134 years of the Show
For the 134th year the Yarrawonga Mulwala Agricultural Show will be held at the Yarrawonga Showgrounds, displaying the area’s best produce and entertainers.
The importance of the Agricultural Show to the region of Yarrawonga Mulwala is not lost on anybody, most of all Yarrawonga and Border Agricultural and Pastoral Association show Secretary Judy Cooper.
The show now and in the past has always been a day for families to come together and enjoy the festivities while also examining the areas local produce.
“There has always been opportunity for a family to come along and be entertained all day, from children’s activities through to viewing all our highly professional entertainers, exhibits and spectator events of all types,” Mrs Cooper said.
The inaugural agricultural show was held in 1883 to display the crafts and produce of an emerging rural district relying on agriculture.
Although a show largely held for farmers and local agricultural produce, women were also involved participating in competitions on scone cooking, needlecraft and other exhibits including showgirl.
The show was set up to be an opportunity for the family to have a day off from the slog of everyday life, dress in their Sunday best and head into town.
“Picnic baskets filled with home cooking were shared with the whole family who may not have seen each other since the last show,” Mrs Cooper said.
“Rural and urban people came together. It was a much anticipated event for all ages, perhaps a way of de-stressing as we call it today.”
Competitions consisting of wool, sheep, cattle, horses, poultry and other livestock, as well as grains and hay were highly contested with the winner gaining an advantage in the market place.
Judy also tells how the show committee over the decades has attracted grants or used show funds to build all the current buildings, other than the Rotary Building, with the assistance of other groups.
“John Dowling and Bruce Wright (table tennis), along with members from both groups relocated a building from Gippsland to be used for both groups right through until now, a mammoth effort,” she said.
“These building are now their groups club rooms for all but two weeks of the year, when they become show orientated.”
The resilience of the show is also evident with the event only being cancelled twice in its 134 year history due to the wartime and extreme weather.
With new attractions entering the show every year, Mrs Cooper said it is ever-changing.
“It’s now not possible to ever again hear the words, it’s just the same old Yarra show,” she says.
The Garden Club, Lions, Pony Club and Adult Riders with the help of the Lioness and CWA are all actively involved during show week holding their events and forming a role in the show.
“Many of these groups are involved in the pre show day organisation; while other individuals arrive show week and start work in the main pavilion or outdoors.”
“We couldn’t do it without them. Amazing,” Mrs Cooper said.
Families attending the show are able to bring in a chair and picnic basket while they are entertained by exhibits and entertainers and may leave the day only having paid the entry gate fee.
“Our show is one of the best in the country and rivals the Royal Melbourne Show for quality entertainers and exhibits in the true sense of an Agricultural Show with a modern twist,” Mrs Cooper said.