Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society President Rob Hunt has attended the Show for as long as he can remember. Here he shares his early Show memories.
Like all families who are regular Show-goers, I can’t remember a time when we didn’t go to the Show. My sisters and I would do jobs to save up enough money to go on the rides - I would make 3 pennies, about 2 cents a bucket, picking grapes. The ghost train was my favourite. In those early days the Showbags were sample bags and they were free. Although there were many to choose from we were only allowed three each. My choice was generally a Rosella bag for the little jars of jam, a Nobby’s Nuts bag and a liquorice bag.
For me, the very early days were just a sea of human legs, and if I looked up, men wearing suits and hats and women with gloved hands and handbags. But there was also the noise and the smell. I always knew roughly where we were because of those two tells. My favourite smell was the sheep pavilion because it reminded me of our shearing shed, followed closely by the cattle shed because it reminded me of our Hereford bull called Berlington Bertie. The most exciting sounds came from the carnival area. The spruikers were the classic siren call but my sisters and I were never allowed into the tents. Too risky, and a waste of money mother would say. Eventually, when I was old enough to spend time there with a friend rather than parents we went into the Anna John Lee tent and watched the half man half woman performance. Money well spent I thought.
The farm machinery and tractor displays, the motor pavilion bursting with all the latest models, the fruit and vegetable display on the stage in Centennial Hall, the Agricultural Pavilion and the Grand Parade were all must visit highlights.
Later, as a budding car fanatic, a visit to the Show took on a whole new meaning with the introduction of the Holden Monaros and the precision driving team. The noise of those V8’s roaring around the track drew a crowd from all around the grounds. When I heard them start up I would run to the Arena.
The discovery of the dairy cattle milking shed was fascinating and immediately became part of the annual tour schedule.
The big Penfolds wine bottle inside the northern gates was our meeting point. It was where we started and finished the day. It was that exciting indicator that it was all about to happen and then, finally, the realisation that it was all over. But only until next year.