Fifty years of farming nostalgia showcased in documentary

August 25, 2015

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Farmers crowd around to see the latest tillage equipment demonstrated at Henty during the 1960s.

Fifty years of farm machinery, bush humour and nostalgia have been showcased in a documentary on one of agriculture’s most iconic events – the Henty Machinery Field Days.

Titled “Reflections of Henty – 50 years of the Henty Machinery Field Days’’, the documentary offers an historical snapshot of an event which has evolved from a one-day header school into the single biggest agricultural field days in southern Australia.

The DVD features original footage and still photographs sourced from the archives of Charles Sturt University, Prime and WIN TV, and The Border Mail.

West Wyalong farmer and film producer Ross Harmer was also instrumental in tracking down footage from the field days shot during the 1970s.

Long serving volunteers, committee members, exhibitors and local farmers were interviewed on their involvement, memories, and personal reflections of the field days.

This included veterans of the original one-day header school held on the Henty showground in 1961 – Ian Bender, Bob Kendell, Kerry Pietsch, Len Schilg, Laurie Sone, Colin Wood and Milton Taylor.

Other recollections range from Pleasant Hills farmer and catering manager Alison Campbell detailing the tonne of meat used to feed the crowds, to Cookardinia farmer and ex-board member, Laurie Sone, recalling how sheets of corrugated iron were used to shore up the boggy terrain.

The DVD gives the viewer an insight into the evolvement of farm machinery technology, the role of volunteerism in the community, the comraderie between those involved and the changing attitudes towards women in agriculture.

The 42 minute documentary was narrated by ABC Goulburn Murray announcer Gaye Pattison, with filming by Reece Rayner, Albury, and script by HMFD media manager Kim Woods.

“Many viewers will see themselves as children or their parents and grandparents in their youth among the crowd scenes over the decades,’’ Ms Woods said.

“The dry bush humour and ingenuity of rural folk also shines through the personal stories.’’

Copies of the DVD will be available at $20 (plus $5 postage and handling) each from the HMFD office on 02 6929 3305 or email admin@hmfd.com.au