Western Australian Farmers Federation

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Western Australian Farmers Federation (WAFarmers) is an agricultural organisation in Western Australia. In the one hundred years of its existence, the various interactions with other groups, and the separation, then inclusion of political activity, has given the federation a colourful position in the history of Western Australia.


As early as 1890 some farming organisations had been formed in WA, with the Wheatgrowers' Association being formed in 1908. In March 1912 the Farmers and Settlers' Association was formed – in part as a response to a letter to WA farmers from the Rural Workers' Union of Australia discussing farm workers' wages – and merged with the Wheatgrowers' Association.[1]

The Farmers and Settlers' Association,[2] together with the Producers' Union, formed the business Westralian Farmers Ltd (known later as Wesfarmers) in 1913. They also established a new political party, the Country Party, to obtain representation in both state and federal parliaments. (The Country party would ultimately become the National Party of Western Australia and the National Party of Australia.)

In 1920, the Farmers and Settlers' Association changed its name to the Primary Producers' Association (PPA).[3]

Large numbers of small-scale farmers, many of them veterans of World War I with backgrounds as mineworkers or in other industries, entered the industry during the 1920s. They formed a new, separate Wheat Growers' Union in 1930, and later became known as the Wheat and Wool Growers' Union (WAWGU). The Union, along with counterparts in other Australian states, was politically closer to the political left than the PPA, and many of its members initially supported the Australian Labor Party (and even included supporters of the Communist Party of Australia).[4] Nevertheless, the two organisations cooperated on a joint committee in 1932, to investigate bulk wheat handling.[5] This led to the creation in 1932 of Co-operative Bulk Handling, financed by Westralian Farmers.

The Primary Producers' Association created separate sections in 1932 for its commodities (initially wheat, wool and dairy, later adding barley and oats, meat, bees, and poultry) and the political aspects, and in 1944 the political section and the Country Party separated from the PPA completely, forming the Country and Democratic League.

In spite of their political differences the PPA and WAWGU merged in 1946,[6] to form the Farmers' Union of Western Australia.[7] The name was changed in 1982 to the Primary Industry Association,[8] and again in 1987, to the Western Australian Farmers Federation, to more closely align itself with the National Farmers' Federation.

In 2019, the Federation called for a merge with the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of Western Australia. WAFarmers president Rhys Turton called for members of both organisations to be polled about the idea.[9]


  1. ^ See Farmers' and Settlers' Association of Western Australia (1916), Report of annual conference, The Association, retrieved 26 September 2013 for details of the Farmers and Settlers annual reports prior to the name change of 1920
  2. ^ Farmers' and Settlers' Association of Western Australia (1916), Constitution, branch rules, political platform, The Association, retrieved 13 March 2015
  3. ^ For a short view of a part of the associations activities - see Primary Producers' Association of Western Australia (1930), Records, 1930, retrieved 26 September 2013
  4. ^ Parliament of Western Australia, 1996, Competition Policy Reform (Western Australia) Bill Second Reading; House: Legislative Council (22 October) Hansard (8 November 2014).
  5. ^ For the internal rules of this group see Wheatgrowers' Union of Western Australia (1933), Constitution, rules and regulations : adopted Jan. 14th, 1931, amended Feb. 1932, further amendment, Feb. 1933, [The Union], retrieved 26 September 2013
  6. ^ Wheat and Wool Growers' Union of Western Australia (1940), Rules and regulations : adopted February 18th, 1938, amended August, 1938, 1939, The Union, retrieved 26 September 2013
  7. ^ Mercer, F. R; Mercer, Frederick Royston; Farmers' Union of W.A (1955), On farmers' service : a short history of farmers' organisation in Western Australia, Farmers' Union of W.A, retrieved 26 September 2013 for that union's version of the history of the various groups mentioned here
  8. ^ Primary Industry Association of Western Australia. Conference (1985), Proceedings of the ... annual conference, The Association, retrieved 26 September 2013
  9. ^ Brammer, Jenne (8 May 2019). "Poll pitch for new farmers group". The West Australian. Seven West Media. Retrieved 12 May 2019.

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