All roads lead to Trangie for research station centenary

Terry Sim February 9, 2015

Sheep and cattle researchers are expected to hump their swags to Trangie this weekend to spend Valentine’s Day at the centenary celebration of the Trangie Agricultural Research Station.

TARC office supervisor and centenary co-ordinator Toni George said 124 people are booked for the Saturday night in the station’s Lindon Pavilion.

“A lot of great researchers have come out of Trangie.”

She expected many of the former TARC researchers to treat the event as a reunion.

“I’ve no doubt that will happen at the dinner.”

Ms George said the locals still affectionately call the station “the farm” and the day will be largely “Trangified” with a CWA morning tea, a local school organising lunch and a 48-seater air-conditioned coach from the town for tours 4000 hectare central west NSW property.

The station was established in 1914 and gazetted in 1915, and still undertakes sheep, cattle, rangeland and agronomic research. But Ms George said the day would be low key and laid back, with any welcome to tell their stories about the station.

Special forum at free community event

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) livestock research officer, Sue Mortimer, said the free community event, would have farm tours, market stalls, family entertainment and a special forum to mark the centre’s 100-year history. The forum would be lead by Bob Kilgour.

“We are inviting people to share their memories and uncover some of the tales from Trangie’s past,” Dr Mortimer said.

“Back in 1915, the new farm’s first manager Richard Ament lived in a canvas and hay-bale house with his family – the major mode of transport was the horse and in the early 1920s trials compared horse-drawn ploughs with new motorised tractor technology.

“The original Trangie Experiment Farm was at the forefront of technological change which came to the district, driving the expansion of livestock and cropping industries – today research at TARC continues to transform the way we live and farm.”

Ms George said about 1500 photos have been organised into a revolving slide show and there would also be other old framed photographs and trophies. The historical display would also include a huge eagles nest in the same room as the original TARC Prime computer.

“It (the computer) fits into a corner, definitely not on a desk,” she said.

Current sheep research owes a lot to Trangie

Current research owes much to the pioneers of the past, including sheep geneticist, Dr Fred Morley, who played a key role in expanding the Merino industry in western NSW.

According to former TARC research director, Don Saville, Dr Morley would work at night, at the Western Stores using their cash register to crunch numbers and analyse sheep statistics.

“The department later purchased a hand-operated mechanical Facit calculator, which was replaced by an electric Facit calculator until head office in Sydney purchased a mainframe computer,” Dr Saville said.

“Our researchers would board the overnight train to Sydney – they had to make sure all the figures were correct as they had only one chance with each data set before their return to Trangie the next day.

“A mainframe computer, occupying an entire building, was installed to link Trangie with Sydney and when the manual telephone exchange operators tried to listen in, presumably to clicks and whirrs, the connection could not be made.”

Research and technology have come a long way since 1915 and DPI welcomes everyone, to join in the centenary celebrations, which mark 100 years of dedication to agriculture and the rural community.

Ms George said places at the dinner have now closed, but people would be elcome to come on the Saturday. There will be plenty of seating and shade provided, she said.

Contact Toni George, (02) 6880 8000 or [email protected] for more information.

Source: NSW DPI


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