Hall of fame honour

19 Apr, 2006 08:45 PM
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THREE of WA agriculture's identities were recognised for their contributions to the industry last week when they were inducted into the Royal Agricultural Society of WA (RASWA) Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Henry Schapper, Kevin Hogan and Edgar Fitzpatrick proudly took the stage to receive the prestigious honour from WA Governor Ken Michael.

Landmark WA state manager David Timmel spoke at the ceremony and congratulated RASWA for having the foresight to recognise people have had an impact on WA agriculture.

"Without your foresight, this very worthy testament to these people who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of agriculture and rural life simply wouldn't exist," Mr Timmel said.

Landmark has been involved with the hall of fame since 2001.

Dr Schapper made a significant impact in agriculture by introducing agricultural economics to the state, highlighting to farmers the importance of managing financial matters as well as farming.

He established the Farm Management Foundation and has also continued to have an active role in farm management groups.

Dr Schapper was head of the University of WA's agricultural economics division from 1959-1984.

On receiving the honour, he said he was proud and embarrassed to be inducted.

"Thank you all for honouring me in this way," he said.

"I'm proud to be inducted into this magnificent hall of fame, a hall of famous memories."

Mr Hogan was the founding chairman of the Mt Marshall Community Support Group, which supported many farmers who were faced with daunting interest bills in the 1980s.

Mr Hogan said redeveloping Rural Crisis Counselling WA was a different but rewarding experience.

"It was the most difficult and heartbreaking two years of my life, but gratifying," Mr Hogan said.

"With the help of the Mt Marshall shire, Rural Crisis Counselling grew to cover the state from Carnarvon to Esperance.

"It may or may not have saved their farms, but it restored farmers' dignity and saved their sanity."

Mr Hogan also was a foundation trustee of the Country Medical Foundation, Wesfarmers director and deputy chairman, WA Grain Pool councillor and Bencubbin Farm Advisory Services chairman.

Mr Hogan dedicated his award to his 95-year-old mother who, with husband Les, took over an abandoned farm at Bencubbin during the depression, where Mr Hogan lives for half the year.

He said he was honoured and humbled to be in the company of his fellow and previous inductees.

Mr Fitzpatrick was the director general of the Agriculture Department from 1971-1984.

While serving in the position, he guided WA from being a minor wheat producer to major player.

He was then appointed as the deputy secretary of the Federal Department of Primary Industries and Energy.

In 1988, Mr Fitzpatrick was the inaugural president of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission.

A great believer in research, he has been a leader and strong contributor to the growth of WA agriculture.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Fitzpatrick acknowledged the efforts of the Agriculture Department staff.

He said there was a whole body of staff that made the department work and called them unsung heroes and heroines.

"Many of these people performed far beyond the requirements of their positions," Mr Fitzpatrick said.

"It was an organisation which was a privilege to lead."

A humbled Mr Fitzpatrick said he was shocked to learn of his induction.

"I can assure you that it is something that I never expected and I was quite stunned when I was told of the decision," he said.

"I have been very fortunate in my professional and personal life and am indebted to many people who have guided and helped me along the way."

Established in 1999, the RASWA Agricultural Hall of Fame is located at the David Buttfield House at the Claremont showgrounds.

Nominees are inducted based on their agricultural achievements and impact on WA agriculture.

A selection committee reviews the nominations and decides who will be inducted.

RASWA received eight nominations this year.

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