Henty thanks five decades of field day volunteers
November 20, 2012
On the eve of Henty Machinery Field Days 50th anniversary, a public thank you has been extended by the co-operative’s board to the hundreds of volunteers involved in the event over five decades.
Now regarded as Australia’s biggest mixed farming field days, Henty is set to celebrate 50 years on September 17-19, 2013.
Co-operative chairman Ross Edwards paid tribute to the many volunteers who have kept the not-for-profit community event ticking since 1963.
“People come from a wide area to volunteer for traffic control and car parking, manning the entry booths, working in the catering sheds and cleaning the amenities,’’ Mr Edwards said.
“The services of the volunteer groups are valued.
“One of our key objectives is to maintain the broad community involvement that has contributed to Henty’s success over many years.’’
Mr Edwards, now entering his seventh year as chairman, also thanked exhibitors for their continued support, the general public for their attendance, and co-operative office staff and members.
In 2010, executive officer Doug Meyer retired after 38 years of service, with Albury sports and events administrator Graeme Hicks appointed to the role.
“Over the past two years, the site has been expanded and, in response, site holders have grown by 50 per cent to 1200 with more than 800 exhibitors,’’ Mr Edwards said.
“Henty continues to set new records with a crowd of 60,000 passing through the gates in 2011 and 2012,’’ he said.
“I’d like to applaud the people who put the field days together 50 years ago, the work and effort gone into by an enormous amount of people in that time to make the field days the success that they are.
“While there has been considerable changes over the past 18 months, more work still needs to occur to expand the offering at the site.’’
Mr Edwards said future options included making the field days site a year round destination point.
He said the location midway between Albury-Wodonga and Wagga Wagga lent itself to agricultural machinery displays and demonstration days, caravan, camping, lifestyle and truck expos.
A succession plan will also see company secretary Belinda Anderson take on the role of chief executive officer in 2013.
Graeme Hicks will work closely with Mrs Anderson to ensure the success of the 50th anniversary field days.
“Belinda comes to the field days with more than 20 years of experience in agriculture and administration, and is a local farmer,’’ Mr Hicks said.
“She gained a wealth of experience working with landowners and the Wagga Wagga Rural Lands Protection Board. That experience will be of considerable value to the Henty Machinery Field Days.’’
Mrs Anderson is a sheep and grain producer from Pulletop, farming 1100 hectares of the family property with husband Garry and their four children.
She described the new role as an “exciting challenge’’ and looked forward to working with a supportive team of directors, staff, members and the wider Henty community.
“The field days have grown extensively since I first attended in 1984 as a student from St Pauls College, Walla Walla, and to now have the opportunity to help members and volunteers organise such an integral community event is exciting,’’ Mrs Anderson said.
Chairman Ross Edwards said the co-operative now had a solid foundation to consolidate the gains made, and implement a strategic management plan for the next decade.