Monday, October 11, 2010

Show Day on Norfolk Island

The Norfolk Island Agricultural and Horticultural Show

Yesterday was the 150th showing of the A&H Show. However did you know that it was Fletcher Christian’s first cousin John Christian Curwan, who is credited with founding the first Agricultural Show in England when he established the Workington Agricultural Society in 1805? His work in scientific agriculture earned him the title of “The Father of Agriculture”. Over 200 years later no doubt some of his cousin’s descendants will be vying for prizes at a show that may not be too dissimilar to that of his own!

During the Sesqui-centenary in 2006, one of the community exhibitions at the Museum was devoted to the A&H Show. Mary Christian-Bailey provided a fabulous overview of the history of the show – reprinted here to enjoy once again.

“The first Norfolk Island Show was held on 21st February 1860, and created great interest in the community, newly arrived from Pitcairn Island. An extract from a letter written by Andrew Christian on 14th September 1840 to Bishop George A. Selwyn reads:

“Everybody is busy. All are striving for the prize which is to be given to the person who raises the best 200 heads of corn and another for the one who gets most of the different sorts of things such as cabbages, yams, onions, bananas, sugar cane etc. and another is for the woman who makes the best three school dresses. All prizes to be one pound each”.

From their arrival in 1860 to their departure in the early 1920s, the Ministers of the Melanesian Mission of Norfolk Island actively participated in the organisation of the Society. On 8th December 1880 the day after St. Barnabas Chapel was consecrated, a Horticultural Show was held at Longridge, at which there was a Spring and Autumn Show, the later being held on the Thursday in Easter week. The Rev. John Palmer was then President of the Society. Judges in the agricultural section were Mr. Stephen Christian, Mr. David Buffett and Mr. Hardy Rossiter. In the horticultural section, Rev. John Palmer, Dr P.H. Metcalfe and Dr. Codrington were judges.

The Society’s Show on 10th November 1921 was well attended. There were five sections for farm produce with excellent exhibits of potatoes, kumeras, yams and various vegetables as well as many sections for arts and crafts. The classes attracted 430 exhibits from a population of approximately 699 persons. Fifty-three pounds five shillings and nine pence was paid out in expenses including prize monies.

The Administrator, Major-General Selheim, C.B.M C.M.G officially opened the Annual Show on 23rd November 1927. The Secretary at that time was Mr. Ernests V. Stephenson and the Show attracted 473 exhibits. Mr. Ivens Nobbs carried off the prize for the best bunch of bananas. It stood 4 feet high and the bananas measured some 7 inches long. Mrs. C.C.R.  Nobbs won the silver cup presented by the Society for the exhibitor gaining the greatest number of points. The Show Schedule in November 1931 shows the Patron as Colonel A.J. Bennett, the President Mr. C.C.R. Nobbs, and the Secretary/Treasurer as Mr. A.A. Greenwood. Competition was invited in 150 classes and many more local crafts were included than at present. The livestock section was confined to two classes for pigs.

During the Centenary Celebrations in June 1956, the Society organised an exhibition in the Methodist Hall. The President was Mr G.G. F. Quintal with Mr. N.V.D. Kilvert as Secretary. The Exhibition was opened by the Governor-General of Australia, His Excellency  Sir. William Slim, C.C.B., G.C.M.G., G.B.E., D.S.O., M.C. On 18th July 1968 her Majesty the Queen was graciously pleased to grant Her Patronage to the Society. The President during the year was Mr. J. Carr with Mrs. Tim Lloyd as Secretary.

1974 was the Bi-Centenary Year of Norfolk Island’s discovery by Captain James Cook, and the Society’s Show was held on 14th October during the week of the Bi-Centenary celebrations. The venue was the Rawson Hall Memorial Hall and adjacent grounds (named the Bi-Centenary Centre). The Society invited entries in 407 classes and attracted a total of 2204 entries. The Show was officially opened by Air Commodore E.T. Pickerd, O.B.E., D.F.C. and approximately 1658 people including children passed through the gates to visit the show. In 1978 His Honour the Administrator, Mr. D.V. O’Leary, V.R.D., in opening the Show announced that Her Majesty The Queen had granted her approval of the use by the Society of the prefix ‘Royal’. The President during the year was Mr. David E. Buffett.

By 1984 entries had reached an all-time high of 3,060. This was the year that we were honoured by a special visit of His Excellency the Governor-General, Sir Ninian Stephen, who accompanied by Lady Stephen, officially opened the Show. In 1985 the 125th Anniversary of the first Exhibition was high-lighted with the issue of two commemorative postage stamps, the miniature sheet being reproduced in full colour on the cover of the Show Schedule. Special prizes were awarded for classes recorded as being in the 860 Exhibition. 1985 also saw the innovation of a Woodchop Team from Queensland.

The Bi-Centennial Show in 1988 was officially opened by the Duke of Norfolk on 17th October. The Duke was accompanied by the Dutchess of Norfolk and this was the first visit by any member of the family. In 1992 the Society moved onto its own premises on the Bi-Centenary Show ground. The building was officially opened on the 21st April by His Honour the Administrator Mr. Alan Kerr”.

No comments:

Post a Comment