THIS year the Katherine Show, the largest local community event will celebrate its 48th birthday.
The first Katherine Show was held in July 1966 in response to showcase its primary industries. The CSIRO were successfully growing a range of crops within the district and the cattle industry was beginning to have an impact on the town with the opening of the Meatworks in 1963.
Significant to the success of the first show was the involvement of the CSIRO and Officer in Charge at the time, Mr L J Phillips, known as 'Flip' was the first President.
The first committee consisted of Pam Hooper as Secretary and members included M J Fisher, Cynthia Bader, Frank Landsdowne, Wally Christie and Les and Betty Crabbe.
Pavilion space was rough and scanty consisting of two Sydney Williams Huts.
The huts were closed in with hessian and tents housed most exhibits. Cattle pens were made up in the Rodeo yards and pulled down overnight ready for the Rodeo the next day.
That first show was held in conjunction with the Katherine Race meeting and the Member for Elsey Mr Harold (Tiger) Brennan opened the Show on the back of a truck in the Rodeo Arena.
The first show schedule consisted of 63 pages, containing 11 sections with 292 classes.
Prize money ranged from 25 cents to $10.
1973 saw a dispute between the Showman’s Guild and the Show Society over the cost of site fees, when the Guild who had been paying 80 cents per site frontage since 1969 demanded a reduction to 50 cents.
The Show Society refused the demands and the Showman’s Guild did not return for five years.
This did not deter the community as The Lions and Apex Clubs along with the Churches and Schools contributed to create a family show while the bush people continued to contribute with their horses and cattle.
The growth of the Show has seen a wide variety of events and classes come and go, including Miss Showgirl, Best Dressed Lady and Gent, Tug-O-War, Dog Jumping and the Chainsaw Competition.
The Katherine Show remains the premier family event, now attracting over 15,000 people each year. The first Katherine Show was opened by the inaugural president from the back of a truck in 1966.
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