It is an annual tradition that has been bringing a touch of the country to the city for 80 years.
But, now, Hurlstone Agricultural High School’s annual Country Fair and Farm Open Day at Glenfield in Sydney’s south west is under threat.
Local MP Anoulack Chanthivong (Member for Macquarie Fields) says the State Liberal Government is to blame after its decision to sell-off the Hurlstone Farm – home of the Country Fair – to developers. The decision formed part of a deal the Liberal Government struck with Western Sydney University in late 2015 to move Hurlstone Agricultural High School from its current home at Glenfield to the Hawkesbury.
Since then, Mr Chanthivong has been fighting to save the Hurlstone Farm and retain the school at Glenfield. He says the Government has been secretive over its high-rise plans for Glenfield.
To date, the Government has failed to disclose how many rooftops will replace the green open space at Hurlstone, nor has it disclosed the proposed heights of high-rise flats set to block the Glenfield skyline.
Mr Chanthivong wants to see the Government’s contentious Precinct Plans, which includes plans for high-rise flats at Glenfield, ripped up. He argues Hurlstone Agricultural High School has a long and proud tradition at Glenfield, and the Government’s sell-off of the Hurlstone Farm is nothing more than a greedy land grab.
“Not only is our community set to lose one of the best schools in NSW, and one of the only fully functioning urban farms in south west Sydney, we are now also set to lose one of our greatest and proudest traditions in the Hurlstone Country Fair,” Mr Chanthivong said.
“When the farm gate finally shuts on the Hurlstone Country Fair, it will be the end of an era and our community will mourn its loss. It’s not fair that kids from our region are being robbed of this opportunity to gain a real taste of the country – second only to Sydney’s Royal Easter Show.
“Just as it’s not fair that we are set to lose an educational icon and precious green space is set to be destroyed for overdevelopment, congestion, and more concrete and tar,” Mr Chanthivong added.
This year could also be one of the last time cows are spotted at the Country Fair. The Hawkesbury school will not have a dairy. There are currently 107 cows at the Glenfield school. The cows will be dispersed as part of the transition of Hurlstone Agricultural High School to the Hawkesbury, and the establishment of Roy Watts High School at Glenfield. The cows will either be sold, gifted or slaughtered depending on the number and condition of the cows in 2023.
On May 6 2019 Mr Chanthivong wrote to NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell MLC to request a meeting to discuss the future of Hurlstone Agricultural High School at Glenfield. The Minister has not yet set a meeting date.
“The Hurlstone Farm and the school belong at Glenfield,” Mr Chanthivong said.
“I won’t give up the fight. Hands off Hurlstone.”
The Hurlstone Country Fair and Farm Open Day will be held on Saturday 7 September.