SCONE'S "living legend" Peter MacCallum admits he is blown away by the new cricket facilities at the Bill Rose Sports Complex.
He, along with other dignitaries and special guests, was front and centre at the official opening of the state-of-the-art amenities on Friday, July 31.
The old MacCallum nets were replaced to meet current standards, including a fully-enclosed synthetic surface, retractable safety netting, and appropriate marking for all junior competitions.
So, to say he's "bowled over" by the $395,000 project - funded by the NSW Department of Primary Industries and Upper Hunter Shire Council with contributions from Cricket NSW, Upper Hunter District Cricket Association and Upper Hunter District Junior Cricket Association - is an understatement.
"Congratulations are definitely in order to everyone involved in these nets," Mr MacCallum said.
"When I was asked to attend the function, I popped down to check them out beforehand.
"And, I was totally gob-smacked to see this facility.
"It has a special significance to me - and my family.
"The MacCallums and Brookses actually contributed to the original nets.
"In fact, I think John Brooks might have built them.
"They were dedicated to Rob and Keith MacCallum.
"The two of them were instrumental in the early years of cricket on the No 1 and No 2 ovals (on the other side of the bypass)."
Mr MacCallum added he had fond memories of the area, which the centre now resides.
"I can remember coming here with Bill Rose one day, a very long time ago, when this was still Darryl Adams' dairy farm," he said.
"Bill said to me: 'This is where we'll build the sporting ovals'.
"That's why it's called the Bill Rose Sports Complex.
"He was the driving force behind that.
"I also recall the old sporting development committee - which included Bill Howey, Bill [Rose], Ian Logan and quite a few others - and I think the budget to build all these grounds, plus the canteen, was something like $150,000.
"We thought it was a hell of a lot of money [back then].
"It was certainly hard to raise - but we did it.
"Now, this facility costs almost $400,000."
Mr MacCallum said Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen, New England MP Barnaby Joyce and Upper Hunter Shire Council (UHSC) deserved plenty of praise for their respective roles.
"I must commend Michael, Barnaby and everyone concerned with UHSC over the past three or four years," he stated.
"Quite simply, more has been achieved by this council, and these people, for Scone.
"Just have a look around.
"Have a look at this facility, have a look at the bypass and have a look at the new saleyards, water's now gone to Murrurundi, and we have a modern equestrian centre, to name a few things.
"All this has occurred in the last couple of years.
"I know there's a lot of criticism directed at the council, however they deserve a pat on the back in my opinion.
"I love the Scone spirit.
"It's always been here - and, I believe, it's still evident today."