Show brings out the best in rural life
MYRTLEFORD and District Agricultural and Pastoral Society’s 70th anniversary Show on Saturday brimmed with the best of rural life but it seemed there were two stand-outs.
Stanley poultry breeder Ron Leary dominated the show poultry and budgerigar shed with his exhibits – and topping them all was his Stanley-raised buff orpington rooster.
Not only did this entrant test the capacity of the show cage – the championship ribbon distinguished him – but exhibits from Billy and Maggie Taylor, Mr Leary’s grandchildren, showed that poultry fancying might yet have longevity.
The other was a different creature altogether but similarly impressive.
This was the Evans family’s Illawarra cow, Fanta, from Greta West, who patiently chewed hay and cud in the society’s cattle shed while Justin Evans and his young daughter Fairlie attended to the competition in the yard outside.
The Illawarra is the only Australian-raised breed of dairy cattle – the outcome of crossbreeding longhorn Durham, shorthorn Durham, red Lincoln and Ayrshire cattle in the early 19th century in the farming country above Wollongong and later introductions of Guernsey, Jersey and Friesian.
Fanta waited patiently, a fine descendant of decades of selective husbandry, and aptly named – her red-brown coat a distinctive feature of her breed and her udder testament to her mothering and milk-producing capacity.
The shared generational effort that brought both rooster and cow to the show was emblematic of that which creates and sustains it – an event run entirely by volunteers.
Society secretary Lis Meehan said gate-takings this year were almost double last year’s sum.
She said the final numbers were still to be tallied but there was no doubt that this year’s show crowd was one of the biggest “for many years”.
Cathy McGowan (MHR, Indi), wearing a trademark orange jacket and R. M. Williams-brand boots, opened the anniversary event.
The wood-chop followed, with entrants tackling lathe-uniform trunks of rock-hard mountain ash with lightning-sharp axemanship but in which unseen knots proved a challenge for some competitors.
Wangaratta Pipe Band entertained the crowd, Buffalo River and Myrtleford Landcare advocate Glenda Janas won the show cake competition and the Whorouly Country Women’s Association’s branch display of felted arts was a drawcard in the handicrafts section.
HAPPY: Beechworth’s Billy Taylor was proud of his prize in the poultry shed – a chook bred by his grandfather, Ron Leary, from Stanley. Billy’s sister Maggie also won a ribbon.
CROWING: Stanley bird fancier Ron Leary exhibited this buff orpington – Myrtleford show’s champion poultry exhibit.
SOUND: Stanley’s Mel Tompkins and Wangaratta’s Terry Shaw entertained the Myrtleford crowd from the showground sound-shell. Mel plays mandolin and Terry plays acoustic guitar and both perform vocals.