A term that has been used to describe agricultural shows is 'a shop window of the district.' The description appeared a lot in newspaper articles during the 1970s-1990s, but the first time it was used to describe the Finley Show was way back in 1938, after the success of the 25th annual show.
Here is a piece written for the Southern Riverina News by then President Mr Gordon Pyle in August 1979:
Your Local Agricultural Show is a ‘shop window’ for the district’s produce and stock
Agricultural shows have been a integral part of the rural area since the early days of settlement. Many shows have celebrated their centenaries.
Surprisingly perhaps, when so much has changed, the “Local Show” still retains its character and popularity. Its dominant role is to act as a “shop window” for the district – to publicise all facets of the areas primary action, commerce and industry, arts and crafts – all and every facet of rural living.
The show provides a venue for comparison, by bringing together exhibits and exhibitors.
It provides a spectacle, highlighted by the ring events. In this regard it ranks high by any standard. It provides a carnival atmosphere – a day out for the whole family.
But above all, each country show has its own atmosphere – an intangible something that has nothing to do with size or wealth – very often a small show has greater measure of this elusive quality than its bigger counterparts.
Your local show is a good example of community involvement. It succeeds or fails in direct proportion to the effort expended by the local community. The committee feels it has left no stone unturned to make this year’s show a success – in this we have been supported and of course by the media
To keep your Shop Window on display, we need your support as spectators.
See you are Your Show.
In 2017, this statement still accurately describes our agricultural shows, and we hope that you continue to support us and your Shop Window.
A bit of a different Flashback Friday this week (and not because it's actually Sunday!).
Deep in archives we found a DVD made Glenice Healey of the 85th Annual Show in 2002, featuring clips from all over the grounds. The 54-minute video features the grand parade and official opening, lawn mower races, Miss Showgirl competition, woodchopping, performing pigs, and dog trials, as well as a look in the pavilion and around the ground.
You can watch this wonderful trip down memory lane below:
This is wonderful piece of show history and a great record of the day.
It's not everyday that you celebrate 50 years of one community event. And with Finley only having been proclaimed a town in 1893, very few aspects of the town would have had the opportunity to do so by 1967, let alone a community event.
The 50th annual Finley Show was held on Wednesday 6 September 1967, and was regarded at the time as "the greatest one-day show in New South Wales." Every section saw a massive increase in entries, with show secretary Mr. R.A. Koschel stating that entries exceeded 4000. The grand parade showcased the calibre of entries and featured "some of the most well known names in the Australian stud stock books."
The show was officially opened by Member for Murray, Mr. Joe Lawson. Mr. George Dawe was also present at the opening, the 91-year-old being the sole surviving member of the committee of the first show in 1913.
"Show president, Mr. G.D. Thomas, said the 50th jubilee show was being staged this year because four shows were missed during World War II [1940-1943] and also the one in 1931 - the last mentioned either because of drought or flood, no one was quite sure." [It was a result of the financial depression and drought]
In it's eighth year, the Miss Show Girl Competition was still very popular with the crowd, but the number of entrants had declines from previous years, with nine young ladies participating in the competition.
Seventeen-year-old Miss Joy Hamilton, a hairdresser and sponsored by Beryl's Boutique was announced at the 1967 Miss Show Girl. In second place was sixteen-year-old Miss Jan Williams sponsored Finley Motel, and third place was won by seventeen-year-old Miss Karen Walsh, sponsored by Lindsay Walsh's Fruit Mart.
The Finley Mail of Wednesday, 13th September, gives great detail about the fashion choices of the three entrants:
"Joy chose the 'total' look in colour for her pale pink ensemble of silk finish, cotton frock and fully lined coat, which was held by a self material rose at the neckline. Her pretty little pink court shoes were finished with a matching grosgrain bow and her large brimmed hat was of stitched pink organza. Joy added pink bag and gloves.
Jan introduced a breakaway from accepted Miss Show Girl fashion tradition by appearing without a hat and looked fresh and modern in a printed floral flock of Mitsubisi cotton, the very tiny flowers were in cyclamen across and blue tonings on a purple background, box pleating fell from the high yoke to hem and sleeves were three quartered to a cuff. Jan worse net stockings and aqua shoes.
Karen chose a true pink for her ensemble of frock and coat of crimplane, she wore a crisp little pink straw hat with upturned brim and added navy shoes and handbag."
