Faces behind Dowerin Machinery Field Day: Nadine McMorran

Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days chairperson Nadine McMorran.
Camera IconDowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days chairperson Nadine McMorran. Credit: Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days

From humble beginnings in 1964, the Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days has grown into one of WA’s biggest regional events, injecting $1.5 million into the region in the form of community grants and investments in infrastructure in the past 10 years alone.

This year, the event will be celebrating its story by shining a light on the faces behind field days, from its army of volunteers to the visitors and exhibitors who share its rich history.

One such face is that of Nadine McMorran.

Ms McMorran has many titles. She is a mother to three daughters, a farmer, a respected Dowerin community member, president of the P&C, vice-president of the local Women In Farming Enterprises committee, captain of the local ladies hockey club and chairwoman of the Dowerin Events Management board. When asked why, she replied: “I want to show my daughters they can be anything.”

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After finishing school in Year 10, Ms McMorran moved to Dowerin with the aim of taking on a new job. She said she remembered a daunting walk into the Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days office for an interview. While initially she did not get the job, in 2002 she started as an assistant event co-ordinator with two remarkable women as mentors, one being Ann Rackham, the first chairwoman of DEM board. “When Ann became chairperson, it was a big deal,” she said.

Ms McMorran’s first year as assistant event co-ordinator was known as the “Year of the Cabbage”, because of one hefty catering order of eight crates of cabbages, rather than eight cabbages. The year after was the “Year of the Milk”, because the whole town ran out of milk. She believes it is important to be able to laugh in times such as these.

Volunteering at field days is about giving back to the community and meeting new people.

When asked to describe the women of the field days, Ms McMorran said they were kind and hardworking. “They get in and get it done, but always finish the day with a smile,” she said.

Now, 16 years down the track — four years as assistant event co-ordinator, three as event co-ordinator and two as deputy chairwoman — Ms McMorran is set for her second year as the dedicated leader of the DEM board.

So where does her love of the field days come from? “It’s the people ... they all have a story and they instil values into you, knowing they put everything on hold for a week for something they’re passionate about.”

Among all of this, she married a local farmer and the transition to life on the farm began. “I was lucky because of my regional background, but it can be hard because of the isolation and you’re basically a single parent for 90 per cent of the year ... people don’t understand the hours.”

Ms McMorran strongly encourages all regional women to take time out to have a cuppa with a friend. After the birth of her second daughter, she was diagnosed with postnatal depression and believes women put too much pressure on themselves.

Since becoming a parent, she has learnt a lot about what truly matters. If she could tell her younger self or any young women aspiring to be a leader something, she would say: “Stick to your guns. Go out there and prove them wrong. If you’re passionate about something, it will show.”

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