NEWDEGATE CROWDS BASK IN SUNSHINE
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.
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.