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AgLife: 50-year Longy student reunion

The class of 1970.

The class of 1970.

Former students who started a three-year agriculture course at Longerenong College in 1969 will gather for a 50-year reunion at the college this weekend.
The event is open to all students who started their courses in February 1969 and all college staff members who worked at the college from 1969 to 1972.
Organisers have also invited attendees’ family members and partners.
Former student David Ugalde, who went on to pursue a lengthy research career with the Victorian Department of Primary Industries before becoming a key figure in Victorian and national research into climate change in agriculture, is helping to organise the event.
Mr Ugalde, from Canberra, said he was delighted that about 36 of the original 74 students who started in 1969 would be attending.
“Most of us were 17 or 18 when we started, which means everyone is in their late 60s,” he said.
“Most are coming from somewhere in Victoria, but there are certainly people attending from across Australia.”
Mr Ugalde said history showed that while many graduates went on to pursue careers in agriculture, others chose different paths.
“You can probably divide it into thirds,” he said.
“A third stayed in agriculture working with the government, on farms or in research; a third went into agricultural allied industries such as chemical supply, grain trading, evaluating or rural counselling; and the final third did something completely different. There was a wide variety.”
At the time of starting studies, 1969 class members were pursuing their Diploma of Agricultural Science at an institution run through the Victorian Department of Agriculture.
“The college wasn’t co-ed then and it was quite a strict regime, but we still got up to plenty of pranks,” he said.
“In any one year there were about 160 students at the college and because we didn’t have cars in those days, Longerenong became our centre of activity.
“This involved everything from playing footy, cricket, basketball and just about everything else including golf at Dooen.”
Mr Ugalde said students at Longerenong at the time were beneficiaries of a course that would be hard to replicate in a modern tertiary environment.
He said the experience armed many with what was needed in applying specialist knowledge into a broad agricultural context.
“Longerenong had a very generalist course. We learnt about soil science, plant pathology and horticulture,” he said.
“But we also learnt a bit about pigs, horses, poultry, welding and driving tractors.
“It was a very broad background into all facets of agriculture. It ranged from academic work to practical experiences.
“Many of us were frustrated when we left Longerenong, in that we hadn’t specialised or were an expert in anything.
“But what we had was a solid grounding and understanding of where we could specialise.
“The weekend will be a lot of fun that’s for sure, and we’re looking forward to a really special time to remember where it all started for many of us.”

Longerenong College’s 1972 premiership football team.

Longerenong College’s 1972 premiership football team.

Reunion activities will start at the college at 3pm on Saturday and campus head John Goldsmith will welcome guests at 4pm.
A tour of the college farm and facilities will be from 4.30pm to 5.30pm before a build up to a dinner at 7.30pm.
There will be a breakfast gathering from 9am to 10.30am on Sunday.

The entire January 30, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire January 30, 2019 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Jan 30 2019

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