Other entrants included Miss Mary Tomlin, Miss Heather Wilson, Miss Faye Purdie, Miss Therese Dale, Miss Lynette Knight, and Miss Helen West.
An interesting addition to the show this year was a section for stamp collections - "the response from philatelists in many distant parts of Australia was staggering".
Apart from the golden wattle that adorned the Olympic jumps and the stage where the Miss Show Girl judging took place, "the society did not go out of its way to celebrate the occasion", according to The Land of Thursday, September 14. "Everybody was too busy staging what is recognised as the biggest one-day show in the south."
The 50th show may have passed by with little fanfare, but our 100th next year is, hopefully, going to be a big celebration!
An interesting part of the history of the Finley Show Society and the Sporting Complex, is the erection of the main pavilion (or Indoor Cricket Pavilion, as it's known as).
Built in conjunction with the amenities block on the northern side of the arena (known as the hockey/archery/touch football building), the main pavilion was erected by Davidson's Engineering Co. of Wollamai Street, with the help of government funding. But, it wasn't built where it stands today. In fact, it was located on the southern side of the arena, where the cattle pavilions now sit.
The multi-purpose building was, according to the Southern Riverina News for 2nd September 1977, "designed in a way to have a multitude of uses and some to come to mind include cattle pavilion, basketball, cattle sales and even dressage events."
Despite it being a great building and facility, it's location on the showgrounds prevented it from being used to it's full potential, especially when the community was seeking to form an indoor cricket group during the mid-1980s.
With a $50,000 loan from the Berrigan Shire Council, the Committee of Management of the Finley Showground and Sporting Complex planned to move the building to its current location, and erect street lighting to the building. It was also going to be leased out to local sportsmen, who indicated that along with indoor cricket, they hoped to also incorporate other sports such as badminton, table tennis, darts, volleyball, basketball, indoor hockey, as well as a gymnasium.
"The lease also allowed for the building to be vacated for one week during showtime to allow it to be used as a pavilion and for indoor static displays, making it a multi-use building" (Southern Riverina News, 9th August, 1985). At the time, public opinion proved that the original site was unsuitable, hence it being given the nickname "The White Elephant".
During the first week of August in 1985, the building was relocated to it's current position by Webster's Steel Construction. However, at the show that year, it wasn't used as the main arts and crafts pavilion. Up until this point, the main pavilion displays were housed in the Mickle Pavilion, and in 1985 it was no different. However, with the new building, the static displays and afternoon tea found their home.
Between the 1985 and 1987 shows, a number of committee members suggested changes regarding the use of buildings on showday. A luncheon pavilion and Secretary's office located near the Mickle pavilion, was to be demolished, and the office would move to the annexe of the cricket pavilion. Jeff Close suggested that the Mickle Pavilion be used as the sheep pavilion (which were housed in make-shift pens, and plans were being considered to build a proper building), as it could also be used for Stud Sheep Sales. This meant that the main arts & crafts sections were to move to the indoor cricket pavilion, where they remain today.
But what of the cattle pavilion? The dairy cattle pavilion was already in existence when the cricket pavilion was built at the southern end of the grounds. But once it was moved, the cattle were soon without another shed. Over a few years in the early 1990s, the Show Society bought, raised and sold cattle, in order to raise $20,000 to build a new beef cattle pavilion. The new building was officially opened by MP Jim Small on showday.
As a show society and community, we are very fortunate to have access to such wonderful facilities, not just for the Finley Show, but for other community events.
With the Zone Final of the Showgirl competition tomorrow, it seemed fitting to use this flashback friday to look back at the very first Showgirl competition at the Finley Show.
While the first NSW competition was held in 1962, Victoria had started the competition in 1957, Finley held the first Sun Country Show Girl competition at the 1959 show. Judged by Miss Honni Freger, the 1959 Moomba Queen, there were 25 entrants, with 24 in attendance - Miss Lynette Joy Beck (17), Miss Pamela Bone (19), Miss Fay Cook (18), Miss Pauline Dancey (17), Miss Nola Farrell (19), Miss June Goulding (19), Miss Elizabeth Ellen Grover (17), Miss Lynette Hearn (16), Miss Dorothy Height, Miss Lorraine Joan Horneman (18), Miss Kathleen Dawn Horneman (16), Miss Dawn Johnson (16), Miss Dorothy Knight (16), Miss Pat Koschel (16), Miss Margaret Koschel (19), Miss Nola Kuech (16), Miss Janet McConchie (18), Miss Shirley McNair (19), Miss Jeanette Elaine Nixon (19), Miss Cynthia Annette Nixon (21), Miss Judy Pyle (19), Miss Patricia Joan Ryan (17), Miss Pamela Mary Ryan (16), Miss Kath Thomas (17).
