170th Annual Show
Saturday 5 October, 2024

Celebrating the rich history of the TOODYAY AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY

Formed on 15 November 1853 Toodyay Agricultural Society is the oldest community organisation in Toodyay and the second oldest existing agricultural society in WA.


The TAS story: the first 160 years, 1853-2013

By Beth Frayne, with an update by Alison Wroth (to 2021)

(The following is based on an essay written with the assistance of the late TAS Past President Gaven Donegan, for the Toodyay Agricultural Society’s 160th Anniversary Show, 12 October 2013, and later updated by TAS member Beth Frayne and additional illustrations added in June 2014. TAS President Alison Wroth added summaries of the years 2014-2021 in August 2022)

The Toodyay Agricultural Society is the oldest community organisation in the district of Toodyay, with its membership over time representing people from all walks of life: farmers, graziers, former convicts, business owners, public servants, shopkeepers, politicians, teachers, ministers and pensioners. The Society is the second oldest existing agricultural society in the state of Western Australia, with our neighbouring society at York being the oldest. 

Formation and the Early Years in Old Toodyay (1853-1860)

The Foundation Meeting (15 November 1853)

The Toodyay Agricultural Society was formed 160 years ago, on 15 November 1853, as the Toodyay, Northam and Victoria Plains Agricultural Society. A public meeting was held at John Herbert’s Royal Oak inn in old Toodyay (now West Toodyay), for that purpose. The Resident Magistrate, Joseph S. Harris, chaired the meeting, which elected J. T. Cooke as Secretary and a Committee of ten men. The district now had a mechanism for petitioning the colonial government, and its meetings served to promote agricultural activities and exploration, so vital for the continuing existence of the W.A. Colony.

The advertisement announcing the first meeting in 1853 in old Toodyay (West Toodyay).

(Perth Gazette, 7 Oct. 1853, p.2)
(Source: National Library of Australia, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3174724)

The first Annual Meeting and the first Agricultural Show (1854)

At the first Annual Meeting and Show in 1854, also at Herbert’s inn in old Toodyay, Chairman J.S. Harris read a report on the activities of the district. In the 1850s, the Society did hold some meetings in Northam, but the Shows were held in old Toodyay, due to its central location. Governor and Patron Arthur Kennedy attended the second Show in 1855. The first Show Ball was held in 1856, again at Herbert’s inn. But it wasn’t all about having a good time. Petitioning the government on local development issues was important: bridges, roads, labour, bush fire relief, and a show ground. In 1857, the Governor granted 5 acres in old Toodyay to the Society, to build pens, etc. for its annual Shows. The colonial government gave agricultural societies an annual grant of £25.

By 1860, regular flooding had prompted a gradual exodus from old Toodyay, upstream to the new town of Newcastle, located around the site of the Toodyay Convict Hiring Depot (ie today’s Toodyay). The seventh Show was the last held in old Toodyay in 1860, during which the Governor sanctioned the Society’s request for some land in Newcastle.

The Early Newcastle Years and the Coming of the Railway (1861-1889)

A New Town (Newcastle) and a New Show Ground (1860s)

From 1861 until 1889, Shows were held on the Society’s new grounds, between Duke and Clinton Streets (also the site of the Pound and Public Well), now under the Standard Gauge Railway line. The Annual Meetings and Balls were held in the town’s hotels. A new Avon River bridge (1861) provided easier access, but the Northam farmers formed a Farmers’ Club in 1865. It wasn’t all Shows and Balls; the Society discussed sheep scab problems, the cessation of convict transportation and the acceptance of expirees as members (in 1868). In 1871, roads and other local services became the responsibility of the new Toodyay Road Board. In the early 1870s, the Society lost its sense of purpose, but the skills of two Society Secretaries, RM William J. Clifton and publican William G. Leeder, soon got the Society re-energised. Petitions were presented on immigration (for labour supplies) and produce protection.

The Coming of the Railway (1880s)

The 1880s heralded advances in agricultural methods, machines and information provision via the newspapers and the Shows. In 1885, government funding fenced the Show Ground, which restricted public access during judging and helped to raise more revenue. The following year (1886), B.D. Clarkson lent some land in North Newcastle to the Newcastle Cricket Club (later the Athletic Club), which became the town’s Recreation Ground. But the Society continued to hold its Shows on its existing site. The new railway’s arrival in late 1887 allowed special excursion trains to come to the Show and Races in 1888. Nearby, the Government School on Duke Street was used to display Show exhibits. Prior to the railway, and even after, farmers who wished to display their stock, had to herd their animals some distance to the Show Ground. By the end of the decade, the Show featured displays of agricultural machinery.

