Keeping in touch with old work mates
The Agriculture Western Australia Ex-employees Association Inc. was established in 2001 after suggestions at an informal gathering during the Perth Royal Show in 1999.
Former Corporate Services Director Pat Kirwan did most of the work in setting it up and then became its first secretary with Brian Gabbedy as inaugural president.
The association held its first annual general meeting in March 2002. Membership was 188 in July 2016.
The association’s name reflects the department’s name when the association was incorporated.
Information about the association is provided to departing staff at their exit interviews.
A typical year’s program includes lunch at a hotel that in recent years has been at the Herdsman Lake Tavern in February or March; a winter gathering around June, sometimes outside Perth; and an annual general meeting in October.
Partners are welcome at most of these events and at least 40 people usually attend.
Former staff can also attend the department's Social club’s Christmas lunch at the South Perth head office in December.
Sporting events such as golf or bowls are sometimes held. The McDowell Cup – an 18-hole golf challenge between current and former department staff held at various public courses around Perth – was a popular annual feature until 2014. This event is currently in recess.
Meetings and activities
The association's annual meeting was initially held during the Perth Royal Show in the Agriculture Pavilion combined with a sundowner at the Hall of Fame Building. More recently, it has been held at the department's South Perth theatrette, linking with a Social Club sundowner on a Friday evening.
This meeting normally features a department update from the Director General as well as election of the association committee and plans for the following year.
The winter gatherings may be held in Perth or at an interesting location within easy reach of the city. Events have included a bus trip to the (now former) Avondale Research Station near Beverley; a barbecue at a member’s orchard at West Gingin; a visit to the first Granny Smith apple exporter in Karragullen; a tour of aquaculture research facilities at Challenger TAFE in Fremantle; and a visit to the Jarrahdale Timber Museum.
Newsletters and additional notifications are circulated by email.
A major project for the association during 2015 was the publication of A History of Cadetships in the Department of Agriculture Western Australia. This traced the history of the WA Government schemes between 1921 and 1977 that involved more than 200 agricultural science, veterinary science and medical laboratory technology graduates.
The three schemes helped attract outstanding candidates to the public service, particularly when agriculture was expanding. Many of these former cadets later became icons of the state’s agricultural industries.
The book contains individual career biographies and was launched at the University Club of Western Australia in September 2015.
Some copies are still available for sale at $25 plus postage from Barry Richards.
Become a member
Lifetime membership to the association costs $25, payable by direct bank transfer.
Download an application form.
Membership will provide invitations to social events, emailed newsletters and other current information.
For more information email the association secretary.