Letter to the editor:

March 29, 2010

"I appreciate the opportunity to say thank you to the Bingara community for their support of H.Fay & Sons while under the ownership and management of the Fay and Hutton families and to you for your support for Fays and Bingara through the Bingara Advocate.

With the sale of the Fays business on March 31, a 118 year reign will end. It has been a pleasure for me and my predecessors to have served this community across three centuries and our families are grateful for the business and employment that we have received in Bingara.

In 1994, Susan (nee Fay) and Rick Hutton, purchased one of the three Fay family companies. For their benefit, the then Manager, Susan’s father Harry Fay, made the following assessment of Bingara, as an indicator of the town’s “condition” at the  time of their purchase;
• Population, town and country approximately 2000 and falling.
• Court of Petty Sessions –disbanded
• Police force reduced from 3 to 2.
• Post Office privatised
• Telecom withdrawn
• Soil Conservation Office withdrawn
• Prickly Pear chief inspector withdrawn
• Hospital Services withdrawn – CEO now based in Moree
• NAB downgraded to a service centre
• Westpac have sold their building and may not stay on.
• The Central School may continue to lose students and staff. St Mary’s School may close.
• The Shire could be amalgamated
• The business centre is shrinking
• The saw mill, recently re-opened but could be closed by the EPA.
• The threat of a second dam, possibly on the Horton River
It was a gloomy but real picture back then, and Bingara, and Fays had been through tough times before and remained strong.
I would like to add the following personal views on the “condition” of Bingara in 2010 as a reference for future measurement.
• Population 2000 and steady. Town had a slight increase between the last two Census 2001-2006.
• Medical Centre is strong and well supported. Prospects for a Dentist.
• Hospital now as a new MPS, complete with Ambulance and HeliPad.
• Touriandi Lodge stages one and two complete.
• New water reticulation system underway.
• Mainstreet has received first stage landscaping. Ready for stage two.
• Bingara Central School is stable in numbers and now has Years 11 & 12.
• Westpac Bank replaced by New England Mutual.
• Business centre is stable with some prospects of new and “unique” businesses like the Roxy Cafe/ Museum.
• The Roxy Theatre is an iconic venue in the region.
• The Showground has received a considerable up-grade.
• All main roads into town are sealed.
• Two Trade Training Centres are proposed.
• Gwydir Shire is strong and effective.
• Loss of sawmill replaced by gain of National Parks.
• Tourist focus continues to grow.
• Bingara has a regional reputation as a dynamic town.

There are other issues that may limit the town’s future. The future of agriculture is a very important one. Despite many obstacles, natural or manmade, Bingara remains vital and beautiful.

I encourage our community members to remain optimistic and view our town and district’s future positively. It is very much the little things that have kept this town alive; the friendliness of its folk, the respect for its seniors, the involvement and encouragement of its children, the cleanliness of its streets, the natural beauty of its surrounds, and an imagination to be the best community it can be.

I thank the staff at Fays for their support and wish the new owners every success. I look forward to continuing in the promotion and advancement of this town and district."

Yours Sincerely
Rick Hutton
H.Fay & Sons 1994-2010