Sister city mayor opens 2017 Woolorama

16 Mar, 2017 02:00 AM
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Leigh Ballard from Ballard Seeds, Narrogin, accepts the Best Exhibitor On The Grounds trophy from past rodeo queen Jo Kestel.
Leigh Ballard from Ballard Seeds, Narrogin, accepts the Best Exhibitor On The Grounds trophy from past rodeo queen Jo Kestel.

HAD it not been for giant statues of Merino rams on either side of the country, the mayor of Australia's first inland town may never have officially opened the 45th Make Smoking History Wagin Woolorama.

Goulburn, New South Wales - proclaimed Australia's first inland city through letters patent signed by Queen Victoria in 1863 - became home to the iconic Big Merino known as 'Rambo', some 15 metres tall and weighing almost 100 tonnes, in 1985.

The same year Wagin's Big Ram 'Baart', somewhat smaller at seven metres tall and only about 4.5 tonnes, took up his position in Giant Ram Park.

Last year the possibility of mutual tourism promotion benefits for Wagin and Goulburn stemming from a common theme of big rams and a wool industry heritage was realised.

On a visit to Goulburn to discuss a sister city-type relationship, Wagin Shire president Phillip Blight invited his counterpart, Goulburn Mulwaree Council mayor Bob Kirk, to visit during the Woolorama.

Once Mr Kirk's visit was confirmed it was decided to ask him to officially open this year's event.

"I've never been to Wagin before and until your shire president Phil visited Goulburn it was unlikely that I ever would have visited here," Mr Kirk told the crowd in the Ray Johnson Pavilion for the official opening on Friday.

"I'd like to thank Phil for the opportunity created by our association through a sister city-like relationship between the two towns based on the big brother, little brother rams," he said.

"We hope that it will be a benefit to both our communities."

Mr Kirk said he was impressed by the scale of the Make Smoking History Wagin Woolorama and the amount of organisation that went into it.

"I've been around the grounds and am totally impressed, it's a big event," Mr Kirk said.

"I must congratulate Tony (Woolorama president Tony Baxter) and everybody else associated with organising what is going on here.

"Congratulations to you all and I thank you for your warm welcome and I have great pleasure in declaring open the 2017 Make Smoking History Wagin Woolorama."

In welcoming everyone to this year's event Mr Baxter paid tribute to former Woolorama secretary and media liaison officer Wendy Pederick who stood down this year after being involved in some way every year since the first Wagin Woolorama in 1972.

The 2017 Wagin Woolorama Ambassador, local farmer Luke Hall, 26, told the crowd how much he had enjoyed his role and encouraged more young people to become involved with the event.

FarmWeekly

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