The Agricultural Hall of Fame is an inspirational initiative created to recognise the pioneers of the land – Western Australians, past and present – who have made outstanding contributions to the development and progress of Western Australian agriculture.
By establishing the Agricultural Hall of Fame, RASWA has ensured that Western Australians can pay tribute to their greatest agricultural achievers. The Agricultural Hall of Fame provides the community with an opportunity to appreciate land and agricultural initiatives.
Nominees are inducted into the Agricultural Hall of Fame based on their agricultural achievements – their leadership, vision, skill and their impact on Western Australian agriculture. Each year a selection committee reviews nominations to the Hall of Fame gallery and a special induction ceremony occurs each year to inaugurate successful nominees.
2019 Agricultural Hall of Fame
A pioneering agricultural inventor, whose machines are in day-to-day use across Australia, has been awarded one of WA farming’s highest honours, being inducted into the Agricultural Hall of Fame.
72-year-old Ray Harrington is probably Australia’s most prolific and versatile inventor of farm machinery, almost all of which is in day-to-day use across the country.
Over five decades, he has demonstrated extraordinary skills to combat real problems in Western Australia’s two major agricultural segments, sheep and cropping, and his solutions were quickly taken up nationally and internationally.
In the sheep industry, his name appears on the Harrington Crutching Cradle, the Harrington Sheep Jetting Race and the Harrington Vee Sheep Handling Machine, all familiar devices for improving efficiency and reducing physical work in the husbandry of animals.
Similarly, in cropping, Agmaster Harrington No-Till points have been a major factor in ecologically-sustainable cultivation of soil and the Harrington Seed Destructor is now a viable component of integrated pest management options world-wide for reducing reliance on chemical herbicides.
The breadth of his contributions and the practicality of these machines is unparalleled in state and Australian agriculture.
As a practicing farmer he has been generous in sharing his innovations. He has lectured on his many areas of specialism across the world and interacted strongly in grower organisations and local groups which ensured rapid uptake and effective use of his inventions which have made a big impact on Western Australian agriculture.
Yet for all his achievements, Ray remains a humble and grounded man who gains satisfaction from the success that others have had by using his inventions and in sharing his achievements with others.
“It’s all a bit surreal, really”, he explains.
“Everything I’ve done has been a team effort. My brothers, David and Douglas – professors, engineers, manufacturers, scientists, researchers and my family – each with their own knowledge and experience that made each piece of machinery possible. Without them, I certainly wouldn’t be getting any of this. They deserve just as much credit as I do.
“If there’s anything that I can claim credit for, it’s being single, bloody minded! A lot of the inspiration has come from elsewhere; but the perspiration is just as important.”
Ray says that all the ingredients for his success are evident in his wider family. He describes his father as possessing a ‘have a go’ attitude to life and that his mother possessed an innovative spirit. Between them, they inspired a young Ray to be imaginative and driven.
He insists that he is an ‘innovator’, rather than an inventor and points to the famous Harrington Seed Destructor as proof that his successes have been down to a combination of hard work, the people his has encountered in his work and a small amount of luck.
Ray was unveiled as the Agricultural Hall of Fame’s latest member at a ceremony held by the Royal Agricultural Society of WA (RASWA). The organisation, which coordinates the yearly event from its Claremont Showground site, has inducted 63 people prior to 2019, with each member being nominated and then approved by a committee drawn from some of WA agriculture’s leading lights.
This year’s ceremony, attended by the Governor of Western Australia, Kim Beazley, was followed by the yearly tradition of unveiling the previous inductees’ portraits – painted by notable local artists – which will hang in the historic hall of fame building at the showground.
2018 Hall of Fame members, Professor Alan Robson and Eric Farleigh, will have their likenesses displayed alongside such prestigious names as James Drummond – who pioneered agriculture during the first 30 years of settlement in the Swan River Colony.