He was addressing the 800-strong crowd gathered to celebrate their part in the long history and powerful brand name that the Longreach Pastoral College came to represent in the Australian tertiary training industry.
Mr Heussler recalled meetings on a stony ridge overlooking the site of the future college, discussing what buildings they’d need.
“We sweated blood in those early years and we never had enough money,” he said. “It was a big part of my life for a few years, and I’m sure it was for you.”
The 1967 foundation students shouldered the bulk of the fencing and yard-building work, and were the group most strongly represented at the reunion.
The admission of females at the college, in 1979, was also acknowledged with the return of three of the original female intake, a move that college board member, Rosemary Champion said had changed the face of agriculture.
Mr Heussler said a different type of graduate was emerging from the college these days.
“I’m sure even with more changes, we’ll still see a need for the college,” he said.
“I’d like to see the college be an agent for change rather than just following a trend.
“We need people to come that know about technology, and I hope the people in charge of the college have that imagination and foresight.”
The weekend celebrations included a horse work demonstration, shearing demonstrations that were taken over by former students, Blackall’s Ray Aspinall and Rob Johnson, campus walking tours, and bus tours of Rosebank station and the Thomson River farms.
The group toasted absent friends, and a number relived their youth at the Longreach Cup race meeting.