High praise for long-serving Henty Field Days chair, NSW Nats stalwart

FARMING LEADER: Colin Wood, chairman of the Henty Machinery Field Days for three decades, cuts the 40th anniversary cake at the 2016 event.
FARMING LEADER: Colin Wood, chairman of the Henty Machinery Field Days for three decades, cuts the 40th anniversary cake at the 2016 event.

The rural community has paid tribute to Henty Machinery Field Days’ longest-serving chairman and tireless volunteer Colin Wood after his death this week.

Mr Wood died aged 79 on Tuesday, December 5, and his funeral will be held at St Pauls Lutheran Church, Henty, at 1pm on Wednesday, December 13.

For a record three decades Mr Wood was field days chairman, devoting himself to the event, juggling activities on his Cookardinia farm to fit around the Henty schedule.

He was also a stalwart of the NSW Nationals, the Henty member held executive positions at branch and district level.

Mr Wood was Albury Electoral Council 1st vice chairman at the time of his death, after a long battle with illness.

He served three terms as a Culcairn shire councillor and had been actively involved with NSW Rural Fire Service .

His connection with the field days goes back to the original one-day header school held at the Henty showgrounds in 1961.

At 19, he was working for Henty contract silage and haymaker, Milton Taylor.

Mr Taylor was the driving force behind the first header display at the Henty showground where a young Mr Wood demonstrated hay and silage equipment for the assembled crowd of interested farmers.

He was invited onto the Henty Field Days committee in the mid 1960s and was always quick to help out with preparations for each field day, pegging out exhibitor sites or preparing the car park.

In 1973 he was elected chairman and under his leadership the event moved to a three-day format.

“He was an outstanding leader, someone who was respected by everyone that was involved in the field days,’’ said HMFD chairman Ross Edwards, who took over from Mr Wood in 2007.

​“Colin mentored our younger members who had great respect for him.

“He was always bringing up ideas and innovations as to how the field days could be improved.’’

Last year, he reflected on his connection with the field days.

“It was a great feeling to be able to get the respect of the community and sit down with them to work out a reasonable way of organising the catering, with a decent percentage of the profit being used to improve buildings and grounds,’’ he said.

“Our volunteer reach had expanded beyond Henty to benefit the communities of Holbrook, Yerong Creek, Walbundrie and Culcairn, and this is still maintained.’’

Last year, HMFD named the Taylor Wood Pavilion to honour Mr Wood and Mr Taylor.

Mr Wood is survived by his wife Gwen, siblings Bryce and Robyn, his children and their families.