A New Name and New Showgrounds (1890-1899)

The Northam Agricultural Society was formed in 1890, holding its first Show that year, and the Victoria Plains folk also had less reason to venture southwards to Toodyay. So the Society became more commonly known as the Toodyay Agricultural Society (TAS). Missing minute-books for this period make it difficult to determine name change dates. However, during 1890, the Society’s position title Chairman was changed to that of President. In 1890, the TAS moved its Show location to the larger Recreation Ground in North Newcastle. The 37th Show was the first held on what is now the current Showgrounds. By the next Show, the grounds had been fenced. The new W.A. Bureau of Agriculture hosted the second colonial agricultural conference in 1894, to which the TAS sent two delegates, and attended regularly from 1896 onwards. By 1896, the TAS had bought land to enlarge the grounds, and built new cattle pens. The following year, the TAS erected a large pavilion for indoor exhibits. The Shows of the late 1890s featured wildflower, wine and wagon displays. Show visitors numbered in the 500s.

A New Century and New Ventures (early 1900s)

In 1901, Toodyay sent an agricultural produce display to the first ‘National Show of Produce’ in Perth.

The following year, the annual government subsidy became a payment based on show prize amounts. The ownership of the Showgrounds was legally defined in 1903, between the Newcastle Athletic Club and the TAS. A ‘General Managing Committee’ of three members from each organisation had its ongoing problems. The 1903 Show Schedule included a new ‘Industrial Class’ for children’s work. However, the machinery firms decided to restrict their displays to the Shows at Northam and Guildford. From 1905 to 1907, the TAS presented a summer Fruit and Cereal Show at the Showgrounds in February. In 1907, the TAS followed the lead of the Northam Agricultural Society, by holding monthly meetings, with a lecture, on a Saturday night. The TAS affiliated with the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia (RASWA) in 1908. The RASWA made sure the country show dates did not conflict. The 1909 TAS Show received record entries (over 800) and the largest attendance in the history of the Society.

The Toodyay District exhibits at the first National Show of Western Australian products, held in the Queen’s Hall, William Street, Perth, on 6 March 1901.

(Western Mail, 23 Mar. 1901, p.36)(Source: National Library of Australia, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article33202299)

The first grandstand and exhibition hall (built 1910).

The tree on the right is now (2013) in front of the sheep and wool pavilions.

(Source: Toodyay Historical Society)

Two Wars, Incorporation, a Debt Solution and Two Centenaries (1910-1950)

Showgrounds Expansion and the Impact of World War 1 (1910s)

In 1910, the Society purchased land on the ground’s western boundary, and constructed a large exhibition hall, a commodious luncheon and tearoom, and a substantial grandstand, all surrounded by a tall picket fence.

In 1911, the Society bestowed its first Honorary Life Memberships to John H. Phillips of Culham, and William R. Sinclair. Governor Sir Gerald Strickland attended what, in 1912, was designated the 60th Show (but was actually the 59th). Soon after WW1 was declared in August 1914, the Society received the unwelcome news that the Government would not grant agricultural society subsidies. This situation, and a drought, impelled the Toodyay, York and Beverley Agricultural Societies to abandon their Shows for that year, and the Northam Society to hold a one-day Show. However, in 1915, the Toodyay Show continued, and the Society’s new Patron, Sir John Forrest, motored up to attend. The TAS held Shows in the remaining WW1 years, with over 1,500 people attending in 1919.

A view of the Toodyay Show, ca1912-1913, from the Grandstand.

Jonathan Somers’ sawmill and wagon-building business is beyond the tall fence.

(Source: Shire of Toodyay, Item 2008.37)

Incorporation, a Debt Solution and the W.A. Centenary (1920s)

The TAS was incorporated on 20 May 1921. By then, the TAS was the sole owner of the Showgrounds and responsible for its upkeep. In July 1923, after almost 2 years of protracted negotiations and a ratepayers’ referendum, the Road Board agreed to purchase the Showgrounds and buildings for £800, free of conditions. By December, the Society was debt-free and had £205 in the bank. A Grounds Sub-Committee regularly lobbied the Road Board for upgrades, but the TAS still funded new infrastructure. In the State’s Centenary Year (1929), the TAS contributed to the first Central Districts Display at the Perth Royal Show. Calls to enlarge the Toodyay Showgrounds had been fruitless. Only the ladies’ conveniences were improved for the 1929 Toodyay Show.

Second prize winning Central Districts display at the Centenary Perth Royal Show, Oct. 1929.

(Western Mail, 17 Oct. 1929, p.7 S) (Source: National Library of Australia, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article 37678198)

Depression, Celebration, Disaster and a Second World War Begins (1930s)

In spite of the 1930s depression, agricultural production was still profitable, and the TAS built more stock facilities. A stock parade was held in 1931, the first time after many years. In 1933, Toodyay’s own Centenary Year (as it was thought then), the Show was held on a Saturday, as the first event of Toodyay’s Centenary celebration week. However, disaster struck that summer, with an accidental fire destroying the grandstand, fencing and small outhouses. The refreshment rooms and dressing sheds were saved by the local fire brigade.

