Members of the Angaston branch of the Agricultural Bureau of South Australia always keep a couple of 20 cent pieces in their pocket when they attend the monthly meetings. The Sergeant at Arms fine session at the end of each meeting has been a long tradition of exaggeration, sometimes invention, but most of all mirth. The currency hasn’t changed in more than 20 years, and for Angaston’s 42 members it is enjoyable way to cap off evenings of information and education.
The Angaston Bureau meets on the first Tuesday of the month, with meetings held either in the local Church hall with a guest speaker, or on location for ‘sticky-beak’ nights. These can include tours of member’s properties, or local businesses. In 2013 the branch visited The Food Forest at Gawler, Blenkiron’s piggery, Barossa Bowland, Saeky Engineering, and the Barossa Council Chambers.
The yearly program includes participation in the Angaston Show, the Barossa Vintage Festival and hosting of the Annual Heifer Competition and Hogget Competition. In May 2013 a dinner has held to commemorate 125 years of the Angaston Branch, making it the oldest Ag Bureau in the state.
The member base is as diverse as the program, with participants involved in vineyards, cropping, meat and wool sheep, beef and dairy cattle, fresh and dried fruit production, transport and contracting services. There’s even an ex banker or two – always good for a 20c hit! This diversity has been ideal in the establishment of the Barossa Improved Grazing Group (BIGG) of which the Angaston branch has been instrumental in establishing and coordinating.
To help fund branch activities the members get together for a couple of woodcutting days in May/June and do scrap metal runs. In 2013 the scrap metal helped fund the purchase of stainless steel mugs for commemoration of the 125th anniversary. A few years ago the fundraising contributed to having the branch’s centenary sculpture ‘Day Off, Peter’ recast in bronze. Located in the park in the main street of Angaston, it provides daily awareness to visitors of the contribution made by working horses and the Agricultural Bureau movement to the development of the country. It is a much loved and photographed icon of the area – worth a look next time you are in the Barossa.
Visitors are always welcomed at Angaston branch meetings too – just make sure you’ve got a 20c piece on hand!
Alan Jackson – Chairperson, mb
Mark Grossman- Secretary, mb 0408 085 682