The Finley Mail of Wednesday, 16 September, stated that "There was quite a widespread impression that the Show Girls up and down the platform on making their appearance. This was not the case, as judging commences about 11 hours previously, each girl having been interviewed privately by Miss Freger in a room in the luncheon pavilion where the judging was actually done.
Miss Honni Freger said that judging was based on deportment, dress sense, speech, grooming, general appearance and personality, and all the girls were very good."
In third place was Miss Elizabeth Ellen Grover, and in second was Miss Fay Cook. The very first Finley Sun Country Show Girl was Miss Cynthia Annette Nixon, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. S Nixon of Finley, and at time she was employed at the Riverina Garage.
Cynthia won a trip to People Day at the Melbourne Show and £20 for expenses, as well as being a finalist at the Melbourne Show. At the announcement of the winner, by T.R. Killeen, Cynthia said she could hardly believe the result.
See the full list of Miss Show Girl winners: http://www.finleyshowsociety.org/showgirl-winners.html
Every year, the Southern Riverina News runs a show feature in the week or two prior to the show. Covering everything from what to expect on Show Day, to what's been happening on the grounds throughout the year, the feature gets the residents of Finely and surrounding district excited for the upcoming show.
One feature that has stood out since the SRN began in 1970, is one from 1984, titled 'Springtime Is Showtime' on Wednesday, August 31. Covering several pages, the feature contains photos of local residents preparing for the upcoming show - from flowers to baking.
This year's Finley Show should be a bumper one, with a large number of trade exhibitors and stalls filling the Finley Showgrounds.
Show Secretary, Mrs. R. A. Koschel said this year also looked like being a good one for exhibits in all area, from horse-in-action to needlework.
The Show Association is hoping for a big crowd for the two-day events, which open officially at 3pm on Tuesday.
The gate will open for the public at 8am, Tuesday and Wednesday and will close at 5pm on both days.
Weather permitting, the 67th Annual Show could see a record attendance and exceed last year's gate takings of $4,900.
Highlights of the show will include the Ring Events and Finley's Registered K. C. Championship Dog Show.
Special guest at the show will be Tim Fischer, M.P., Member for Murray.
NEARLY A FULL-TIME JOB
The 67th Annual Show is not just a two-day event for Marie Koschel who is the Show Secretary. For Marie, work started months ago. Marie makes sure "everything happens", and stall holders received application forms for allotments at the showgrounds to handing back exhibits to their owners.
Months before the show, Marie contacted the trophy donors and the stewards of each of the sections making sure alterations to the show schedule were made in reasonable time, and then came the task of redrafting the showbook.
The redraft then went to the printers and when the show book was complete, Marie stated posting it out and distributed copies around the area.
"Then we sit back and wait for the entries to start coming in,"she said.
Marie then checks each entry, enters them in a folder kept on each section and issues cards to the competitors.
The entries then went to the stewards of the relevant section who are responsible for displaying the entries.
After the show Marie's job is to hand out trophies and prize money which has not been collection, and find the owners of exhibitors which were left at the show.
"We try to encourage people to collection these before the show is over," she said.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
One of the best spectator sports for show patrons each year is the Horses-in-Action section, which includes showjumping, hunting and junior riding.
Novelty events in the Gymkhana section include the Flag Race,Clover Barrell Bending Race, Musical Chairs, Old English Plate and the Sack Race.
An event which always creates a lot of interest is the Honda Agricultural Motorcycle Contest. The competition is sponsored by Honda Australia and invited bona-fide farmers or the family or employee of a bona-fide farmer to take part in the contest.
Bikes used by competitors must be of a type approved by the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation as available on a tax exempt basis to primary producers. No other type of bike will be permitted in the competition and motor bikes must not exceed 200cc.
