Countryman - - FRONT PAGE - Ann Rawl­ings

Spring was in the air at the 45th an­nual Newdegate Ma­chin­ery Field Days, with two days of warm weather at­tract­ing a record num­ber of vis­i­tors through the gates.

With pun­ters ar­riv­ing in the small Great South­ern town from Ger­ald­ton to east of Esper­ance, the car parks were full and the airstrip be­came home to a flock of light aircraft.

The fi­nal tally of vis­i­tors sat just shy of 17,000 for the two days, with more than 550 chil­dren adding to the ac­tion at the fam­ily-friendly event.

Newdegate Ma­chin­ery Field Days pres­i­dent Ash­ley McDon­ald said the lo­cal com­mu­nity was at the heart of the event, which this year had more than 350 ex­hibitors.

“With­out the sup­port of our en­tire com­mu­nity, this event would not be pos­si­ble. It is fan­tas­tic to see our com­mu­nity come to­gether,” he said.

Mr McDon­ald also paid trib­ute to the many spon­sors of the field days, say­ing their con­tri­bu­tion was in­valu­able, and wel­comed the return of a wool in­dus­try icon.

Of­fi­cially open­ing this year’s event, Dyson Jones co-founder Ken Dyson proved to be a star at­trac­tion, with plenty of his for­mer wool-grow­ing clients — and friends — keen for a chat.

Join­ing Mr Dyson in Newdegate was his wife Bev and son Shane, who Mr Dyson said had paid a sur­prise visit to the field days with his “grand-dog Salty” by his side.

Mr Dyson, now re­tired, has con­tin­ued to be an ad­vo­cate for Dyson Jones in the lo­cal com­mu­nity, and was proud of the wool mar­ket­ing busi­ness’ longheld spon­sor­ship of the field days.

“I’ve been a bit over­whelmed by the amount of ex­hibitors present,” he said.

“It has been a rev­e­la­tion com­ing back to the Newdegate Ma­chin­ery Field Days and I ap­pre­ci­ated the in­vi­ta­tion to open the event.

“The Newdegate Ma­chin­ery Field Days is a spe­cial agri­cul­tural event. It is a credit to all of those in­volved, from the pres­i­dent to the com­mit­tee, of­fice­bear­ers and vol­un­teers, who make it all work.”

Agri­cul­tural ma­chin­ery has been the main at­trac­tion at the field days since its in­cep­tion, with this year be­ing no dif­fer­ent as deal­er­ships show­cased their big­gest and best prod­ucts across the site.

Adding colour to the field days scene were ex­hibitors of­fer­ing their ex­per­tise in live­stock, grain and wa­ter stor­age so­lu­tions, soil health, fer­tiliser and fi­nance and mar­ket­ing.

In the Fam­ily In­ter­est Dis­play Pav­il­ion, the Dyson Jones Merino-Snug fash­ion pa­rades put a spot­light on woollen cloth­ing, with vis­i­tors en­joy­ing the dis­plays of a range of ex­hibitors cov­er­ing food, fash­ion, flow­ers and ed­u­ca­tion.

Or­gan­is­ers also brought at­ten­tion to a range of art projects dis­played around the site.

“Our lo­cal com­mu­nity has some very tal­ented in­di­vid­u­als, which could be seen again this year in the Ru­ral Bank Art Ex­hi­bi­tion and Com­pe­ti­tion,” said Mikaela Knill, spon­sor­ship and pro­mo­tions co-or­di­na­tor.

“On dis­play in the Dyson Jones Pav­il­ion was beau­ti­ful art­work by our art co-or­di­na­tor Melissa Cu­g­ley and her tal­ented fam­ily. Us­ing wire and old sheep tags, the Cu­g­ley fam­ily cre­ated some ex­tra­or­di­nary and colour­ful sculp­tures.”

With the clean-up of the field days site now com­plete, Ms Knill said the com­mit­tee had al­ready set its sights on 2018.

“We hope peo­ple can join us and ex­pe­ri­ence a won­der­ful day out for the en­tire fam­ily,” she said.

Pic­tures: Ann Rawl­ings Pho­tos avail­able at west­

Newdegate Pri­mary School Years 4-6 stu­dents with teach­ers Amanda Shalders and Fran Cuff on the sym­bol of the Newdegate Ma­chin­ery Field Days, a 1921 Lanz, the first trac­tor used in Newdegate.

Bev and Ken Dyson, co-founder of Dyson Jones, at the Newdegate Ma­chin­ery Field Days.

Newdegate Field Days pres­i­dent Ash­ley McDon­ald.

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