Grenfell is to stage a reunion of former Junior Farmer/Rural Youth organisation members as part of its 150th celebrations in October.
The reunion will be held on Saturday, October 8, at the Grenfell Showground, with organisers optimistic there will be strong local support, along with statewide and interstate interest for the event.
Reunion convenor Jim Griffiths, said the adopted midday luncheon format would assist in drawing former members from a wide area of NSW based on the response to similar events at Dubbo in 2013 and Tamworth last year.
“From Broken Hill to the Sydney suburbs, and all points north and south across NSW, the inaugural Junior Farmer organisation flourished under a club-based structure beginning in November 1928.
“State leaders of the time saw the structure as a way to encourage wide ranging agricultural objectives, promote interest in community affairs, ignite a spirit of competition, and promote personal development amongst 10 to 25-year-olds.
“Focusing on these life objectives gained strong financial and personnel support from the likes of Ampol, State Bank, P&O Shipping, Dunlop Australia, Bank of NSW, and a host of others, with annual agricultural shows highlighting club and individual achievements,” Mr Griffiths said.
Records indicate that more than 100,000 members, along with 20,000 club leaders and helpers passed through the ranks of the Junior Farmer/Rural Youth organisation during its existence from 1928 till 2001.
The 1950s, sixties and early 1970s saw thousands of young people excel and benefit from the project based structure, which also encompassed public speaking, debating, and meeting procedure.
“Under the guideance of a state council comprising agricultural, political, and community leaders, the Department of Education administered organisation employed as many as 31 professional organisers and supervisors at the height of the movement’s success,” Mr Griffiths said.
“Towns like Grenfell, villages and localities across NSW supported the formation of clubs which operated under the Junior Farmer banner until a name change to Rural Youth was adopted from July 1, 1966.
“This was designed to address lifestyle changes, expanding education options, and cater for increasing suburban youth interests ,” he said.
The Weddin Shire, based on Grenfell, hosted many clubs and members from the early 1930’ until the organisation’s gradual statewide demise in the 1980s, wrapping up in 2001 with less than 300 members.
“The organising committee is eager to support Grenfell’s 150th celebrations, and what better way to do it than bring people from all over NSW to the town and shire in September – October,” Mr Griffiths said.
Iconic Australian poet Henry Lawson, bushranger Ben Hall, cricketer Stan McCabe, and tennis great Jan Lehane are synonymous with Grenfell and district, intermingled with 150 years of gold rush based history and today’s modern farming and livestock enterprises.
The organising committee comprises Stephen Lander, Philip Walmsley, Nevin Hughes, Dorothy Star, Bruce Simpson (treasurer), Justin Armstrong, Maurice Simpson, with Jim Griffiths elected as convenor.
For further information contact Jim Griffiths on 0427 967 100, or email: email@example.com
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