FROM THEN TO NOW
From orchards to the successful dairy and beef industries of today. The Harvey Agricultural Show has seen many changes over the years.
History of the Harvey Agricultural Show
A special meeting was held November 1919 which saw the long serving Harvey Citrus Society make way for a new body to represent the broader agricultural interests and so the Harvey Agricultural Society came to be.
The first show held by the newly formed Harvey Agricultural Society under the Chairmanship of Mr Jack Lowe was held in October 1920. This show was reflecting the district’s transition away from orcharding and with the introduction of more dairy farming, sheep raising and cereal growing.The show was a huge success and a great boost to the spirit of the community. The community was encouraged to participate and results published in the local newspaper.
The show was a major social event and was initially held on a Wednesday and a public holiday was declared.
School children competed for prize money for such things as handwriting skills. A special show train was used for some exhibitors to bring their stock to the show. For many farmers this was an opportunity to get together with their neighbours, discussing new breeds and farm practices.
Over the years, families in Harvey have come to look forward to the show as a major event in the community calendar. Children would save up their pocket money for weeks to pay for the rides and stalls at the fair, families would get dressed up in their best new clothes especially for show day and everyone would go rushing into the hall to see which prizes had been awarded.
In the early days the Home-craft Section had 80 Classes on offer, today we have over 500 in the exhibition hall. The cattle and Grand Parade were the main attraction.
During the war years, no shows were held as many men had enlisted for Military Service. In 1949, the day of the show changed to a Saturday and in 1953 a Friday night program was added.
The show continued to grow while still holding holding firm to its traditional agricultural base. Improving facilities wherever money and opportunity allowed, the early show pioneers were resourceful and creative.
It was the late 1970's that the society had an opportunity for a major ground upgrade, and the cattle stalls were moved and a new meeting room was built, the CJ Hanks Pavilion.