The 1915 attempt by the NSW Farmers and Settlers' Association to form a new political force by aligning with G S Beeby and his Progressive Party had failed in the tumultuous events surrounding the 1916 conscription referendum.
Labor Premier William Holman was expelled from the Party over his support for a 'yes' vote.
The Holman group joined with the Liberals to form a new party, the Nationalists, with Holman as premier.
The Beeby group were effectively absorbed into the Nationalists.
Agitation for the formation of a country party continued, although many country people opposed the idea for fear of splitting the non-Labor vote.
In November 1918, Premier, W.A. Holman introduced one of the Progressives' platform measures - proportional representation.
This provided for five-member city constituencies and three-member country ones.
This decision drastically changed the nation's political outlook.
The fear of splitting the non-Labor vote was removed, for the new system allowed surplus country votes to be distributed to the Nationalists and vice-versa.
In March 1919, the FSA declared that it would run its own candidates at the following election.
In September, the FSA Conference instructed the Association's executive to open discussions with all other party primary producer bodies about uniting 'in one political body known as the Country Party to secure representation in the next Parliament.
Beeby had also now broken with the Nationalists.
Discussions began between the various groups, culminating in the reformation in October 1919 of the Progressive Party as an amalgam primarily of the FSA, the Graziers' Association, and the Beeby group.
The inclusion of the Graziers' Association represented a significant change in the balance of forces within the countryside.
Originally called the Pastoralists' Union, the Association had been formed by the large pastoralists as a response to the industrial troubles of the 1890s.
Its involvement in the new party joined the FSA's large membership and extensive branch structure with the Graziers' Association's financial resources, including its Special Fund established in 1916 to fund political campaigns.
The ripples from these various moves spread across the countryside.
One Sunday early in 1918, David Drummond, a young Inverell share farmer, was invited to the home of a fellow farmer.
"To my surprise I was met there by a deputation which invited me to nominate for the next State Elections," he said.
Drummond, feeling that he was not prepared, declined the offer.
However, with the announcement of the formation of the Progressive Party, and a request by the FSA executive to branches to look for suitable candidates, Drummond received another offer that he did finally accept.
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