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                                                                                     Past Members Association

 2016 Reunion and Industry Tours

What’s news with Past Members……

The reunion and industry tour weekend on 16/17thApril was a resounding success.  34 Members came from all over the State (including 8 from the south) to spend a really interesting couple of days on the Far North West coast, visiting the Cape Grim Rain Farm, Pure Sense Candles and enjoying a hearty meal at Agritas Training College. 

Several people used this event to have an extended holiday by arriving early to enable them to do a guided tour of Woolnorth, or staying on in the area for a few extra days afterwards.  One enterprising couple from the South brought their motorhome, then travelled home via the East Coast for a few extra days.   Either way, it was an energised group who thoroughly enjoyed an interesting weekend (and beyond for some).  

To read the full report of this wonderful event, please click here.

2016 Agfest "Afternoon Tea Muster"

 Despite the wet and windy conditions at Agfest 2016 it was a great event as usual and well done to the current Rural Youth team. Many of us have been on Agfest Committee and really know what an effort and commitment it takes.  

On Thursday afternoon our Association hosted its annual 'Agfest Afternoon Tea Muster' with over 50 people in attendance and you could tell from the buzz of conversation it was highly successful.  Someone asked "Why meet up again, our Rural Youth days are long past?"  Well, this gathering proved that, yes, people do enjoy meeting up with friends from the past, but you can also meet new people and make useful network connections for your current day life.   Thank you to Kate Coad, Agfest Chair, for her welcome. 


TRYPMA Executive - Michael Gordon, Carol Axton, Judy McLean           Nancy Bell & Helen Davidson                    



Picnic/BBQ/Farm Tour at 'Glendale Olive Grove', White Hills. Saturday 30th May 2015

With the aim of value adding to the very popular picnic/bbq, a farm tour of Christine Mann’s Glendale Olive Grove was held on Saturday 30th May.   It was a somewhat chilly day, but the rain stayed away and Christine’s shed proved comfortable shelter from the wind.  We learned about the various varieties of olives, the harvesting process and plans Christine has for her new venture.  She was a recent applicant in the RIRDC Women’s Award and won the Encouragement Award for her vision of the future development of the farm.

Glendale is the second largest olive grove in Tasmania with 9,000 trees all bursting with olives ready to be harvested.  The process is somewhat labour intensive, so if you have a spare weekend or two, volunteers are most welcome.

Around 20 people attended the day and a $5 per family donation was collected and $70 was presented to Elizabeth Skirving, CEO of Rural Business Tasmania to go to the Rural Relief Fund.

Christine explained the whys and wherefore’s of the different varieties of olive trees.  It was a very interesting farm tour with lots of questions about the varieties of olives, how they differed, growing and harvesting methods, marketing, etc, etc.  Tastings and sales were available and most people went home with their bottles of Christine’s award winning oil.

Glendale oils were awarded a Bronze and a Silver Award from the Australian Olive Association at the ‘National EVOO Show’ (Extra Virgin Olive Oil Show) for their 2013 vintage.   For more information about Olive Oils, see the website:  or contact Christine if you have a group that would like to do a farm tour.

Carol chose the occasion to make a presentation on behalf of the Past Members Association to pay tribute to Judy McLean who retired after 33 years as State Administrator of Rural Youth earlier this year and is now a member of the Past Member’s Association and current Secretary.

If you have any suggestions for our 2016 statewide gathering, please let us know.  We have already had one offer from Mike Buckby to tour Cape Grim Water and to incorporate a north-west weekend.  News posts will be available on the Past Member’s page of the Rural Youth website and we invite you to “like” us on Facebook.


"Afternoon Tea Muster" at Agfest 2015

It was a beautiful Autumn day on the deck during the Thursday of Agfest when a floating population of approximately 30 Past Members dropped by to enjoy some refreshments and say hi to people they knew and to meet some people they didn’t previously know.

Thank you to Michael for hosting the regular “Agfest Afternoon Tea Muster” and to everyone who dropped by – it was really nice catching up.  Unfortunately we were all too busy chatting and no-one thought to take any photos!

Note:  This get together is held annually, so please drop by if you’re on site any year.

Southern Region Catchup

A group of past members from the Southern Region recently had a 'Catchup' afternoon to reminisce about past times and events, with the Project Historian Nic Haygarth present to capture some moments-in-time for the Rural Youth History project.