This competition is a test of ability and skill of the rider and bonus points may be offered if the rider carries equipment or a dog.
The winner at the local Show level is then eligible to compete in a Regional final conducted by the appropriate VASA Group.
At the state final, Honda makes available as first prize a CT 90 Honda Agricultural Motor Cycle valued at $800 with sahses for the running-up and third placegetter.
There will be five sections in the Show Girls competition. Starting from the Miss Tiny Tot with girls between the age of 3 and 6 to a Master Tiny Tot in the same age group.
Miss Spring will be judged on clothes most suitable for a country show, deportment, dress sense, general appearance and personality.
Miss Teenager is open to girls between the age of 12 to 16 and the judging will be on the same basis as Miss Spring.
Lady of the Day will be chosen from the crowd.
NEW LOADING RAMP
Preparation for this year's show has been through a series of working bees over recent weeks.
Committee members and supporters of the show society have given their time unselfishly to carrying out maintenance and upgrading f facilities for the show.
One of the improvements to facilities was the construction of a new loading ramp at the southern end of the showgrounds.
On 2nd June, 1953, our current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, was officially coronated at Westminster Abbey. Despite being 16,771 kilometres from London, the Finley Show Society celebrated the auspicious event with a 'Coronation Show' on Wednesday, September 9.
The one-day show was hailed as the 'best ever' with a record crowd and entries, and was officially opened by Berrigan Shire President Cr. W. S. Collie. He described the event as a "credit to the town and district"
While our current records don't tell us much about how the 'Coronation' part of the show was celebrated, it seems that many agricultural shows around the region, were named 'Coronation Shows'.
The following appeared in The Land on September 18:
Finley's one-day Coronation Show last week was the best ever held in Finley, officials and old showgoers claimed.
Gate takings fell slightly short of the record, but the attendance was probably a record, because of the big increase in membership in the past 12 months.
The entries were the largest in the history of the show.
The show was previously held on the Saturday but with the advent of the universal Saturday half-holiday, it has been held on the Wednesday.
Football is a strong counter-attraction in the Southern Riverina.
Officially opening the show, the president of the Berrigan Shire (Cr. W. S. Collie) described it as a credit to the town and district.
He said that the aggregate educational value of the many one-day shows held throughout the State must be enormous.
The ground has been greatly improved since the last show.
New improvement include cattle yards and poultry pens.
The poultry pens would be a credit to any ground.
They are arranged in a long line, with backs to the weather and front to the light.
The birds are well protected and may be inspected by the judge and the public without any of the difficulties arising from poor lighting, which are met at much larger centres.
The district exhibits also were well housed, with plenty of room for display and good light for inspection.
The ruled production of the district was reflected in the North v. South district competition.
They included every king of agricultural, pastoral and horticultural product.
There appeared to be little between the exhibits.
North gained the award to reverse last year's result.
Two breeds of cattle, Poll Herefords and Jerseys were exhibited, but there was no competition, with only one exhibitor in each section.
This was a pity, because the cattle were of high quality.
Mrs. L. R. Merrifield took all awards for Jerseys.
She had previously taken most of the awards at Wagga, where her champion bull, Willow Rest Douglas, took the championships.
He won in his class at last Sydney Royal Show.
Mr. S. T. Hawkins took all Poll Hereford awards.
His stock would be hard to fault anywhere.
His champion cow, which was champion at the last Melbourne Royal show was an animal of outstanding quality.
The quality of sheep exhibited in all sections was good, although competition was lacking in the Corriedales, all awards, including the two championships, going to Mr S. T. Hawkins.
This exhibitor was represented by a very good lot of sheep.
The Dorset Horn section was perhaps the best section in the show.
Finley is a fat lamb district, where the Dorset Horn is described by sheep men as a "good fat lamb job."
Here again Mr. S. T. Hawkins took both championships.
His champion ram was a massive, packed with mutton to the hocks, while the champion ewe was a typical mother of fat lams, showing breed quality and constitution.
Although Mr. Hawkins took championship honours, he met with some opposition in the classes, Messers, G. Cremesco and T. O'Brien gaining shares of both major and minor awards.
Competition in the Merino section was better than in other sections.
The champion ram, a big sheep, carrying high-class wool on a big frame, and showing all the indications of a top sire, was exhibited by Mr. N. P. Desnilly.
