Contributed by Greg Ray, RAHS Member
The first Newcastle Show was held in 1902 and featured ‘spectacular events such as an eight-man ladder and hose race, municipal tug-of-war, wrestling on horseback, tent pegging and highland dancing and piping’. Judging was held in poultry, horses, garden produce, flowers, cookery, needlework, wagons and buggies, painting, drawing and writing, dairy produce and beekeeping. The show became an annual event, though it skipped the year 1916 because the grounds were needed as a military camp for World War I. The influenza epidemic put paid to the 1919 event and World War II prevented shows being held from 1941 to 1945.
The Maitland Show has a longer pedigree, making the event one of the oldest of its type in Australia.
These photographs date from 1959 and the 1960s, when the annual shows had become firmly established as major regional carnivals which still held true to their agricultural roots while offering a huge variety of entertainments.
These photos were supplied by Greg and Sylvia Ray and have been used with their permission.
To find out more about their work and history services visit www.phototimetunnel.com
Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, May 15 and May 17, 1902.
‘Maitland Showground’s History’, https://maitlandshowground.com.au/our-history/ (accessed 20 September 2022).