Re­u­nion tells story of con­fi­dence

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY DEAN LAW­SON

Lon­gerenong Col­lege lead­ers noted a grow­ing sense of con­fi­dence in the fu­ture of the in­sti­tu­tion dur­ing ma­jor re­u­nion cel­e­bra­tions at the week­end.

Busi­ness de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer Donna Win­field said the 130-year an­niver­sary din­ner, tours and ac­tiv­i­ties pro­vided the plat­form for a pro­found shift in at­mos­phere sur­round­ing the col­lege.

“This was quite ob­vi­ous. In com­par­i­son with a re­u­nion from 10 years ago, we’ve seen a shift in feel­ing from con­sol­i­da­tion and sur­vival to one of op­por­tu­nity, progress and growth,” she said.

“You could sense a high de­gree of cer­tainty and as­sur­ance about the col­lege and the di­rec­tion it was head­ing, and it was fan­tas­tic.”

Ms Win­field said a gala din­ner, at­tended by more than 350 peo­ple at Wim­mera Events Cen­tre’s Alan Heard Pavil­ion, was a ma­jor high­light of week­end ac­tiv­i­ties.

“The week­end was enor­mous. We had peo­ple com­ing from Pa­pua New Guinea, New Zealand and most states of Aus­tralia,” she said.

“There were so many dif­fer­ent peo­ple there – peo­ple who have spent life­times in a va­ri­ety of ca­reers, some who had their starts or were some­how in­volved with the col­lege,” she said.

“We had ev­ery­one from agron­o­mists to live­stock peo­ple, oth­ers who worked in var­i­ous sci­en­tific fields, pro­fes­sors, busi­ness man­agers and life-time work­ers from all facets of agri­cul­ture.

“It was just an amaz­ing gath­er­ing of all sorts of peo­ple.

“Every per­son there in some way, shape or form was con­nected to Lon­gerenong Col­lege.

“There was laugh­ter and sto­ries aplenty. It was re­ally nice hear­ing about the di­ver­sity in ca­reers as well as sto­ries about the good days. It made the even­ing very spe­cial.”

Guest speak­ers at the din­ner in­cluded for­mer Mem­ber for Mallee Peter Fisher and Vic­to­rian Farm­ers Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent David Jochinke,

“In com­par­i­son with a re­u­nion from 10 years ago, we’ve seen a shift in feel­ing from con­sol­i­da­tion and sur­vival to one of op­por­tu­nity, progress and growth” – Donna Win­field

both for­mer col­lege stu­dents. One of the col­lege’s first fe­male stu­dents Mar­ion Wil­son, cur­rent stu­dent Brid­get Mcken­zie and cam­pus head John Gold­smith also spoke at the din­ner.

Ms Win­field said the week­end also in­volved a va­ri­ety of tours and dis­plays.

“It was such a pos­i­tive week­end and peo­ple were thrilled to hear of the progress of, and what the fu­ture held for the col­lege since Skillinves­t, then Workco, took over run­ning the in­sti­tu­tion 13 years ago,” she said.

Lon­gerenong Col­lege, de­spite its rep­u­ta­tion as a lead­ing hands-on train­ing ground for the state’s agri­cul­tural in­dus­try, has had a his­tory of peaks and troughs.

Its fu­ture was in se­ri­ous doubt lit­tle more than a decade ago and now it is the base for a $3.6-mil­lion Demon­stra­tion of Agri­cul­tural Tech­nol­ogy Ap­pli­ca­tions – DATA – farm project and has opened its doors to in­ter­na­tional stu­dents.

In 1889 Lon­gerenong had an en­rol­ment of 39 stu­dents.

This year the col­lege has 100 full-time stu­dents, 42 ap­pren­tices and 140 Vo­ca­tional Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing in Schools stu­dents.

MEM­O­RIES: Leigh Povey was among hun­dreds of peo­ple rekin­dling con­nec­tions with Lon­gerenong Col­lege dur­ing 130-year an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions at the week­end.

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