Former Deputy Prime Minister and HMFD patron, Tim Fischer AC, was honoured with the unveiling of a plaque during the Henty Machinery Field Days official opening on September 17.
HMFD director Ross Edwards dedicated the plaque to the late Mr Fischer, who had been made an honorary patron in 2001 and died on August 22.
As the Member for Sturt, Mr Fischer had lobbied the then Agricultural Minister Geoff Crawford to allow a travelling stock reserve 8km east of Henty to be used as a greenfield site for the field days.
“In 1976 Tim was able to secure a 50 year lease on this reserve,” Mr Edwards said.
“With a lot of hard work by volunteers in the early days it has turned into the facility we have today.
“We have been able to convert it from leasehold to freehold and is now owned by the HMFD Co-operative.”
A train enthusiast, Mr Fischer had advocated for a drop-in station for the Very Fast Train route at Henty to bring people out of Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne to the field days.
“Tim was a great mentor to the field days – one of the things I remember vividly when I took over the role was him saying we’ve got to have young people involved,” Mr Edwards said.
“Tim, I can now say we have the greatest bunch of young people around this field day you could ever wish to have.
“He was right, we’ve got to have young people in agriculture as it has an ageing population and it is something we’ve got to address.
“Tim did a massive amount of work behind the scenes – we have lost a great honorary patron and Australia has lost a wonderful man who always put the nation to the forefront.”
Mr Fischer’s wife, Judy Brewer, said it was an honour to have Tim commemorated at the field days site.
“Henty was always central to our lives – the minute we got through one, the dates would go in the diary for next year, and we would work on how Tim was going to get there, no matter where he was or whether parliament was sitting,” she said.
“It was just so special to him and we never missed one except when Kevin Rudd sent him to Rome for three years.
“The first year he was in Rome, the boys and I attended on his behalf, and I sent him photos of the boys at The Stump to make him feel homesick.
“The Stump was our meeting place as it is for thousands of people who come every year.
“Tim always wanted to be here as it was the centre where most people were and the food as well.
“Machinery wasn’t really his forte but he did love the Machine of the Year, and the innovations because for Tim everything was all about the future.”