Tribute: Former Henty Machinery Field Days chairman Colin Wood dies

SOUTHERN MEMORIES: Colin Wood will be remembered as the longest-serving chairman of Henty Machinery Field Days and a stalwart for the rural community.
SOUTHERN MEMORIES: Colin Wood will be remembered as the longest-serving chairman of Henty Machinery Field Days and a stalwart for the rural community.

“HE was one of the most genuine and sincere people you could come across, he put his heart behind everything he got involved in,” said Ross Edwards after the death of Colin Wood.

Colin Wood of southern NSW died on Tuesday and is remembered as the longest serving chairman of the Henty Machinery Field Days.

Mr Wood had a vision to make the field days one of the best agricultural events in Australia. And that is a feat that many people say he achieved.

He held the position of field days chairman for more than 30 years. Current chairman of Henty Machinery Field Days, Ross Edwards of Yerong Creek reflected on the life and achievements of Mr Wood. 

“I have known Colin since we were teenagers,” Mr Edwards said.

“He was one of those people who gets the job done … he was a genuine leader,” he said. 

“It was an honour to follow him as the next chairman and over the years we used to bump ideas off one another,” he said. 

Mr Edwards said the entire agricultural sector and southern NSW would remember the good work of Mr Wood. He said he would be remembered by the machinery companies, exhibitors and visitors to the field days. 

Mr Wood also held roles in local government and on the board of St Paul’s College at Walla Walla. 

He was 79 and farmed at Cookardinia in southern NSW. 

His connection with the field days goes back to the original one-day header school held at the Henty showgrounds in 1961. At 19, he was working for Henty contract silage and haymaker, Milton Taylor.

Mr Taylor  was the driving force behind the first header display at the Henty showground where Colin demonstrated hay and silage equipment for the assembled crowd of interested farmers.

Colin was invited onto the Henty Field Days committee in the mid 1960s and was always quick to help out with preparations for each field day, pegging out exhibitor sites or preparing the car park.

He was elected chairman in 1973 and under his leadership the event moved to a three day format.

Colin worked with his directors and committee members to secure a permanent site on the Cookardinia Road – an old travelling stock reserve.

The committee turned to local clubs, organisations and schools to help with the mammoth task of field days catering.

Last year, Colin reflected on his connection with Henty upon the eve of the 40th anniversary at the permanent site.

“It was a great feeling to be able to get the respect of the community and sit down with them to work out a reasonable way of organising the catering, with a decent percentage of the profit being used to improve buildings and grounds,’’ he said.

“Our volunteer reach had expanded beyond Henty to benefit the communities of Holbrook, Yerong Creek, Walbundrie and Culcairn, and this is still maintained today.’’

Colin was pleased to see women and young people being welcomed as members of the co-operative.