Backward Glance – Maleny Show Time

Agricultural shows have been part of Australian culture since 1822.

They are strongly connected to local communities through educational, competitive, social and cultural experiences.

This week the Maleny Agricultural Show will open its gates to welcome locals and visitors as agricultural life is celebrated and shared on Friday, May 30 and Saturday, June 1.

From humble beginnings on April 24 1923, the first Maleny Show was held on the same showgrounds site.

The show’s success has been the result of hardworking volunteers who give their time, preparing for many months to put on an event for the community to enjoy.

On July 30 1926, the Nambour Chronicle described the Maleny Show, in its fourth year enthusiastically.

“Wonderful! It seemed that this expressive adjective was upon everybody’s lips during the two Maleny show days, and whether the fourth annual show is inspected from the viewpoint of the stockman, the lover of pavilion exhibits, or the horse fancier. The picturesque little show ground has again been vastly improved during the past 12 months. Now we can notice a neat grandstand which will seat approximately 300 people and a spacious pig pavilion which were not on the ground 12 months ago. The committee and general public must have worked like Trojans to transform a patch of thick virgin scrub into the improved ground they have at present, and all in five short years.”

P L Nott MLA officially opened the show and the new purpose built grandstand in 1926.

He described the Grand Parade of prize winning stock during the afternoon as “a most interesting event displaying fully Maleny’s wealth of stud stock”.

The hunting and jumping in the ring was also keenly appreciated by the crowd.

The Nambour Chronicle went on to state that the only moment that concerned the onlookers and perhaps caused a few worries was when: “Oxford Golden Noble, the champion Jersey bull, by his efforts tried to free himself from his handler”.

Perhaps he had wanted to lead the grand parade?

That honour in July, 1926 was given to the sleek coated well deserving champion IMS bull Theodore of Thornleigh, proudly parading with a blue ribbon attached as grand champion.

In summing up the 1926 show, the paper gave the following high praise to the dairy cattle of the region.

“To write of the exhibits, one must be excused for the frequent use of adjectives, but there are but few that will really give the reader a true idea of the excellence of some of the exhibition. Of course, it can only be expected in a rich dairying district such as Maleny, the dairy cattle were an outstanding feature of the show. There were about 150 entries in the IMS Section. 50 in the Jerseys, and 30 in the Guernseys. Both in quality and quantity, the IMS stood out. The champion cow, Mr R L Cooke’s Fortune of Ocean View, is an animal that has been bred very close to the ideal IMS cow, while the reserve champion, Primrose IV of Springdale, owned by Mr AM Hunt, was not far behind the champion. Last year’s champion, Mr AN Webster’s Honey-comb of Yaralla, took the red in the aged dry class, but she was not shown in full bloom as she was last year.”

The smells, sounds and sights of country life is still experienced when entering the gates.

Today the grounds are a little different with modern pavilions, display crafts, bead work, sewing and knitting exhibits, pottery, cake decorating, children’s cooking and much more.

Times have changed but it is still a great reason to visit the hinterland and enjoy a country show steeped in history.

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.

Image details

Hero: Maleny Show Pavilion during a Maleny Show, ca April 1924. The pavilion, measuring 75ft by 35ft, was near enough to completion to be used for the second show on 23rd and 24th, April 1924

Image 1: Winner of the ‘Champion Stallion or Colt’ Division, Maleny Show, 1981

Image 2: Pedigree dog show, a popular event at the Maleny show, 1981

Image 3: Calf-roping, was among the popular events at the Maleny Show & Rodeo, 1981

Image 4: Spectators watching the grand parade at the Maleny Show, June 1981

Image 5: Maleny Show Ball, May 1984. The Show Queen, Princess and Charity Queen were chosen at the Ball, which was held as a lead up to the annual show and rodeo.

Image 6: Maleny Showground, 1930

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