This year marks the 50th annual Elmore Field Days and there are many people from across northern Victoria, community who have been involved since the event’s beginning.By Laura Griffin
This year marks the 50th annual Elmore Field Days and there are people from across northern Victoria, or their families, who been involved since the event’s beginning.
Cobram’s Bourke Hire has provided marquees and accessories for exhibitors for decades and original owner Kevin Bourke remembers big changes, floods and fun.
Mr Bourke said the original Ayson’s Reserve site was picturesque but being along the Campaspe River, it was flood-prone.
He remembers a flash flood in the mid-1960s caused a panic and a Connor Shea One Way Plough — a big machine at the time — was unsaleable because even though it was pulled apart and parts replaced, everyone in the district knew it had been submerged and only when the water level dropped, could it be retrieved.
Mr Bourke said the old site had other logistical challenges.
‘‘Pandemonium reigned at the end of the field day on Thursday evening — the only access road was a major road for the region and everyone tried to leave at the end of the day.’’
He recalls a few storms hit both sites and caused damage to exhibits and equipment, but fortunately Bourke Hire avoided any major damage.
‘‘We formed a very good and close working relationship with the committee and made many friendships also.’’
Andersons Electrics would put on morning tea for the Bourke Hire staff, many of them local farmers and their sons hired as casual labour.
‘‘Elmore, like many other machinery field days, faced a major challenge about 10 years ago with the farming community being severely impacted by drought, and difficult trading conditions at home and abroad,’’ Mr Bourke said.
‘‘The Elmore Field Days Committee responded to the challenge magnificently from where I stand now as a very interested observer.
‘‘All past and present committee representatives should be very proud of their contribution to the farming and business community, and the other regional machinery field days.’’
Elmore and District Machinery Field Days president David Trewick felt fortunate to achieve the 50th milestone and said it reflected the ‘‘significant energies’’ that had gone into making the annual event such as success.
‘‘There are a number of us now involved who represent the third generation of the farming families who conceived and created the Elmore Field Days all those years ago,’’ Mr Trewick said.
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