Tasmania Blog: Week 1- Agfest

Tasmania Blog: Week 1- Agfest

Tara in Tasmania

Week 1 Agfest
The Tasmania exchange started with an early flight from Sydney to Launceston where I met one of the other exchangees, Andy, from Switzerland. We then took the scenic route to the home of Rural Youth, Quercus Park. This is a 200 – acre farm owned by the Rural Youth Organisation and where the field day ‘Agfest’ is held.

For the next week we stayed on-site in the compound with 100 other volunteers, the compound has a crib room (bar/living area) full workshop and machinery parking. We had a few tours of the site, before helping clear areas for car parking. We found out a little more about Agfest and what the next week would bring. This event is run completely by Volunteers, majority being current and past Rural Youth members. Agfest is the biggest fundraiser for Rural Youth and the largest field day in Tasmania bringing roughly 28 million into the economy.

Day 2

Andy and I were up early to collect grandstand sealing from a local town called Deloraine. We spent the rest of the day helping the operations manager Wadley collect sheep pens from another farm. We then came back to site via Wadley’s farm where we helped feed some cows and I got a shot driving a ‘Ute’ (pickup). Every evening, we would eat dinner in the function centre followed by some drinks in the crib room. Siril from Norway arrived in the evening completing the exchangee team.

Day 3

Started with a trip into the city of Launceston with Bridgete to drop off some trophies, we swung by a shop to get me some boots… so I almost look like a proper Tasmanian now! In the afternoon we set up the East car park, this was one of three main car parks they have on site. They also have several overflow and back-up car parks as they usually run out of space.

Day 4

Confirmed my fear of spiders. We helped the Traffic Manager, Sam, put signs out across the site, these signs lived in a rather old container which was full of VERY LARGE spiders, non-venomous thankfully. We then emptied all the traffic cones or ‘witches’ hats’ as they are known out here, and we disrupted even more spiders!

As the event was getting closer, night-work started to begin. We helped remove rocks from the horse arenas and set up cow and sheep pens for the animal nursery. Following night-works we headed to the crib room where we were introduced to the Aussie version of giant Jenga, slightly different game rules out here.

Day 5

we were continuing to put signage up around site. The catering manager, Caine, came down to see how we were getting on but as he pulled up his car ran out of fuel. This caused huge hilarity amongst the other managers, everyone promptly came down to see
what was happening while they tried to get Caine back on the road.

In the evening, we participated in the first Kahoot game, this was used as a fun tool to refresh everyone’s memories of site rules and regulations. Following dinner we helped with more signage, during this another spider crawled out of the rope we were using, a scary moment made worse as at the exact same time a possum got caught in the electric wires and short circuited the entire function centre. It was a very stressful few minutes in the dark with a spider on the loose!

Agfest Day 1

was finally here! 5:30am start for my job of ‘Traffic’ helping Sam and Jesse for the day monitoring car parks and traffic flow. The number of cars coming in each day was unbelievable, there was a few changes to the system to ensure exhibitors and patrons could get on site quickly and efficiently. After lunch, Andy and I had some time to have a look around the site, the event felt very similar to the Highland Show. there were a lot of large machinery stands, crafts and clothing. An equine area with showjumping, dressage and mounted games demonstrations and a livestock area for local schools to show cows and sheep.


In the evening it was the Exhibitor drinks reception and awards evening. We headed to the Dairy shed to listen to some speakers and crown the winners of the best stand, there were several different categories. During dinner we were told there was over 12,000 on site that day, the sun shone, and it was looking to be a record-breaking year!

Agfest Day 2,

another early start and there was frost on ground! I was back helping with traffic. Andy and I had some free time and were persuaded to go on a horse and buggy ride, it was a bit scary. We were given the afternoon off so Andy, Siril and I went on a helicopter ride around site. It was incredible to see the event from above, the park is a beautiful place. Before dinner over 100 volunteers and staff posed outside for a group picture. Today over 14,000 people attended the field day.

Final day of Agfest

started at 5:30 back out on traffic duties. Each morning exhibitors would queue on the main site road before being allowed in at 6am. The security officer Alex was always on hand with music to keep everyone’s spirits high. We were pre-warned that today was going to be crazy, but it was still unbelievable. From 6am when the gates opened till 11am, traffic streamed in non-stop, by 9am the main car parks were almost full, so the overflow areas were used. Over 24000 people visited on Saturday.

To end the day all the volunteers went to the site office and waved off all the exhibitors, it was a great end to a very busy day.
We rounded off our time at Agfest with a team meal at a local pub, it was a great end to a fantastic week before heading off on the next part of the exchange.

Reflecting on my first week with Rural Youth it was incredible. For an event of this scale to be run by volunteers, many who had been here for weeks, was amazing to see. Everyone was incredibly friendly and welcoming, we really felt like part of the team this week. Very excited to see what’s next!