The champion Merino ewe, bred and exhibited by Mr. H. F. Atkinson, displayed splendid constitution, and was well covered with high quality wool.
Two features in the ring events were outstanding.
One was the ability of the ring stewards to run off a big programme in the limited time.
The other feature was the skill of the riders, which enabled their mounts to win various events.
Miss Valerie Hermiston, in winning the Olympic Hunt on her own entry, scored the possible
Johnny Mason, riding Mr. F. Pyle's Texas in the District Hunt, gave a great display of horsemanship in riding his mount to victory.
Amateurism is a keynote of activity at this show.
Members of the show society did a great job in preparing the ground for the show and another great, but inglorious, job in cleaning up the ground the day after the show.
At the 81st annual show in 1998, the Life Members Honour Board was presented to the Show Society by the Mason family.
The following article appeared in the Southern Riverina News on Wednesday 2, September, prior to the show.
Honour board unveiling
An honour board listing all life members of the Finley Show Society will be unveiled at this year's 81st show.
The Mason family, who have had a long and distinguished history of service to the show society, have donated the honour board.
The presentation will take place in the Lions Pavilion at 11am.
Finley Show Society president Peter Braybon has officially invited all Finley and district residents to attend.
"Four generations of MAson family have been heavily involved in the show and to have the family donate a Life Members' honour board it wonderful," Mr Braybon said.
He said the unveiling of the honour board will be one of the highlights of the show for committee members
Following the presentation, morning tea will be served in the Lions Pavilion and Mr Braybon has invited the community to join in the festivities.
Mr Braybon said the committee would be making a special tribute to life members who ensured that each year "the show goes on."
During the presentation, Mrs June Mason was presented with a posthumous Life Membership for her late husband Doug Mason, who had passed away in 1989, for his many years of service as President, Ringmaster and committeeman.
At the time, 25 members of the Show Society had been bestowed a life membership, with 10 more having received the honour since. The Show Society is grateful for the hard work that these men and women have committed to this organisation since its inception.
In 1978, Finley held its first two-day show, with resounding success, coinciding with Finley's centenary celebrations.
The Southern Riverina News, of Friday, September 8, 1978, reported the following:
WHAT A SHOW!
Finley's first two-day show this week was a resounding success.
The gate of almost $3,000 on Wednesday represented an all time record attendance, while the $700 gate on Tuesday greatly surprised and delighted officials of the Finley Agricultural and Pastoral Association.
There were record entries in many sections with the arena events and the livestock sections filled to capacity. The machinery exhibition was the biggest ever, while trotting and tent-pegging attracted huge interest.
Fine weather on Tuesday and Wednesday made conditions nearly perfect and the numerous stalls and sideshows reported excellent takings.
The highlight of the show was the visit from the Governor, Sir Roden Cutler who was in Finley to officially open the centenary celebrations.
Sir Roden gave an impressive and well-researched speech and then opened the show. After inspecting the huge and varied grand parade, the governor mingled with the large crowd, stopping to meet many people.
A 17-year-old Finley High School student, Karen Scarfe, took out the Miss Showgirl titles for the second year in succession and this year also becomes Miss Centenary.
The grand parade was one of the most impressive seen at the Finley Show with one line being led by the champion beef, a shorthorn bull shown by "SIlver Pines" stud at Jerilderie, while leading the other line was the Rural Bank equestrienne winner, attractive Pam Horder of Griffith. Pam was immaculate in her outfit, rising "Bojangles."
The huge success of the initial two-day show will cause the Finley A. and P. Association to consider staging another two-day programme next year. "With such a magnificent response, I think we will just have to", association secretary, Mr Ray Koschel told the SRN.
In the livestock section, a feature of this year's show was the South Suffolk section and judge, Mr Ross Faulks of Cootamundra, praised the standard of entries. The champion ram was exhibited by "Hill Plains" stud at Wagga with the champion ewe coming from the 'Sanger" stud at Corowa.
The many horse entries created great interest, by the giant Clydesdales captured most. The Clydesdales had not been exhibited for many years, but they are likely to be a regular part of the show in future years. The champion stallion was exhibited by W.B. Mahncke and Sons of Picola.
Entries in the showjumping section surprised officials. Mr Gordon Pyle, the course-builder and chief steward, said that record entries had been received.
