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Tamworth Show History – Highlights over the years
1873 The first show was held on Thursday and Friday, February 27 and 28 on the Peel St site. This land was lent, without charge by Abraham Cohen. The weather was fine throughout and the crowds exceeded all expectations. The ground was situated almost in the centre of town and consequently easily accessible to every resident. The champion Durham Bull, “Comet” was exhibited by A.A. Adams which had been walked 127 miles ( 204.36km) to show and then walked back home afterwards. Blaxland’s walked their stallion in from Keepit Dam. Jack Walsh from Appleby walked his stock to the show, slept overnight on the roadside, arrived at the show in time for judging and won the bull prize before walking home again.
1876 The first show was held on the Fitzroy Street site.
1878 The annual show was abandoned because of the most disastrous drought ever experienced in the district. The duration was three years and the Peel River ceased to flow. Later in the year, a flower and poultry show was held in September.
1881 The show was held in September as a spring show. Before the event a gale-force wind ripped across the grounds severely damaging the pavilion roof, blowing the gable of the secretary’s office and unroofing the cattle yards.
1904 The show was held on a Tuesday and Wednesday with its 700 sections claimed to be the biggest show held in NSW outside Sydney.
This was the last show conducted under the auspices of the Liverpool Plains Pastoral, Agricultural and Horticultural Association. The name was changed on October 19, 1940 to the Tamworth Agricultural Association.
1906 There was no show as there was no showground ready.
1907 The first show was held on the Oval Site where it is known as No.1 Oval and Bicentennial Park these days.
1908 A flood did tremendous damage to the showground, but the show did go ahead.
1909 Was to be the last show on the Oval site, as the 1910 flood wrecked the showground, destroyed the assets and left the association penniless.
A horse-drawn convoy of members visited sites to secure another, more suitable site for shows. The group recommended the purchase of 25 – 30 acres of land from the Peel River Lands and Mineral Company. The land was flat and a railway passed along its boundary but it was two miles from the post office.
1910 Showground Road site (30 acres) of land was purchased from the Peel River and Mineral Co. for 778 pounds ($1,560). In 1919 a railway siding was urgently needed at the showground. The cost of erecting the railway platform was funded by the P.R.M Co. There was no show as the flood in January wrecked the showground.
1911 There was no show as the showground was not ready.
1912 The 36th Show was held for the first time on the Showground Road site.
1918 All stores and businesses in Tamworth closed their doors for two half days to allow their staff to attend the show.
1919 This was a show that was almost not held because of the Influenza outbreak that ravaged the world including Australia. In 1918, a proclamation went out preventing the assembling of people in large numbers. This proclamation was lifted just in time to allow the show of 1919 to proceed. Almost as soon as the show ended the showground pavilion became a hospital ward for the treatment of the overflow patients from Tamworth Hospital. The railway platform at the showground was used for the first time. A first class return fare by train from East Tamworth cost eight pence, second class return fare five pence and children were free.
1920 Cars of members and non – members were permitted to park free of charge around the ring side.
1932 The schools of the district combined to put on a display which was indicative to all phases of school activities.
1940 The show was held under very adverse conditions with drought, lack of fodder and a plague of grasshoppers that ravaged the district. Enthusiasm for the show had been lessened by the outbreak of World War II.
1946 When the Tamworth Show was resumed in 1946, it was the beginning of a new era.
There was an emphasis on special features and family entertainment whilst the agricultural aspects were still maintained and expanded. This justified the claim by the Association that there should be something for everyone and the show should keep pace with the times.
1949 With the installation of an electric flood lighting system, this became the first show to have night sessions.
1954 Show jumping, at the time erroneously called Olympic style jumping, was introduced for the first time.
1955 A record crowd of 28,000 on the Wednesday. To cope with the crowd, new turnstiles came into use for the first time.
1956 The first sheep shearing exhibition for 47 years was a special feature. Modern sheep shearing equipment was installed on a mobile table–top truck and demonstrations were given at various points around the ring.
1961 The annual show was held in March, along with a Spring Exhibition and Fat Stock Show in October to coincide with the conclusion of the Festival of Light.
1963 The show was held for three days and three nights. On the Thursday night a variety show was conducted by Jimmy Little and 10 other artists. Miss Showgirl contest was staged for the first time, the winner was Miss Dorothy Carter.
1970 Tintinhull School arranged the Animal Nursery, and it was one of the most popular features of the show.
1975 This show marked the beginning of the Show Queen competition (18 – 30 years of age)
1977 November 30th – a fire which started about 4.00am swept through 14 stables, burning 12 horses to death.
1980 The 108th show was the first to be held over four days which commenced on the Wednesday and concluded on the Saturday.
1990’s Infrastructure for the animal housing was built. In the early 1990’s the show had grown to be known as the “Royal of the North”.
2017 The Showground Road site was sold to NSW Harness Racing.
2018 The first show to be held at AELEC (Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre) was in September. Previously in the show history the date was determined by Easter and the Royal Easter Show dates but now being a hirer, the date would always be the first weekend in September.
2019 The teething problems of the first year were slowly being attended to and the show was successful with 11,000 people attending and costs were covered. 2019 marked the third year of drought which made sourcing sheep and cattle difficult.
2020 The show was cancelled due to COVID 19 which was a worldwide pandemic.