IT was billed as the Taree Centenary Show but this attracted some controversy back in 1978.
There was some doubt as to whether there had been 100 shows, with historians noting there had been washouts while the show was also suspended during the war years.
However, that aside, the centenary show proved to be a record affair. Held on Friday October 13 and Saturday October 14, 1978 the gate takings were up $3000, more than 25 per cent, on the previous year. Gate takings for the opening day were a record $3900 and the trend continued on the Saturday when the gate was $10,500.
“The centenary show has been a bonanza for the Manning A (Agricultural) and H (Horticultural) Association,’’ noted the Manning River Times.
Total takings for the two days amounted to $29,360. This included record bar takings.
A and H president Reg Drury described the show as ‘an outstanding success and achievement.’
He admitted his heart sank when there was steady rain at 5am on the Saturday. However, by 8am the sun was out and the cloud breaking up. Reg was dubbed the ‘lucky president’ for in his three years in the chair there hadn’t been any bad weather.
The show was opened by cricketer Tony Greig (pictured). This was also a somewhat controversial decision given Greig’s association with World Series Cricket. The civil war between the Australian Cricket Board and Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket was raging in 78.
There were 17 candidates for Miss Showgirl, won by 18-year-old Rhonda Brooks. Janet Hile, 17, was runner up with Karen Degotardi third.
Rhonda, a year 12 student at Chatham High described the quest as ‘wonderful.’
“The girls in it were just lovely and even after meeting them just once or twice we have made friendships,’’ she said.
For the occasion Rhonda chose a cream and yellow rose floral chiffon frock featuring an off-the-shoulder line and teamed it with tan shoes, matching clutch bag and lemon gloves, the Times reported.
However, Mr Drury had an eye to the future, saying the second century of shows at Taree will continue to grow with a wider range of interests.
“We can’t stay still, he said. “We must progress.’’