A vision of a year-round all-weather exhibition venue at the Henty Machinery Field Days site is crystallising for principal sponsors Moane Fitzgerald Constructions.
Chris Mo’ane, Moane Fitzgerald Constructions managing director, approached the Henty Machinery Field Day Co-operative three years ago after attending his first field day to come on board as principal sponsor.
The family business services farming landholders in the greater Murrumbidgee catchment and across NSW with new farm roads, hard stand areas, dust suppression driveways and drainage construction.
“The reason we wanted to be involved is we could see the potential of the site way past three days a year of use,’’ Mr Mo’ane said.
“It was always our proposal, as civil engineers and contractors, to improve the field day experience by fixing the drainage and improving the facilities, with this longer and wider view also shared by the HMFD board.
“We wanted to see the site used for other events to create the best outcome for the local area, and we are now starting to see that.
“It is a great feeling to see our combined efforts and ideas come to a point where the vision is now confirmed by hosting a major lifestyle expo in March.
“I’m sure it is just the start of a wider use of the site.’’
Mr Mo’ane said the field day site offered endless opportunities.
“We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact HMFD is about supporting the farming sector by showcasing new technologies which can be touched, smelt and investigated,’’ he said.
“The field days will always be a priority but now the Cookardinia Road site has been developed over 40 years into being unique in itself but also where opportunities for use are nearly boundless.
“When you consider this site began as a vacant block and what has been achieved in the 40 years here, it is mind boggling and a great testament to those we all follow in seeing its future secured through exploring future opportunities.
“We won’t have to wait another 40 years to be mesmerised again and in 10 years time it will be hard to believe what the site has become.
“Henty is here to support farmers with a first class exhibition venue.’’
Over the past two years, Moane Fitzgerald Constructions has laid a bitumen emulsion base in Petticoat Lane, with hardstand tar sealed bases to the two large marquees to either side of Petticoat Lane greatly improving the enjoyment of stallholders and attendees.
They added a new verandah, toilets and sealed flooring to the HMFD bar, sealed pedestrian entry points at the eastern and western car parks, completed drainage works, refurbished the main toilet facilities, and constructed an amenities block of 10 showers and two dedicated parent and disabled facilities.
Mr Mo’ane said the total value of the improvements was more than $600,000.
He said the new hardstand area under the new Country Lifestyle shed would be extended to increase the exhibition area and comfort of exhibitors and patrons.
“More importantly, the Henty co-operative will have a permanent water-proof structure allowing for the accommodation of future events,’’ he said.
As part of an overall strategic plan, the site has undergone four distinct stages of development aimed at year-round use.
The first stage was the refurbishment of all catering facilities, with improved benches and cooking facilities, completed in 2015.
The second stage involved the improvements to the site drainage to eliminate flooding of display and activities areas.
The third stage was general road improvements to the overall site and exhibition areas in Petticoat Lane.
The fourth stage has been to improve the toilet facilities.
“This year we are maintaining and servicing what we have completed in the last few years, and will be tar sealing the eastern side of Petticoat Lane for the new Country Lifestyle shed,’’ Mr Mo’ane said.
“This will be operational for HMFD 2016.
“What we do as principal sponsors is overlaid by the HMFD committee’s strategic plan to prepare the site for growth and year round events.’’
Chris and step-son James Fitzgerald founded Moane Fitzgerald Constructions with a focus on creating employment opportunities for family members.
“From day one, our main market has been the farming sector – we can repair existing roads, whether road base or tar seal,’’ Mr Mo’ane said.
“We provide tar sealing of roads around homesteads to reduce dust and hard stand areas around workshops and farm equipment storage areas.
“We are the only NSW Government preferred civil engineering and civil works contractors in the Riverina.
“Being preferred contractors is about credibility and meeting strict criteria on financial performance and quality of work.’’