Stories celebrate farm life, love and field days
From where it all began to the proudly passionate community that made it happen, this year’s Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days is all about celebrating its stories.
Chairperson Nadine McMorran said without the foresight of a small committee of Dowerin locals 55 years ago, the town would not be able to enjoy the facilities and services that it has access to today.
Mrs McMorran said looking back at this moment prompted the field days team to choose “Celebrating Our Story” as this year’s theme.
“We felt that the rich history of our event and the numerous stories of our volunteers, exhibitors and visitors needed to be told,” she said.
“I am still in awe of the dedication our local community has to our event. The community literally drops everything in their normal lives to ensure Dowerin Field Days is a success.”
Mrs McMorran said the theme, as well as sharing the stories of those behind field days, had become all the more important after the death of a few key members of the community and the subsequent loss of their stories.
“It is stories such as these that we have endeavoured to seek out and tell to highlight their significance to our region,” she said.
The numerous “Faces of Field Days” stories will be displayed in the revamped Art Area, which will also include historical accounts of a number of Wheatbelt communities.
Tasked with compiling the long list of personal adventures was Dowerin Field Days assistant event co-ordinator Tiffany Davey.
“I think we underestimate the importance of recording and writing down people’s stories, and a lot of the people I was able to interview have such incredible stories to tell,” Ms Davey said.
“Their perspective of things and what they have learnt throughout their lives, is something that I know I am going to remember, especially the advice they gave me and what they said they would tell to their younger selves.”
The experience has also brought Ms Davey closer to the community members she has interviewed.
“While my family has farmed in Konnongorring for many years and I knew their last names and had seen them down the street, I had never sat down and had a conversation with them,” she said.
Many of Ms Davey’s subjects told her it was rare for them to sit down with someone and recount stories of their past, such as living through World War II. She discovered even they found reflecting on the past to be a positive experience. “It’s not often that we ask these in-depth questions, because that’s the way the world is — we are so busy,” Ms Davey said.
“So being able to take the time and have those conversations about their life was incredible. And my relationship with them has changed since writing these stories, because I now know a lot about their lives.”
Not only has the initiative brought to light the tales of the people of field days, it has highlighted what farming used to be like.
“These stories provide such an insight into not only the history of Dowerin Field Days, but also the history of the agricultural industry and the region,” Ms Davey said.
“For example, Wal Fairlie talks about a fire that wiped out his whole property in the 1940s and how he had to recover from that.”
“Many also remember going out and bagging wheat and sowing up the bags — that’s how they used to harvest.”
Several Faces of Field Days contributors included volunteers Carolyn Metcalf, Ashton Hagboom, Wes Hagboom and Dale Metcalf, but many more have taken part in the initiative.
Ms McMorran’s story will also take pride of place in the Art Area display.
“Every person’s story is worth telling and this is definitely an indication of the passion members have for our community,” Ms McMorran said.
“We have encouraged exhibitors to adopt our theme throughout their displays and I look forward to seeing what they come up with.”
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