"We had expected things a little quiet on the first day, because this was our first two-day show, but in the first two events alone we had 45 entries each," he stated. "It has been a wonderful success."
Mr Pyle said that the arena had actually improved because of the rain on Sunday and Monday and while it was cutting up a little in parts, it was very much better than it had been a week before.
The standard of jumping was very high with several leading riders and horses in action. Art Yutendaal, an international rider, shared first prize in the Pioneers Grand Prix event with R. Pearn.
As usual entries in the pavilion attracted keen interest from the hundreds of people who took time to wander down the rows of exhibits.
The quality of entries was generally very good and presented the judges with some problems.
In the pottery section, Mr Ray Moloney, a potter from Shepparton said that some entries were very professional. "I judges here last year and I would say that the overall standard has improved quite a lot this year," he told the SRN.
In fine arts, Mr Frank Rowe, a former head of the arts section of the Shepparton Technical College had been submitted, but he said that one or two were outstanding.
Mr Warwick Palfarman, the Elders Wool Manager at Albury, said that while entries had been down in the fleeces section the standard of some fleeces had been exceptionally good, particularly in the medium and strong wool sections.
He said that some fleeces, had however, reflected the long hot summer.
A conservative estimate of the attendance fixed the number present at 1500, close on 900 people paying for admission at the gate. A strong contingent in five motor cars made the journey from Cobram, Deniliquin and Berrigan were well represented, a prominent councillor assuring us that the entire population of the latter town only two bedridden invalids were left at home. Owing to the day not being observed as a holiday in the riverside town fell short of expectations, but was fairly substantial the special trains returning a small profit to the society.
The official opening ceremony was performed by Mr. R.T. Ball, M.L.A. The show of want of confidence motions in the Federal House prevented Mr Falkiner, M.H.R, from being present, and Mr Peters M.L.A. was also unavoidably absent.
At the luncheon the following toasts were honours. The King by J.T. Close, Esq. The State and Federal Parliament, proposed by Geo. Reynoldson, Esq., and responded to by R.J. Ball. The Finley A. and P. Association proposed by R.J. Ball, and responded to by J.T. Close, Esq. The Judges, proposed by J.T. Close, and responded to by Wise and Ross. Kindred Societies and Visitors, proposed by E. Jones, Esq, mayor of Deniliquin, and Mr M'Grady. The Press, proposed by Mr Hoyle, and responded by Messrs Hallifax, Jones and Wyse. The President, proposed by Mr Ball and responded by Mr J.T. Close.
The initial effort of the society brought a splendid response in exhibits. The various sections filled well, but in the horse classes the competition was particularly keen. A high complement (sic) was paid to the local horse breeders by the judge, P. Whitty, Esq., who classed three prize winner in the 10st, hackney class as the best hackneys he had seen at any show. In the trotting section G. Dalton's mare Little Mary, carried off the honors, trotting the mile in the very credit able time of 2.47.
The financial side of the day was most satisfactory. The gate yielded over £40, the booth close on £100, and the refreshment rooms over £40. In addition about 250 members tickets were disposed of, and the concert and ball yielded a gross return of £52 Though the expenses were heavy, owing to the equipping of an entirely new ground and the erection of the necessary buildings, the Society expect to conclude their initial show with a credit balance, a most remarkable result for a first show and one that reflects greatest credit on all concerned.
The judging left nothing to be desired and as a prominent committeeman remarked at the close of the day, "There wasn't a growl in the crowd," which speaks volumes for the excellent management of the "new-chums."
In allotting the praise for the success of the function the lion's share of the credit must be awarded to Mr Close, the President of the Society. For the past 2 or 3 months "Jack" has grafted night and day to boom the show, and it is not much to say that but for him there never would have been a show in Finley. His efforts have been ably seconded by a splendid working committee, and more especially by Messrs Askew and Thorber, who shared the secretarial work.
The whole days passed off without the slightest hitched and if the Society in the future can maintain the splendid standard of excellence reached on this occasion, Finley will be in the proud position of having the finest show in the district.
The concert and dance held in the School of Arts in the evening was greeted with a packed house from the footlights to half-way up the wall at the back, main being turned away for want of room twenty minutes after the doors opened. The programme, of which Mr R.E. Finn was the particular star, was first class, and was vociferously received.
