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Into this field stepped a relatively unknown, but energetic young Physical Education Teacher who had flown over Germany as a RAAF navigator during the war and who had just acquired his B.A. from the Queensland University - John Park. The plans and the foresight with which he set out in those early years led the way to a new kind of youth organisation in Queensland.

He proposed what was, at that time, an almost unheard of principle in the training of youth leaders namely that young people should elect their own officers and run their own youth clubs with the assistance of but not the control of elected adult advisor panels. This became the "trademark" of the organisation and something that set it apart from most other youth organisations of the time.

John Park believed that a group of clubs, founded on these principles could in time bring themselves to the stage where members from within the organisation would be able to lead their own movement at State level without needing the oversight of more “mature” non-member leaders.

This, more than anything else, is what John Park gave to the Junior Farmer movement in Queensland. He organised the first Junior Farmer’s State Conference held at Atherton in North Queensland in 1953 which marked the start of the movement as an official state wide organisation with its own constitution. John McCarthy an advisor was the first State Chairman and he held that office until 1960. Then in 1961 the State Conference elected Stuart Arbuthnot as the first member to hold the position of State Chair­man.

Throughout the state, in the mid to late 1950s members had been meeting regularly on a regional basis. For a start there were Zone Councils followed in 1964-1965 by District and Area Councils  This in turn led to the formation of a Junior Farmer State Council with Area Councillors making up the membership, a body that could meet regularly at state level and represent all sections of the movement  replacing the once-a-year state conference as the voice of the organisation.

The Rural Youth State Council was incorporated as a Company in 1957 which gave it full legal status. The development of John Park’s vision of a "self governing" Rural Youth Movement was complete.



A tribute to John “The Boss” Park  - State Organiser  1952   to 1966

By John Nutting


 

We all looked to Mr. Park not only as State Organiser and State Secretary/Treasurer but also as someone who could guide and protect the Organisation through its perils and problems. It was a comforting thought to know that whenever the movement entered stormy waters, "The Boss" would be there at the helm.

A glance at the history of the Organisation may help to indicate the debt that we owe to him.

Many people will not be aware of the early days before Mr. Park was appoin­ted State Organiser late in 1952. At that time the movement consisted of a number of clubs which had been set up by the first Organiser Mr. Tommy Williams. They had a common aim and purpose and some 1,500 active members. There was no Junior Farmer’s Organisation as we came to know it. There were no Zones, Districts or Areas, no State Council or State Conference and only a basic constitution.

A few inter-club meetings and an unofficial "Conference" of North Queensland Clubs had not produced any real structure at the State level.


A  rare photo of John Park relaxing with Mrs (Lillian) Park and daughter Jan at an early Alexandra Headlands JF Leadership Camp A young State Organiser John Park refereeing a JF Tug-of-war at Alexandra Headlands Camp John Park (front far right) looks on as the  Qld Junior Farmers Organisation is presented with its first Government vehicle QGA-419 otherwise known as the Film Van