Event was con­fi­dence booster

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS - By Alana Chris­tensen

For some the Miss Show­girl con­test is a fun mo­ment in the spot­light, but for Judy Atkin­son (nee Ni­chol­son) it was a com­pe­ti­tion that opened many doors.

‘‘I was in­spired by a previous win­ner who was the first Abo­rig­i­nal to en­ter into a Miss Show­girl com­pe­ti­tion,’’ she said.

‘‘I thought this would be an ex­cit­ing event so I de­cided to pur­chase some­thing to wear. I was only 17 at the time and work­ing in My­ers in Mel­bourne and trav­elled home the week­end of the show to en­ter in it.’’

Al­though she’d pur­chased a white dress with red trim­mings and a wide­brimmed hat to wear on the day from a woman in Reser­voir in Mel­bourne’s north, Mrs Atkin­son ran out of time to pick up the out­fit be­fore re­turn­ing to Swan Hill, leav­ing her un­cer­tain about what she would wear when she took to the Miss Show­girl stage.

‘‘Early Satur­day morn­ing I was quite sur­prised when a mo­tor­bike came into our drive­way,’’ she said.

‘‘I didn’t re­alise it was (the shop owner’s son) un­til he re­moved his hel­met. He was one of the mo­tor­cy­cle po­lice of­fi­cers rep­re­sent­ing the Vic­to­rian Po­lice in the show pa­rade.’’

Mrs Atkin­son ul­ti­mately fin­ished third in the com­pe­ti­tion, but it in­spired her to en­ter a num­ber of fu­ture com­pe­ti­tions.

‘‘It cer­tainly gave me more con­fi­dence,’’ she said.

Dur­ing the 1970s she en­tered into the Miss Greater Union Theatre com­pe­ti­tion and was in­ter­viewed on Chan­nel 7’s talk show Two on the Aisle.

Mrs Atkin­son said she also had a unique ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing a Fash­ions on the Field com­pe­ti­tion at the Mel­bourne Cup in the 1980s, when she was pho­tographed by a Cana­dian news­pa­per pho­tog­ra­pher wear­ing her white, green and gold ensem­ble, in­spired by the Amer­ica’s Cup boat race.

Now liv­ing in Echuca, Mrs Atkin­son said she was fo­cused on sup­port­ing the next gen­er­a­tion.

‘‘I en­cour­age young Koori girls to take pride in them­selves, walk tall and be proud of who they are,’’ she said.

‘‘I hope my in­volve­ment in Miss Show­girl might have helped to break down a few bar­ri­ers.’’

■ The RASV is look­ing for former Miss Show­girls to cel­e­brate the com­pe­ti­tion’s 60th an­niver­sary. Con­tact An­nette Shiell by email at an­nette.shiell@rasv.com.au or by phone on 9281 7427.

■ To share your show­girl story with Coun­try News, phone Alana Chris­tensen on 5820 3237 or email alana.chris­tensen@shep­p­news.com.au

Three beau­ties . . . Third placed Judy Atkin­son (nee Ni­chol­son) with sec­ond placed Jenny Krah­n­ert (nee Shan­non) and Miss Show­girl win­ner Sue Duguid (nee Glee­son) fol­low­ing the 1969 Miss Show­girl com­pe­ti­tion in Swan Hill.

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