For most of the show's history, the show had been held on a random weekday. It wasn't until the 1980s that the show moved to a Sunday, coinciding with Father's Day.
What better way to spend Father's Day than at the Finley Show!
In 2005, it was decided to honour Father's Day by renaming 'Gentleman of the Day' to 'Father of the Day.' Judges would look around the crowd and find a dad that they believed stood out, awarding them with the Father of the Day rosette.
With 2015 being the 10th year of this instatement, it seems only natural to look back on our nine previous Dads of the Day!
2005: Paul Arnel
2006: Norm Barnes
2008: Brett Beattie
2009: David Burton
2010: Andrew Chesworth
2011: Matt Mueller
2012: Peter Burke
2013: Wayne Schubert
2014: Craig O'Donnell
For those of you who may not know, the show wasn't always held at the Showgrounds. From 1913 until 1961, the show was held on a weekday at the footy grounds, making use of the facilities the ground had to offer. However, as the show grew and people from all over the region flocked to Finley on show day, space was becoming very limited on the grounds.
Under the guidance of President Alex Mickel, the committee set about utilising the current space, which was four times larger than the recreation reserve. Between 1961 and 1962, the arena, pavilions and amenities were erected on the ground, which would see exhibits and displays spread out to relieve the congestion felt at previous shows.
On Wednesday, 5th September, the first show was held on the grounds, with the opening being done by Mr. W. Rodman, the American Agricultural Attache at Canberra. Perfect spring weather prevailed on the day, despite scattered showed preceding it.
The new grounds also enabled Show Jumping to take place on the arena, and it was certainly one of the many highlights of the day. Adding to the excitement of having new grounds, a burlesque show girl contest was also held during the judging of the regular Show Girl competition. But it wasn't what you'd expect. Contestants were Miss Steak [Ken Shaw], Miss Tinin Toenails [Graham McPherson], Miss De Ball [John Close], and Miss De Water [Bob Shaw], the later two being sponsored by the Tennis and Swimming clubs respectively.
To honour Alex Mickel, and thank him for the tremendous work he had done during his six years as President, one of the buildings was named after him. The 'A.F. Mickle Pavilion' now denotes the sheep pavilion, although it was originally the arts & crafts pavilion (but we will get into that another day!).
[Ideally, we would have loved to share some photos of the grounds from the 60s, but we just don't have any! If you have some old photos, please let us know as we'd love to add them to our collection]
Since we've just announced our 2015 Show Personality, it seemed only logical to take a look back at the inception of the award and it's winners over the past 13 years.
Created in 2002 under the presidency of Eric Dudley, it was decided the honour would be given to one of the many life members for the inaugural year.
Wynne Hawkins was elected and presented with the award at the Finley Showtime Ball, and his task was to preside over all the activities which had been scheduled for the week leading up to the show and including Show Day.
In 2003, six nominations were received and Wynne passed the honour onto Ken Gardiner.
While the decision on who shall be awarded the title of Show Personality is in the hands of the committee, nominations were also received from the community as to who they thought would be best to help promote the show.
In 2004, Ken handed over the task of promoting the show and attending pre-show activities, which included the judging of colouring, gardening and stock competitions. This year, the honour was given to Life Member Gordon Pyle.
2005 saw Rand Wilson bestowed with the honour, noting the rather big boots he would have to fill after the ever popular Gordon.
Another Life Member received the honour in 2006, with Rand passing the baton onto John Close.
John Close then passed the medallion onto Joyce Yeo in 2007, who commented on having been going to the show for the past 75 years.
The following year, in 2008, Joyce handed over the reigns to another lady who had been involved with the show for over 56 years, Mary Dawe.
In 2009, President Keith Kennedy surprised Alex Brain when he awarded him with the Show Personality medallion. Alex, who had been asked to assist Mary to the podem, laughed at Keith's cunningness at giving him the award.
Past President Gordon Close was passed the task at promoting the show from Mary Dawe in 2010.
In 2011, Gordon handed the medallion over to David Webb, who was honoured to be given the role of Show Personality.
Seven years after her husband received the Show Personality honour, Lesley Wilson was handed the medallion in 2012. Upon receiving the award, she shared a story about her first Finley Show.
