Shear Outback was officially opened on Australia Day, Saturday 26th January, 2002.
The official opening was carried out by Kay Hull, the Federal Member for Riverina.
There were an estimated 3,000 people in attendance for the opening ceremony.
An easy-to-read transcript of this article appears below the picture.
The above page has been reproduced with permission from The Riverine Grazier, Hay, N.S.W.
Shear Outback launched in spectacular style
"SHEAR Outback is a magnificent example of how the people of Hay have chosen to enrich the lives of fellow Australians in celebrating our shearers so as to ensure we never forget where our roots are"
These were the words of Member for Riverina, Kay Hull when she officially opened the multi million dollar project of Australia Day.
"It was the dedication, determination and soul of a small band of Hay residents that will lead to Hay becoming a tourist destination of iconic proportions which will bring lasting benefits to the Hay community and pay testimony to almost five years of hard slog.
"You are among 200,000 of the nicest, friendliest people in Australia - this is the Riverina. And almost 3,000 of them live in the Hay district.
"You have entered the gateway to the 'Living Outback' and we all know that the front gate and the entry to nay home is the most decorated and most beautiful part of the property. So it is true of Hay - it is the best part of the outback. Some may argue but I know it to be true.
"Tonight we commemorate the significant contribution shearing and the wool industry have made, not only to the economic development of Australia, but also to celebrate the major part shearing has played in personifying the national character."
The project was launched by former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer, who together with former Member for Riverina Noel Hicks, were instrumental in securing a $4.66 million Commonwealth Government grant for the project.
In his address, Chairman of the board of Shear Outback, Rod McCully paid tribute to John Glassford whose dream became reality with the opening o the Shearers' Hall of Fame.
"John Glassford had a dream", Mr McCully said. "His dream was to see the shearers of Australia honoured and remembered for their contribution to the social, moral, economic and political fibre of Australia.
He put his dream to us on October 2, 1997 due entirely to the initiative of Sally Smith who cajoled petrol money out of the Hay business community and arranged the first meeting. The idea was taken up and, as they say in the classics, the rest is history.
"Well, we made it.
"This is day zero and to-morrow is day one for Shear Outback and the Shearers' Hall of Fame. We rode on a wing and a prayer for the first year - plenty of ideas but no money.
Our mission is clear - to commemorate and acknowledge the contribution of the shearing industry to Australia, and by so doing to contribute to the well-being of this community."
Mr McCully paid special tribute to the many volunteers who helped to build the dream and keep it alive.
"Nobody could ever add up the voluntary hours they have given to this project.
"Each of those hours has been of value, regardless of the task at hand. The best example was the tree planting day last August when 110 citizens planted 500 tress and shrubs on this site in one-and-a-half hours.
"The children who were part of this will, in their
twilight years, be able to say - I was there the day those trees were planted. And they will remember with pride that they were part of what has been a fantastic community effort".
The evening was attended by an estimated 3,000 people, many of whom travelled large distances to be part of the official opening and official launch.
Highlights included the landing sky divers carrying the Australian flag and the unique entertainment, Shear Symphony under the direction of South West Arts CEO, Chris Pidd.
The entertainment was original, created especially for the evening and with heavy emphasis on sheep and wool. It culminated with two large effigies of blade shears torched - their outlines engulfed in flames, set against the magnificent Shearers' Hall of Fame building.
Member for Riverina, Kay Hull officially opened Shear Outback - the Australian Shearers' Hall of Fame. She is picture receiving a gift in the form of a pair of mounted blade shears from Chairman of the Board of Shear Outback, Rod McCully.