go again next year. I don’t really want to go back into intensive study so soon after the HSC.  I was hoping to have a little time away from it.”

Yarran has been part of the GO Foundation since he started Year 8 at St Gregory’s College in 2015.  “I clearly remember my first GO event and meeting Mick and Adam. I was small and a bit chubby, and very nervous, and they were really, really big, in a manly, man way,” laughs Yarran. “I found the courage and introduced myself, and they were two of the nicest blokes I’ve ever met.  We had a few chats.  Now they are like older brothers.  They are always there for us GO kids, as are others at GO.  Their support definitely helped me get through school.”

“The thing about GO that stands out to me is the culture,” Yarran continues. “It’s such a strong connection. Every time I go to a mentoring day, it’s really good to see the GO team and catch up with other students.  It would be really good if we could have more mentoring days!”

The Fair-Townsend family lives in a semi-rural part of Sydney and 19-year-old Yarran is the second of 6 kids.  He has an elder sister and three younger sisters and a little brother.  “I boarded in years 11 and 12 and it made all the difference to me managing my study and keeping up my sport,” says Yarran. “My family is very close, but there are eight of us with mum and dad, so it can get pretty hectic!”

The family’s Indigenous heritage holds an important place in all their lives. Both Yarran’s grandmothers were part of the Stolen Generation.  “It’s a strong family we have, very strong,” says Yarran. “Mum is from Taree and is a proud Biripi woman, and her totem is the great white shark. I don’t like salt water that much! Dad is from Warren, so he’s Kamilaroi and his totem’s the emu. He lived his early life out in western NSW and was a shearer for 15 or 16 years.”

“I love everything about being on Country. The bush, the freshwater rivers, the fresh air and smells all make me feel so connected to the land,” Yarran says. “When we were growing up, Dad would sometimes go out to Brewarrina for work, and we’d all spend hours down at the Bogan River swimming and fishing. I’d love to go back out there. Going to Gilgandra to visit my grandfather, a great man, is also a favourite memory of mine.”

In 2018, Yarran featured in the #GOFurther campaign, sharing his story about family, culture, and the power of further education. “I really enjoyed that experience telling my story. It made me really proud,” says Yarran.  “I know who I am and where I come from. I carry that with me, and I don’t look back. I’m very excited about what the future holds.  I’d love to give back to my community.  Hopefully, I’ll become successful at cricket.”

The thing Yarran cherishes above everything though is family – past, present, and future. “Being able to have a family is what I really, really want,” says Yarran. “Yes, I’d love to be playing professional cricket and have a job I really like but having kids and family together…that’s what I really want.”