Meg Hazell, Rosalie Bevan, Helen Geard & Wesley Hazell
Meg Hazell, Rosalie Bevan, Helen Geard & Wesley Hazell


Agfest Gathering 2013

"Kick-Back on the Deck" was held again at Agfest 2014.

The Australian Reunion of Exchangees Assn was held in Margaret River, Western Australia in May 2014. It will next be held in Queensland in 2016.


Agfest Gathering 2012

What terrible weather for Agfest Field Days this year, still didn't deter the hardy! Memories for many if us of yearspast. On the Thursday afternoon the sun cam out at just the right time and we 'kicked back' on the deck at the Functions Centre and has a cuppa or glass of refreshment. Although a smaller group, we enjoyed the meet up and look forward to this annual event. Several of our past members assisted by Agfest Commitee with various volunteering duties.

Australian Rural Exchangees Assoc National Reunion 2012 - A Huge Success!

Tasmania hosted the 2012 reunion for all current and past exchangees throughout Australia. A sub- committee, headed by Tasmanian Convenor, Elizabeth Skirving, planned a varied weekend based at Launceston. Lord Mayor van Zetten welcomed everyone at a Civic Reception on the Friday evening then a group chatted the night away at an informal dinner in a local restaurant. Saturday morning up bright and early to head off on an entertaining and informative tour of the northern region, including the Tamar Valley, Beaconsfield Mine & Museum and Entally National Heritage House at Hadspen. Tour leader, John Dent was ably assisted by Peter Stokes and Don Walker. Back to Launceston with just enough time to change for the Gala Dinner at the Country Club – complete with a fireworks display (or was that really for the Country Club's own 30th birthday celebrations?!). During the evening we heard from Amanda Bayles on behalf of the Rural Youth Organisation of Tasmania, Elizabeth Skirving, Tasmanian Rural Youth Past Members Assn and Warren Truss, Leader of the National Party and exchangee to Tasmania 1967. Robin Medwin hosted the night and his roving mic often had us in stitches with stories from the past! Certificate presentations were made to those who had achieved 50 years since their exchange and who had maintained an active interest. They included: Pat Badcock, Peter Lambert, Greg Taylor, Bruce Lloyd, Darryl & Warren Barker, Don Johnston, Don Walker, Geoff Maidment, Henry Burbury, Patricia Barker, Kevin Shadbolt, Noel Maughan, Walter & Don McShane, Vincent Bresnehan, Paul Calvert, John Charleston and many others. The National meeting was held on Sunday morning to discuss ways of supporting Rural Youth in states where it needs support, a contact person in each state, revising the 50 year presentations to 30years and other reunions. A presentation was made to Carol Axton for all her secretarial work in pulling the threads of the reunion together and updating the national database of members.


Group attending meeting

The next Australian Reunion will be hosted by Western Australia in 2014 in the Margaret River area.

Contact persons: WA: Geoff Maidment; Vic: Bruce Lloyd; NSW: Phyllis Ball; SA: Deb Clarke; Qld: Ken Stephenson; Tasmania: Carol Axton-Thompson.


Agfest Gathering 2011

We had a display and drop-in centre at Agfest Field Days this year which proved very successful. On the Thursday we hosted afternoon tea and other refreshments to about 40 past members and guests. We plan to do this again every year – more memorabilia is needed for our display, so please contribute. Several of our past members also volunteered to assist the Agfest Committee on duties such as ticket box, courtesy bus driving and clean-up.

Wesley  Hazell & Sharon Symmons


North West Region Reunion Dinner


What a night! Terrific roll up from Junior Farmer and Rural Youth. MC Daryl Barker (Life Member & originally West Pine Club) hosted a wonderful evening at the Beachway Function Centre, Ulverstone on 27th August 2011 with a roll up of 101 people. History Project Office, Nic Haygarth was present and took the opportunity to talk to people about the past and could not help but be impressed on just how strong the North West Region had been. Elizabeth Skirving, State Convenor and Committee memebers Michael Gordon, Carol Axton-Thompson and Dianne Stokes were also present. Vance McRae come from Melbourne (ex Forth and wife of Agriculture Office with Junior Farmers, Glen McRae). The first Miss Rural Youth, Suzanne (Eaton) Charleston from Forth was also there. Lucky door prize was won by Jane (Littlejohn) Reid.

Special thanks to the Organising Committee Daryl Barker, Dianne and Peter Stokes, Carol Axton-Thompson, John Charleston and Hartley Rockliff.