Henty, Showground, New South Wales

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The Olympic Way, Part 5…

Words and photos by Josh Pinn

We suffered some car troubles on the road between Yerong Creek and Henty, thus our late arrival at Henty Showground, the home of The Swampies.

The Henty Football Club has been in operation for almost 120 years. The earliest record of a game involving Henty comes from an article describing a clash against The Rock in 1900.

While their uniform and emblem are similar to that of the AFL’s Swans, the Henty Football Netball Club take their moniker from the nearby Doodle Cooma Swamp. The swamp is a vast wetland, home to a great range of flora and fauna. “Doodle Cooma” was the original name of the Henty township and is an appropriation of the Wiradjuri term for “sweet water.” The town changed its name to Henty in the late 19th century to avoid confusion with the Snowy Mountains town of Cooma.

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The scoreboard at Henty is likely the largest of its kind in the area and stands triumphantly astride the fallen remains of its predecessor.

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Perhaps most striking at the Henty Showground is the ornate front gates. They stand as a tribute to the wheat farming history of the town. The gates themselves swing from two replica grain silos, while atop the gates sits a silhouette sculpture of the Headlie Taylor Header. The header was a combine harvester invented in Henty that revolutionised the worldwide grain industry.

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Henty is probably best known, in these parts anyway, for the Henty Machinery Field Days – a huge festival of farming equipment and technology that draws people “from miles around” (to quote the famous promotional jingle). While it is held at the Field Days site and not the Showground, it would be remiss of anyone writing an article about Henty not to mention the Field Days. Good luck getting this song out of your head: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsJghP6IRJk

The next, and final, stop on our Olympic Way journey will be Culcairn.

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