- 18 November 2019
Something a little more extravagant was this year’s aim for Regional Development Australia (RDA) Southern Inland’s annual celebration of National Ag Day. The dinner celebrated National Ag Day a week early, on the 14th of November, with the aim to raise awareness in the lead up to the National Day.
After previous years of successful and relaxed BBQs, there was change in the air as almost 140 guests were treated to a delightful evening at the Grace-Millsom Function Centre with special guest speaker Glenn McGrath. The evening kicked off with canapes and guests had the chance to mingle with the cricketing legend, catch up with friends, grab a glass of local wine and settle in.
National Ag Day is held on the 21st of November each year and brings awareness to the importance of Australia’s farmers and our agricultural sector. RDA Southern Inland, with support from a number of sponsors, organised the Southern Inland Ag Day Gala Dinner to recognise local farmers and agricultural businesses residing in the Southern Inland region.
The generous sponsors of the evening including NSW Farmers, Coordinare, Department of Primary Industries, Tablelands Farming Systems, Divalls Bulk Haulage, Southern Region Business Enterprise Centre, Agnew Building Supplies, Local Land Services and the Goulburn Post, helped to make the night just that little bit more affordable for the guests .
Before the event’s locally sourced paddock to plate menu was served, MC Dave Banham, from NSW Farmers, introduced special guest speaker, former Australian fast-bowler, President of the McGrath Foundation and true country boy at heart, Glenn McGrath.
Glenn captivated the crowd and reminisced on his childhood growing up in the country and “wished his children had the same upbringing”, declaring the bush to be a place of freedom and space. Glenn also explained that he worked on a cotton farm before making the move to the city to play cricket. The crowd was amused by his inventive way of moving from country to city, as he joked about his 13 month long stay in a caravan he drove up from Dubbo to Sydney, of which he “could only describe as character building”.
Glenn spoke about his cricket days fondly with one of his mantras being “always looking to improve, never be satisfied”. He highlighted moments with Shane Warne as the crowd laughed along with him while he described humorous anecdotes about their friendship.
Glenn continued to outline his life, special achievements and experiences, including those with his late wife, Jane McGrath. It was something special to witness Glenn speak about his and Jane’s decision to create the McGrath Foundation to help those with breast cancer access breast care nurses and other forms of support.
To conclude his talk, Glenn reminded the audience that “you never know what is around the corner” and in times of adversity, what matters is “how you pick yourself up and carry on and it’s the people in your life that support you and allow you to do that”. This statement certainly resonated with the farmers in the room currently experiencing a prolonged drought and tough conditions.
After, guests enjoyed their delicious 3 course meal, highlighting the Marianvale Blue – Australian Murray Cod, Dewsburys Pork Belly, Windellema Asparagus and Parkesbourne berries. It was also time to draw winners from the raffle, with the main prize being 2 tickets to the Pink Cricket Test in Sydney and a night accommodation, sponsored by Tablelands Farming Systems.
A cricket bat signed by the 2018 Prime Minister’s XI was also auctioned off by Landmark’s, Matt Joseph. The Southern Region Business Enterprise Centre’s, Andrew Haskins, was the big winner, purchasing the bat for $2,300.
In total, over $5000 was donated to the McGrath Foundation, a great result. Just as importantly, the event gave our farmers a night away from the farm and a chance to relax and listen to an Aussie icon. RDA Southern Inland and sponsors are already looking forward to next year’s celebrations.