WORDS & IMAGES | Waroona Agricultural Society (Inc)
Every year on the last Saturday of the October School Holidays the small country town of Waroona comes alive with one of the biggest one day Agricultural Shows in Australia.
For over 10 months a small committee of volunteers from the Waroona Agricultural Society (Inc) — locals of different backgrounds and skills, work together to create a wonderful showcase of agriculture, craft, produce, machinery, stalls, sideshow alley, horse events and fundraising opportunities for local community groups. The fun filled show day always wraps with the spectacular Bill Wyllie Memorial fireworks display.
This wonderful community driven annual event started in 1925 and although much has changed over the years, at the heart of the day is the local community spirit and agriculture.
Each year the Waroona Show attracts bigger crowds to enjoy a taste of country life with this year’s show delivering record breaking attendance figures of 19,500.
The Waroona Agricultural Society Committee attribute these figures to understanding what people want to see at a country show and encouraging younger committee members to positively contribute their ideas resulting in such success. Younger committee members are encouraged to invent new classes for entries in the Halls, provide input into trending features and displays and source entertainment for the day.
The committee also invite younger community minded teenagers to join as stewards, and listen to their views of the day. There are a diverse range of ages on the committee — aged 19 through to 88 years — with all ages equally respected for their input and contribution.
The strength and success of the Waroona Agricultural Show relies strongly on volunteers of which over 300 contribute to the day’s success. The two local schools and a volunteer bushfire brigade man the gates, acting as a fundraiser for these groups. The local Lions and Leos Club run the famous Lions Train, animal nursery and local favourite eatery, Jim’s Kitchen.
The Yarloop CWA ladies cater for the official luncheon, a good old fashioned Devonshire tea and sandwiches on show day. New to this year’s show, a Locals’ Lane was introduced in response to a demand for local produce, featuring over 14 local businesses with home and shop fronts setting up pop up stalls.
The show aims to involve local businesses and community groups as much as possible. DeRosa’s Highway Motors has featured as a trade stall for over 50 years. Many other local businesses have been part of the Waroona Show for many years and the committee truly appreciate their support.
The Waroona Show is the only agricultural show in the Peel, with many people living in the region either driving down or over to Waroona while others catch the Australind train and take the short walk to the showgrounds.
The Recreation Centre carpark has a free Park n Ride bus shuttle service where from drop off, attendees enter gates at the southern end of the showgrounds, instantly enthralled by the free family entertainment area with Westoz Wildlife, Old Macdonalds Farm, Circus Challenge and plenty of natural shade under the trees.
The new Men’s Shed is also here near Locals’ Lane, with the area specially created this year for families to enjoy as a rest spot either when arriving or before leaving, but most importantly allowing mums and dads a spot to sit while children are entertained at no charge, with the area also having a family friendly toilet.
The Waroona Show sideshow alley offers amazing rides, games and even caters for families with smaller children. This area of the showgrounds provides undercover seating, food and drink vans and many free activities.
The town oval becomes not only a horse arena with horses in action, carriage, six bar jumps competition and breeding horses — it’s also a food truck alley with a variety of multicultural and Australian foods, main stage entertainment, shaded tables and chairs, kids free entertainment tent, adventure land (or you can watch a sand sculptor at work before your eyes). This is the best view point for the evening fireworks.
The Memorial Hall showcases local talent with entries of fruit, vegetables, Italian sausages, eggs, preserves, honey, art & craft, cooking, homecrafts, woodwork, flowers and plants which is not exclusive to locals entering.
The Fire station still has the firies’ uniforms hanging and on display — ready just in case but also turns into the Children’s Hall and is colourful with everything creative that a child can do. Another area of the Fire station becomes the Photography gallery. In every spare space there is a market stall, showbag van or food truck all with a variety of goods.
From 10am show goers can sit awhile to admire the skill and strength of the Log Chop participants. There is a large Poultry Shed with water fowl on display with their very own paddling pool while further on is the Stud Cattle section showcasing quiet cattle and friendly miniature breeds. It is here you will find very gentle cattle with owners sleeping by their sides in swags the night before, showing just how loved these cattle are. When the stud cattle judging is over, the grass area turns into a dog trial area where some very clever kelpies will amaze you with their sheep handling skills.
Walk a little further on from this area to see the trade cattle and live cattle auction. There is always a competition to be had here with the ‘Guess the Weight of the Steer’ which is always one very large or unusual animal.
The Walmsley Pavilion becomes the show’s gourmet escape with wine and produce to taste and buy. Be sure to add the Farm Shed and the Lions’ Animal Nursery to your show experience. Introduced this year, the Farmshed offers a look at interactive sheep shearing, wool spinning, week old friesian calves, ewe sheep and twin lambs, drone footage of dairy, sheep and hay farming in Waroona, old farm equipment and machinery displays.
There are competitions in the way of banners, showing life in Waroona and an intergenerational display of what one family can produce and create in their extended family from their land and house. You can view an historical display of photos and life as it was on the farm and there are many interactive games for the younger kids and sensory buckets of farm produce with hidden toy farm animals. This area also included an old Massey Ferguson tractor for families to sit on and take unique photos.
The committee endeavour to have entertainment all day on the main stage to entice people to stay longer and enjoy the atmosphere, taste something different from the food trucks, listen to the band and then look to the skies for the fireworks. The Waroona Show is the largest single event in the Shire, and is the single biggest fundraising event in the year for local community organisations.
The Waroona Agricultural Society committee hope you enjoyed this year’s show and we hope you will return and bring your friends. We welcome you to come along to help celebrate and be part of our 90th Show next year.
For further information visit the Waroona Show website www.waroonashow.com.au
Did you know? The Waroona Show is the only agricultural show in the Peel region, with over 19,500 people attending in 2019. 90th Waroona Show will be held on 10 October 2020.
This article was first published in the Peel Magazine, Spring/Summer – vol 5.2 – to read and download the full magazine, click here.