Rural Youth Movement of SA

The Rural Youth Movement of South Australia

June 1950 the Minister, George Jenkins appointed a provisional Council which was to explore possibilities of establishing a Junior Farmer organisation. The provisional Council recommended that a Junior Farmer organisation be formed and sponsored by the Department of Agriculture; that the Education Department and agribusiness be encouraged to participate and that a General Supervisor be appointed.

The recommendations were accepted by the South Australian Government and a Rural Youth Council was appointed in early 1951.

In December 1951 Peter Angove was appointed as the first General Supervisor.

The original organisation's objectives were:

  • Learn some of the problems of agriculture;
  • To achieve something and aim at leadership;
  • To live a full life;
  • To inspire interest in community organisations especially the Agricultural Bureau of South Australia.

A Rural Youth Club was defined as:
"A society of young people who meet together to enjoy themselves and at the same time, learn something of their country and the joys that come from helping others. The club caters for boys and girls from both city and country, and its aims are to interest all members in rural affairs." (These objectives were amended from time to time.)

There was to be Junior Clubs for 11-15 year olds and Senior Clubs for 16-21 year olds.

The first two Junior Clubs and the first Senior Clubs were formed in 1952. By 1953 the Department of Agriculture had three advisers working with Rural Youth and in 1954 another adviser was established at Mount Gambier in the South East.

In 1963 there were 33 Junior Clubs with 1,130 members and 81 Senior Clubs with 3,560 members. In 1967 the number of advisory personnel serving the Movement was increased to five.

The Movement reached its peak of 4,700 members in the mid 1960's but by the end of the decade membership had declined.

The last remaining Junior Club closed in 1977 and the number of Senior branches had fallen to 63 with a total State membership of 2,000.

To reinvigorate the Movement and to make some alterations to the administrative structure the Rural Youth Council was reformed in 1979 and the Movement became a more self-reliant organisation but from 1977 to 1983 the membership declined further, to 1,000. (Adapted from technical Report No. 120, November 1970 author P.N.Gray. A History of the Agricultural Bureau, Women's Agricultural Bureau and Rural Youth Movement in South Australia, 1888 to 1985.)

A Rural Youth Exchange Foundation Fund existed from 1990 to 1992 during which time it raised $19,000. As the Rural Youth Movement was in a strong financial position this money was not accessed. The Rural Youth Exchange Foundation was wound up in 2008 and the funds distributed to the 9th International Farm Youth Exchange Conference, Adelaide - 2008, the Agricultural Bureau and the World Rural Women's Congress Association.

The Rural Youth Council stopped operating in 1993.

In 1995 the SA Rural Youth Movement moved their head office from Primary Industries and Resources South Australia to the South Australian Farmers Federation. The Movement went into recess a few years later.

Through an application to the Supreme Court in 2008 the Rural Youth Movement of SA was officially wound up by Illes Sawyer, Lawyers. The remaining funds of $40,000 were dispersed to the Agricultural Bureau after a tender process was carried out by the Supreme Court appointed Liquidator Hugh McPharlin, FCA - Partner, Edwards Marshall Pty Ltd - Chartered Accountants.

Further information is available from a paper on the History of Rural Youth written by Rob Linn, 2003 (unpublished) located in the Mortlock Library South Australia.

Page Last Reviewed: 20 Nov 2017
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