In 2013, Life Member Wilfred Lowrie became Show Personality, which came as a surprise to the hardworker who pitches in every year to get the grounds ready for the show - "I was quite surprised really. I just like helping out."
It seemed only fair that Wilfred passed the honour onto fellow Life Member Col Taylor in 2014, as it seems you can't have one man without the other when it comes to working bees.
And of course, Col was given the honour this year of passing the role of Show Personality onto Sue Arnold, who was extremely surprised and honoured to be given the award and to be following in the footsteps of all the wonderful people mentioned above.
We thank everyone who has been named a Show Personality for the work they have done for the Finley Show over the years.
On this Flashback Friday, it seemed only fitting to look back at Life Member Gordon Pyle, who passed away last week.
Gordon had attended shows since he was child, and seemed to never miss one. For more than 50 years he attended working bees, had been a competitor, seward, showjumping official and course builder.
He was president from 1979 to 1981, was given a Life Membership of the society in 1989 and made Show Personality in 2004. In 2008 he was presented with 50 Years of Service to the Finley Show Society .
The following is a piece that Gordon had written for the 'Finley - 100 Years' book in 1993:
"The Show means different things to different people, for the president and committee it could be well merited satisfaction, tinged with anxiety if the weather is doubtful. For the exhibitors - early starts, hard work and success, or failure. For the kids - well kids are kids!
I have been aware of the Finley Show since my childhood days - then it was held mid week (in September), because we used the football ground. (Now we have a Sunday show, but we still clash with football). Then, Clydesdale horses took pride of place in the ring - with plenty of competition from hacks, ponies and riders.
Before the days of Olympic type show jumping, hunters competed 'around the ring.' The Mason family were prominent competitors, the Perry's 'Sister Fitzgerald', the Allens.
Horses which come to mind are 'Lady Radium', Ray Mason's 'Moonbria' and later little 'Pale Face.'
Frank Pyle has a great hunter called 'Texas'. Ridden by Doug Mason he won many events at the Royals as well as locally.
Later, in the thirties, the local Light Horsemen added dash and colour to the scene - riders Killeen, Donaldson, McDonald, Dawe, Pyle from Finley, under their Troop Leader Lieutenant George Bryant, did battle against the Tocumwal invaders, led by Lieutenant Bob Fyffe, aided and abetted by Victor Groutsch, Lloyd Allen, Stan Bodie and company.
Sideshow alley seemed just as active and extensive in those days - nostalgic hindsight?
Certainly it was noisy and dusty with most of the noise from Jimmy Sharmon's boxing troupe, where one of the troupe banged the drum.
A ride on a wheel, or whatever, probably cost 1 shilling (10 cents). One always just missed the gold watched on the hoopla stall - have a kewpie doll instead, was the alternative"
~ Finley, 100 Years (1993)
Gordon was a great asset not only to our Show Society, but to the Finley community and we are honoured to have worked with a wonderful man.
With the recent rain we've had, it only seemed appropriate that we'd journey back to 2010 when rain threatened to flood the showgrounds and wash us out!
'The 93rd Annual Finley Show was extremely close to being cancelled at the weekend due to heavy rain.
But thanks to the tremendous support of the Finley community the event, held on Sunday, was another success.
Show Society secretary Carol Kennedy said numbers were doen a little on last year, but given the conditions she was "very pleases" with the roll-up.
"Considering we were thinking it might have to be cancelled it was fantastic, people just kept coming through the gate."
Unfortunately the threatening rain and wet grounds did prevent the horse and dog events from taking place and deterred some entertainment acts from performing'
~Southern Riverina News, September 8, 2010
What was really fantastic to see was that, despite the pouring rain and water about to flow through the door, people were still bringing in their pavilion entries down on the Saturday. It was great to have wonderful community support, and we thank everyone who braved the wet weather, pulled on their gumboots and came to one of our wettest shows.
Hopefully, it doesn't rain this year, despite our President continually telling us it's going to rain on Show Day!
With our 100th show in 2017, we are looking at expanding our historic archives in order to produce a grand display, and for publication.
In order to do this, we need the help of the community.
We are looking for:
We want to share the history of the Finley Agricultural & Pastoral Association, as well as Finley in general, with the community through possible publication. In order to do this and make it the best it can be, we need the support of the community in helping us gather as much history as possible.
Help us record our local history in order to preserve it for future generations.