The 1980s: The College Begins
1980 was the last year of the union with the local senior high school before the Narrogin Agricultural School regained its autonomy and continued with its proud tradition with College status.
Principal Mr Haynes left at this time and was replace by Mr Dennis Adams. Mr Haynes was warmly complimented for his dedication and contribution to the school. The College’s status improved even further during the following decade under Mr Dennis Adams. When he left 10 years later in 1990 he was credited with outstanding contributions both to the college and to agricultural education in Western Australia. At this time Narrogin Agricultural College was described as “the jewel in the crown” of Western Australian Agricultural Education.
The College then went on to enter the computer age. The first computers were used largely by staff but in 1984 four computers had also been purchased for the students.
Administration of the College had now become a very sophisticated business. An efficient and properly resourced building had become priority. A new building was officially opened on September 2 1985.
Two other substantial buildings were also erected in the 1980’s, a new Manual Arts centre with automotive, metalwork and woodwork sections and a gymnasium large enough to house a full basketball court.
Equipment was regularly upgraded at this time. The tractor fleet was brought up to five by a donation of a Belarus 920 in June 1986, followed by a second one at the Field Day that year. At the time Principal Adams commented “the students will thoroughly test them, if they survive here they will survive anywhere”.
Attention was focused on the development of the farm stock. The Angus and Limousin beef herds, and the Friesian dairy cows were further improved through the use of artificial insemination and bulls from major studs. From 1985 the pig-raising was changed from extensive to an intensive system. Particular progress was made at this time with the College’s Angora goats. The success of this was attributed to the care given by teacher Greg Varis and students in the Angora Study group.
As always sport played a major part in the college activities. In 1987 for the first time NAC entered teams for Country Week under its own banner. The results were promising and the college teams continued to be competitive at Country Week over the coming years.
Interesting new activities in 1981 were to enter the college in the annual Blackwood marathon, and the “Cunderdin 100”, a road relay for agricultural schools run over 100 kilometres.
The most significant change of all in this decade was the introduction of girls to the college. Principal Shugg had broached the subject but it was 63 years later before it was commenced. The first female students were enrolled in 1982. The two girls Deanne Sarre and Carol Larsen were joined the following year by Anne Dorman and Lorraine Wise. The four girls although boarding at the High School hostel proved tough enough to handle the tasks and the 108 boys and female students were officially accepted.