Laidley Agricultural and Industrial Show Society Official Opening 125th Show
I too acknowledge Mayor Jones, Show Society President Mr Wass, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.
Earlier today, I was privileged to join Mr Ernie Kowaltzke, the oldest member of the Laidley Agricultural and Industrial Society, in cutting the birthday cake marking the Show’s 125th anniversary. I also very much enjoyed visiting the pavilions to see the animals, the produce (especially the giant vegetables!), and the displays of fine arts, craft and cookery which are always such a marvellous feature of Queensland’s country shows. I was greatly amused to learn that, historically, the Society felt so strongly about supporting the dairy industry that they would allow only butter, never margarine, to be used in the cookery competition!
On another historical note, one of Queensland’s early Governors, Sir Henry Wylie Norman, travelled two and a half hours from Brisbane to Laidley by special train in eighteen ninety-five to conduct the official opening of the Show.
That year Private W. Devitt secured first prize for tent-pegging and Sergeant Bailey the first prize for lemon-slicing.
Tent-pegging and lemon-slicing no longer feature in the program, and Governor Norman would no doubt be nonplussed to see contemporary events with names such as ‘ute muster’, ‘bull and bronc riding’, ‘stunt bikes’, and ‘Smash-up Derby’.
But irrespective of the program, the underlying spirit of this — and the other 127 agricultural Shows now organised across our vast State — remains as it has always been: community; providing opportunities to come together and enjoy the rich life we are so privileged to have in this peaceful, free and prosperous land.
It is particularly fitting that at this 125th anniversary Show the vice-regal Standard – signaling that a vice-regal representative is in town – should be flying proudly over the arena.
The Standard which flies today is actually that of the Governor-General – I am currently fulfilling duties of that office as Administrator of the Commonwealth.
I speak in this capacity on behalf, therefore, of not just all Queenslanders, but all Australians, in acknowledging the tremendous effort of the Laidley Show Society in mounting this year’s event. This is especially so given the tragedy which befell the Lockyer Valley in the disastrous summer of twenty-eleven and again in twenty-thirteen. That the Laidley Show has not only continued but grown in strength is a great tribute to the dedicated members of the Society, its volunteers, its generous sponsors, and — especially — to the resilience of this marvellous community.
It now my very great pleasure to declare open the one hundred and twenty-fifth Laidley Show. Congratulations!