Fertile towns deliver bounty as Morawa comes in third in WA baby boom list

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Elise Van AkenMidwest Times
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Angus Milloy with his son Henry, seven months, on their Morawa farm.
Camera IconAngus Milloy with his son Henry, seven months, on their Morawa farm.

A bountiful harvest of more than grain has been delivered in a small Mid West town, with a baby boom making it the third-most fertile place in the State.

Morawa, with a small population of 3768 residents, welcomed 59 babies in 2019, an average of 2.82 babies for every woman across her lifetime, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

The Mid West town came in with the third-highest fertility rate, only behind Gnowangerup in the Great Southern and South Hedland in the Pilbara, while Carnarvon came in eighth and Northampton rounded out the top 10.

Carnarvon women birthed 78 babies in 2019, amounting to 2.6 children per mother, while in Northampton 66 babies were born (2.57 per woman). The entire top 10 consisted of regional towns.

In 2019, there were 33,539 babies born in WA, and anecdotally the trend appears to be continuing, with a new wave of babies conceived during the COVID-19 lockdown last year starting to be born last month.

Angus Milloy, Katrina Lethla and their son Henry Milloy, seven months.
Camera IconAngus Milloy, Katrina Lethla and their son Henry Milloy, seven months.

New mother Katrina Lethla, 26, said she loved raising her seven-month-old son Henry Milloy in Morawa, and without having family living close by she really appreciated other mothers who helped her through having her first child during COVID restrictions and with a broken arm.

Originally from Estonia, Ms Lethla has called Morawa home since 2015 and has since settled down with her partner Angus Milloy on Kinloch Farm, where they grow wheat and barley.

“There are definitely a lot of babies in Morawa. A few of my really close friends and I got pregnant around the same time and it’s been really nice to do it together, all of our first babies,” she said.

“Only a couple of months ago I broke my arm playing tennis, and it was really hard with a baby to breastfeed and everything.

“All the girls organised who was coming over and on what days to help me and they would bring their babies to have play dates while they were helping me around the house — it was really nice.”

She said while she was keen to have another baby, she had changed her plan of having four children after experiencing life with one.

“I will definitely have more, I always thought I’d have more but after having one I think two is enough!”

In total, 709 babies were born across the Mid West in 2019, a total fertility rate of 2.21 babies per mother.

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