Deniliquin Pastoral Times
Pauline granted legend status
Pauline McAllister’s introduction to the Deniliquin Pastoral & Agricultural Society came in the 1960s, through her then fiance Trevor McAllister and his father Donald.
That invite to help with ‘‘pencilling’’ showjumping results kickstarted a decades long involvement with country shows, which continued even after Pauline and Trevor relocated to Dubbo in the 1980s.
For that dedication, Pauline was recently selected as the Dubbo Show Society’s ‘Show Legend’.
While the legend status nomination to the Agricultural Societies Council of NSW was based primarily on her role with Dubbo, it also paid tribute to her start in Deniliquin.
Deniliquin was, afterall, where the self proclaimed ‘‘town girl’’ discovered a passion for country shows beyond enjoying the entertainment they provide to the general public.
‘‘It was in 1962, when I was engaged to Trevor, that his father Donald said ‘I’ve got a job for you’,’’ Pauline said.
‘‘Donald was the person who introduced showjumping to the Deniliquin Show in the 1950s, and it would attract the elite in the sport to Deniliquin.
‘‘Tommy Loy used the Deni Show as training for the Australian Olympics team, and others would jump at Deni to hone their skills before moving on to the Sydney Royal Show.
‘‘There was real prizemoney involved even then, and after becoming involved myself I loved the show movement from that minute on.
‘‘Back then there were no women allowed on the committee — it was a different time — but the women would help with all the catering.’’
Pauline had the opportunity to spread her wings within the show movement when she became involved in the running of the Deniliquin Showgirl competition in the ‘60s.
That role also saw her visit other regional shows as a judge, which she said did present at least one lasting memory.
‘‘I was asked to judge at Barham, and after judging the girls all lined up on the truck at the showgrounds as I handed my results to the chief steward.
‘‘She responded immediately with ‘that’s so exciting, that’s my daughter (who won first place)’.
‘‘Even though I didn’t know who any of the children were, I was so embarrassed I was ready to leave the showgrounds there and then.’’
In 1975, when Trevor was made president of the Deniliquin P&A Society, Pauline’s involvement grew further.
‘‘Trevor had been ring master for 17 years and at that time he was the youngest person to have ever been president — he was 35.
‘‘The president’s wife had to do her bit to entertain the dignitaries, and was expected to head up the pavilion and catering committees.
‘‘At this time we had four children, the youngest being three, so we relied heavily on friends and family to help us during the week of the show.’’
After his term as president Trevor went back to being ring master, and his efforts were recognised when he was made a life member of the Deniliquin P&A Society in 1980.
Both Trevor and Pauline remained actively involved with the Deniliquin Show right up until they relocated to Dubbo in 1988, after which they joined the show society there.
‘‘We stayed involved all the way through, and Trevor’s brothers Murray and Barry were involved for a time too, as well as their uncles.’’
What she learned through her Deniliquin Show involvement came in handy when the McAllisters went to Dubbo, with Pauline responsible for expanding the showgirl movement there.
It replicated the showgirl competition in Deniliquin.
‘‘In Deniliquin we had Deniliquin Showgirl, Miss Autumn, Miss Teenager and the Tiny Tots.
‘‘When I came to Dubbo they only had showgirl, so I introduced the Tiny Tots competition.
‘‘We also run a Rural Achiever, and what has worked well here is that the Showgirl and Rural Achiever winners are invited to become a part of the committee for the next 12 months. After that, it is up to them whether they want to remain involved.’’
While Pauline has never been formally recognised individually for her work with the Deniliquin P&A Society, she does hold the honour of being the first woman to have been made a patron of the Dubbo Show Society.
It was partly for her role in mentoring younger members of the Dubbo committee.
She’s a great advocate for younger people getting involved in the show movement, and encouraged those in her former hometown to consider getting actively involved in the Deniliquin P&A Society.
‘‘It’s about giving to your community, and the camaraderie is fantastic.
‘‘You also learn so much about the industry, and you get to be part of something great.
‘‘Country shows bring a huge amount of money in to communities, and it is sad in a way to see that a lot of the smaller shows are gone.
‘‘Getting involved is one way you can ensure the Deniliquin Show lives on.’’
The Deniliquin P & A Society was founded in 1876, and the first show held in 1877.
It is held the first weekend of March each year.
Aside from financial difficulties which forced the 2010 show to be cancelled, the only shows missed were in the war years and several cancellations due to flooding.
The event has been lucky, so far, to avoid Covid-19 cancellations.
The pandemic reached Australia the week after the 2020 event. Restrictions were lifted in time for this year’s event to go ahead, albeit without a pavilion.