Official Farewell to The Land Army
4 December 1945 The Tumut and Adelong Times
A big crowd assembled at the Margaret Wakehurst Hostel at Batlow last Tuesday night to officially farewell the Land Army, which breaks up a few days before Christmas.
The party was arranged by the Packing House management and the Chairman of Directors, Mr. A. E. Herring presided.
Mr. H. V. Smith, in proposing the toast to 'The Land Army,' paid a tribute to the work which the girls had done, both in the industrial sections and on the farms.
On behalf of the farmers and the Packing House, he expressed thanks and hoped that most of the girls would return and continue in the employ of the society in a civilian capacity.
Conditions of employment would remain much the same and the society would continue to provide hostels for accommodation.
However, no uniforms would be provided. Mrs. J. Sedgwick, as wife of one of the growers who had employed the Land Army, supported the toast, expressing admiration of the work done by the girls in all weathers and under all sorts of conditions.
She felt sure that lasting friendships had been formed, which would continue to be a pleasure long after the Land Army was disbanded. Mrs. Lester, Supervising Matron, responded and conveyed to Mr. H. V. Smith and the Packing House generally appreciation for all the help and consideration which had been extended to the girls.
Mr. Smith, in particular, had had his hands full in the early days of operations and when the local administration was left to him, but he had always tried to meet every request from the girls and generally given them the benefit of the doubt.
Mrs. Lester also expressed appreciation for the co-operation she had received from her field staff.
Miss Joan Winn, who has one of the longest periods of service at Batlow, supported Mrs. Lester with a happy little speech, in which she also paid a tribute to Mr. Smith and to the people of Batlow for having received the girls into their homes.
The only other toast was that or "Mr. Frank Bulcock, Commonwealth Director General of Agriculture," which was pro- posed by Mr. J. E. Dodds. In his reply Mr. Bulcock traced the early history of the Land Army. How the first suggestion had come from a Western Australian delegate to a conference and had been received with great caution by the rest of the delegates.
The ultimate establishment was decided upon to provide labor to handle the largely extended cotton crop in Queensland, and so well did the girls carry out that dificult work under trying conditions that Mr. Bulcock admitted he had to revise his opinions about the young woman hood of Australia.
The Land Army had undoubtedly developed into an important factor on one of the fighting fronts -the food front.
As the Commonwealth had had to undertake tremendous commitments for the supply of food, not only to the operational forces but for the establishment of huge strategically reserves in India and other countries, all this had been considerably helped by the work of the Land Army and he offered his congratulations on behalf of the Government for their contribution.
He felt that many of the girls, who had left homes, Jobs and careers in the city and big towns, would return with a new conception of agriculture and life in the Country.
Mr. Bulcock said his chief, the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture (Mr. Scully) had hoped to be present at the function, but was unavoidably prevented and had requested him to tender his personal apologies and the appreciation of the Government.
A musical programme was arranged by Mr. M. Hourigan and included items by Miss Nance Campbell (mouth organ), Miss Joan Flanagan and Mrs. Stiebel (solos), Mr. M. Hourigan and the Land Army Choir in local versions of popular numbers.
Mrs. Lester made a presentation to Miss N. Vanzella in appreciation for her ever-ready help in playing for functions organised by the girls at the hostel.
Dancing wound up an enjoyable evening and the general impression was that if the Packing House needs a slogan for one of its featured products it could safely adopt "Pinnacle Puts a Punch in the Party".