Member of the Week - Vern Drew
Vernon Drew is a proud member of the Nationals. His 40 year loyalty to the Party, commemorated with a long service medallion, is evidence of his commitment to our Party.
A lifelong farmer, Vern believes that it is only the Nationals who truly stand up for the bush and it’s the Party’s commitment to this core value that has seen Vern remain a dedicated Nat for over four decades.
Born in Quirindi, Vern first joined the National Party in 1972 after being encouraged to come along to a local meeting by a member. Vern has been a Nat ever since. The party recognised his loyalty in 2014 when Vern was presented with a medal by John ‘Wacka’ Williams, commemorating his long service to the Nats. This stands out as one of Vern’s proudest moments during his many decades of involvement.
Vern particularly enjoyed the Southern Regional Conference in Griffith earlier this year, which gave him the chance to catch up with members and MPs alike. He is also proud of the fact he has stuck by the party through some difficult periods and is pleased to see the Nats gaining strength in recent times. He particularly admires Barnaby Joyce and Wacka Williams and considers Barnaby’s election to the House of Representatives as the Member for New England a huge win for the Party.
Vern has also been Chairman of his local branch in Queanbeyan, a position he was immensely proud of and was fortunate enough to hold during a campaign. He found the experience both challenging and rewarding. His involvement with the Nats has never wavered, and he continues to attend meetings to this day.
Vern is remarkably well travelled. Not only did he spend time as a jackaroo around Hughenden and Winton in Central-west Queensland, he also has an impressive list of overseas travel. He has worked everywhere from ‘Whispering Pines Ranch’ in British Columbia, Canada, to labouring on a kibbutz, a collective farming enterprise in Israel.
Vern has also travelled to Aleppo and Beirut, which he considered ‘beautiful’ and he is saddened by the state of the Middle East today. During a holiday to New Caledonia he met his now-wife Sue, a city-slicker Kiwi. These early years of travel proved invaluable to Vern, giving him treasured experiences and education. On returning to Australia, Vern moved between farms for a while before moving to Michelago to manage a family member’s place. After marrying Sue, they purchased their farm ‘Black Flat’ at Michelago, where they raised two sons and a daughter. The couple has now been at ‘Black Flat’ for 50 years. Vern’s wife Sue is equally well travelled, having competed internationally in her chosen sport – Dragon Boat racing – an activity she still enjoys doing on Lake Burley Griffin.
‘Black Flat’ is famous for once having Australia’s oldest Lucerne crop, the now rarely seen Hunter River Lucerne variety. This was the subject of two Land newspaper reports in 1987 and again in 2005. The Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and former Liberal member for Eden-Monaro, Peter Hendy along with NSW Farmers have also used ‘Black Flat’ as the location for the launch of a $1.35 million dollar campaign to eradicate wild dogs in 2015.
Caption: Vern with wife Sally and Member for Murray, Adrian Piccoli
Image 2 courtesy of The Land, 24 November 2005