Les Batten, a man whose life revolved around the wool industry, blessed the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) with his innovative ideas, before sadly suffering a fatal heart attack at the age of 77 in his shearing shed.
Mr Batten became involved with the RASV in 1948, beginning as an exhibitor of pigs, and was in charge of the Centenary Hall displays during the 1950s. He was instrumental in starting the journalists tour in 1957, the ever popular farm animal expo, and was a strong advocate for the Miss Showgirl Competition.
A lifelong man of the land, Mr Batten was awarded life membership of the Whittlesea Agricultural Society in 1964. His work caught the attention of the RASV and in 1953 he was asked to organise the Fleece to Fashion display at the Melbourne Royal Show. He rose to the challenge, pulling off an impressive display that also included the first official national shearing championships, and the first national fleece competition.
Mr Batten took his talents across the country in 1959, hosting a fashion show at Perth Royal Show. The Beverley Times declared the Wool Carnival a success, boasting dresses and sports outfits specially designed to drip-dry.
In 1975 he was awarded a British Empire Medal for service to the wool industry. Closer to home, Mr Batten was presented with the President's Medal at the 1990 Melbourne Royal Show in recognition for his contribution to the RASV.