Farmer Syd Haag passed away at the age of 88 on September 25.
Farmer Syd Haag passed away at the age of 88 on September 25.

Shows won’t be the same without legend Syd

A HUMBLE and quietly spoken farmer who became a legendary figure in Queensland's agricultural show scene leaves behind a rich legacy and big boots to fill.

Farmer Syd Haag dedicated half a century to the Ipswich Show Society and was named as an Ekka Legend in 2015 for his work with the state's premier ag show.

Syd passed away peacefully on September 25 at the age of 88 after battling cancer for a number of years.

Syd Haag at the Ekka in 2019 with a display of vegetables that he helped create. It was his 71st and last Ekka.
Syd Haag at the Ekka in 2019 with a display of vegetables that he helped create. It was his 71st and last Ekka.

He was born Sydney Haag in his grandmother's house at Hoya, near Boonah, on February 4 1932 to parents Bruno and Martha.

Syd attended Teviotville State School before going to Boonah Rural School.

After leaving school, he helped out on the family's dairy and agriculture farm.

He helped his father exhibit produce at the Boonah and Kalbar shows which sparked a lifelong passion.

Syd's early employment included milking the local pastor's cows, working on local farms and even went as far as Biddeston near Oakey and Dalby to harvest wheat.

It was while working on a farm at Warrill View where he met Valmda Schmidt.

She invited Syd and a friend to join her and her sister Norma to a gathering of young people who met up at the Warrill View Showgrounds to play games.

Syd and Val Haag.
Syd and Val Haag.

After three months they were an item and they were soon engaged, announcing it on Val's 21st birthday.

They were wed on March 27, 1954 at the Lutheran Church Hall in Darling St, Ipswich.

It was an 11am wedding so the young couple could milk the cows in the morning and then finish the wedding early enough to milk again in the afternoon.

They spent part of the honeymoon in Sydney assembling the Moreton and Downs exhibit at the Sydney Show before seeing the sights.

In 1955, the couple moved to Ipswich where Syd started work with monumental masons FW Williams.

He was part of the formation of St Luke's Lutheran Church, which originated from the congregation of the Darling St church hall.

After 20 years working at FW Williams, Syd purchased a monumental mason business from the retiring Paddy Denman.

Syd and Val ran the successful business until they decided to retire in 1998; selling it to former apprentice Jason Jackson.

Retirement allowed Syd to spend more time on his property at Kalbar but he supplied produce for the Moreton exhibit and exhibited at local shows during his working life.

His love for the land and local shows never waned and he started entering produce in the Ipswich Show in 1963.

Syd with the City of Ipswich produce exhibit at the Ekka in 2010.
Syd with the City of Ipswich produce exhibit at the Ekka in 2010.

In 1970, he was asked to be a steward in the farm produce section and was then elected to the society committee.

In 1986, Syd was elected as one of the vice presidents and ten years later became president, stepping down after 11 years in 2007.

He was the market coordinator for the weekly Sunday markets for about 30 years, getting up at 3am to get things in place.

Syd started judging farm produce and fruit and vegetable sections at local shows in the early 1960s and passed the art on to the next generations.

He was invited to judge sections of the youth exhibits in the agricultural hall at the Ekka in 2007.

His first Ekka was at the age of 16 in 1948 with his father for the Moreton District exhibit and he worked on the exhibit every year since except for 1968.

Syd with a bugle pumpkin at his last Ipswich Show in 2019.
Syd with a bugle pumpkin at his last Ipswich Show in 2019.

Syd's last Ekka in 2019 was his 71st and four years earlier he was named as an Ekka Legend.

In his final Ipswich Show last year, he submitted 100 entries.

Ipswich Show Society vice president Darren Zanow said Syd had certainly left his mark.

"He's given so much time and effort to the show society over such a long period of time," he said.

"Now his family are as well. His children and grandchildren are on the committee as well.

"His whole family are heavily involved in the show movement including staging the district exhibits of fruit and vegetables at the Ekka each year.

"Syd was a quietly spoken guy that just got in and did the physical work with whatever needed to be done.

"He was very in tune with everything the show movement stood for."

Mr Zanow said Syd was still heavily involved with the Sunday markets right up until COVID hit.

"Right until fairly recently he's been very heavily involved in all parts of the show," he said.

"The show society extends their condolences to all of the Haag family and his legacy will live on."

Syd grew many differenet kinds of pumpkins on his property.
Syd grew many differenet kinds of pumpkins on his property.

It was 15 years ago when Syd's health issues started to arise; in 2004 he started his battle with lymphoma.

In the years since he had a bowel operation, both hips replaced within a 12 month period, a heart valve repaired, an internal defibrillator attached to his heart, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, was run over by a horse float at an Ipswich Show and another two bouts of lymphoma.

Syd is survived by his wife Val, daughters Janice and Lorelle, sons Brian, Russell and Warren, 11 grandchildren, five great grandchildren and brothers Neville, Trevor and Ashley.

Syd's funeral service will be held at 9.30am Wednesday at Bethany Lutheran Church at 86 Raceview St, Raceview.

An interment service will follow at Kalbar General Cemetery at 1pm.

Due to COVID restrictions, the service is by invitation only.

If you want to attend advise the family on 0435 890 480 or wmhaag@optusnet.com.au

A live-streaming link is available on request.

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.