Macquarie Fields MP Anoulack Chanthivong said it was “ironic” that one of Macarthur’s greatest agricultural advocates will be honoured at the expense of the region’s last dedicated agricultural high school.
The site of the current Hurlstone Agricultural High School in Glenfield will be renamed the Roy Watts High School in 2023.
The name Hurlstone and the emphasis on agricultural education will be transferred to Hawkesbury following a state government decision to sell off farm land at the Glenfield site.
The Glenfield school’s new name was unveiled at a ceremony at the school yesterday.
Mr Watts was a former student at the school in the 1920s and 1930s.
After he graduated he went on become an officer with the Department of Agriculture and from 1966 to 1980 he held the position of director-general of agriculture.
He also served as a councillor on the Royal Agricultural Society from 1968 until his death in 2001.
The road that runs past the Glenfield’s Hurlstone Agricultural High School was also named after Mr Watts.
Macquarie Fields MP Anoulack Chanthivong said renaming the school after Mr Watts was a nice gesture, but he reiterated his anger and opposition to the changes that would occur at the Glenfield site.
“Roy Watts made a tremendous contribution to agriculture,” he said.
“I acknowledge his immense contributions to agriculture in our state and his strong ties with Hurlstone at Glenfield.
“However, it is ironic that the Liberal government has chosen to honour his name at the Glenfield school site when this government is set to sell-off the Hurlstone farm to developers and erase the school’s agricultural heritage forever.
“It is the Hurlstone name and tradition at Glenfield that we value. That has provided opportunities for educational excellence for students from across south west Sydney and been an intrinsic part of our community’s heritage and identity for close to a century.
“My position is – and always has been – that Hurlstone Agricultural High School should remain at its rightful home in Glenfield.
“Its farm should not be sold off to developers and local children should continue to have access to a school whose name is synonymous with excellence in education and agriculture. That name is Hurlstone. And the place is Glenfield.”