HORSHAM’S Ian Ladlow describes his time as a Wimmera Machinery Field Days committee member as an adventure.
The long-serving volunteer was recognised for his 50-year commitment to the event this year.
The field days committee presented him with a trophy at a lunch on Thursday.
The former Dooen farmer said he had thoroughly enjoyed his time on the committee and hoped to stay involved for a few more years.
He first volunteered at the 1968 field days and by the annual meeting in June he was on the committee.
He was a chief steward, was president in 1987 and 1988 and still has a strong involvement in the women’s pavilion, now called the Country Lifestyle Pavilion.
“I was a steward for a few years and looked after the demonstrations,” Mr Ladlow said.
“Then one of the guys on the committee at the time asked if I was interested in joining.
“The field days was always something I had been around, so I thought it would be a good idea.”
Mr Ladlow said the early days of the field days were a lot different to what the event was like now.
“When I started, there was three caravans on site – one was for the secretary and another was for the chief steward.
“It was very cramped and there was no air-conditioners in those days.”
Mr Ladlow said the field days site was also a lot smaller.
“It was only half of what it is these days – it just went out one side from where the Moore Exhibition Centre is now,” he said.
“There was only one toilet block and it was so far away from anywhere.”
The field days mostly consisted of machinery demonstrations at the time.
“The site was very different – it was all demonstrations and it was really hard work,” Mr Ladlow said.
However, the event started to evolve in the 1970s.
Mr Ladlow said a women’s pavilion was built in 1977.
Then Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser opened the field days that year and his wife Tamara officially opened the women’s pavilion.
“We started the ladies’ pavilion, which then became the general interest pavilion,” Mr Ladlow said.
“I’ve been involved with getting that organised ever since.”
Mr Ladlow said the field days had to change to keep up with the times.
“Offering more general interest attractions was something that had to happen,” he said.
“Women were getting more involved in agriculture and we started having women on the committee who ran their own farms.”
Mr Ladlow said he had thoroughly enjoyed being involve with the field days committee.
“It’s been an adventure,” he said.
“It’s a really good committee and it always has been.
“It’s been fun.
“Everyone puts in and enjoys what they are doing – anyone who doesn’t enjoy it doesn’t last very long.
“We all work well together and everyone is happy to be there.”
In the past few years it has become a family affair for the Ladlows, with Ian’s son Beau also joining the committee.
Beau presented his father with the 50-year trophy on Thursday.
“It’s been a great pleasure to be involved with my father – the field days is like a right of passage for my family,” he said.
“I’m one of four children and we’ve spent all of our lives being around the event.”
Mr Ladlow said he hoped to continue on the committee for more years to come.
“I don’t think as many people would get to 50 years now as we are all moving in a much faster world – people don’t have as much time,” he said.
“But I hope to continue on.
“I won’t get another 50 years, but a few more will do.”