The 1930 Toodyay Show, with ‘Dan the Dog’ an attraction.

The ladies’ hemlines had risen.

(Western Mail, 6 Nov. 1930, p.11) (Source: National Library of Australia, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38518985)

The current grandstand was rebuilt by the Road Board in 1934. From 1934, a President’s Trophy was awarded for most points in the horse, cattle, sheep and pig classes (but these classes varied over the years). Other firsts included a school-boys’ judging competition (1937) and Pasture and Wheat Crop Competitions (1938). Even though WW2 had been declared on 3 September 1939, the Show went on.

Below is a lovely composite portrait of people and stock who attended the 1934 Toodyay, which was published in the Western Mail (25 October 1934, p.11). The list of names matching the numbers follows.

“People and stock at the Toodyay show last Saturday.”

(1) Mrs. Porter.
(2) Mr. F. P. Atwell (President of the Toodyay Agricultural Society).
(3) Mr. N.E. Donegan.
(4) Mrs. L. Lukin.
(5) Mr. W.A. Villiers.
(6) Mr. T.J. Donegan (Secretary of the Toodyay Agricultural Society).
(7) Dr. R.S. Boyd.
(8) Mrs. F.P. Atwell.
(9) Mr. E.E. Twine.
(10) Mr. W.A. Hodgkinson.
(11) Mrs. Vernon Hamersley.
(12) Mrs. A. Haly.
(13) Miss Judy Clarkson.
(14) Miss Anne Clarkson.
(15) Miss Betty Clarkson.
(16) Mr. B.M. Connor’s Oakdale Balankill, champion Clydesdale stallion.
(17) Mr. J. Phillips.
(18) Mr. E. Forbes.
(19) Mr. J.W. Clarkson.
(20) Mr. J. Phillip.
(21) Mr. A. Shilling.
(22) Mr. C. Barnett.
(23) Mr. L.E. Smith’s champion Merino ram.
(24) Mr. H.L. Kelsall.
(25) Mr. V. Hamersley, M.L.C.
(26) Mr. L.F. Bullock.
(27) Mr. W.W. Howie.
(28) Mr. L. Thorn, M.L.A.
(29) Mr. W. Donegan, sr.
(30) Mr. K.  Somers.
(31) Mr. P. Hamersley.
(32) Mr. M. Rymill.
(33) Mr. E. D. O’Connor.
(34) Mr. E. J. Clairs.
(35) Mr. Grove’s Primrose, champion Illawarra shorthorn cow, winner of the butterfat test.
(36) Mrs. T.F. Christie.
(37) Mrs. N.E. Donegan.
(38) Mrs. B. Whitfield.
(39) Mrs. R. Drake-Brockman.
(40) Miss D. Drake-Brockman.
(41) Miss Elsie Saw.
(42) Miss Jean McIntosh.
(43) Miss Topsy Haywood.
(44) Miss Kath McIntosh.
(45) Miss Dorrie Hamersley.
(46) Mrs. R. Lovegrove.
(47) Mr. A. Wroth’s Beauty, champion Jersey cow.

(Western Mail, 25 October 1934, p.11.)
(Source: National Library of Australia, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37716828)

Patriotic Shows, Recession and After the War (1940s)

A Different Sort of Show until the Army Came (1940-1942)

In 1940, due to seasonal conditions and the war, the TAS and the Toodyay Horticultural Society held a combined exhibition (hall display) and gymkhana. Similar shows were held in 1941-1942, in aid of ‘Patriotic Funds’.

 Photocopy of the cover of the 1941 Schedule.

A Grand Patriotic Dance was held in the town on Show night.

(Courtesy, TAS archives)

TAS in Recess (1942-1945)

However, from July 1942 to August 1943, the Australian Military Forces rented the exhibition hall and the room under the grandstand for £1 a week. So 1942 saw the TAS and the Horticultural Society holding a fruit and flower show and a stock auction. But the TAS could not go on, and went into recess from 1943 to 1945. Shows were not held in the last 3 war years. In May 1945, a Temporary Committee deferred the Show until the following year, by which time the Toodyay Road Board had done some temporary repairs and cleaned up the grounds.

After the War was Over (1946-1949)

Society membership increased again in the late 1940s. Schoolwork exhibitions and the Pasture Competition recommenced. A Horses-in-Action Trophy was provided. The TAS helped run the newly formed Junior Farmers’ Club. In 1948, TAS land adjoining various boundaries was transferred to the Road Board to finally extend the grounds.

Showgrounds Expansion and the TAS Centenary (1950s)

The early 1950s found the Road Board dismantling, storing and moving Showground buildings and creating a new roadway, oval and access point, with the TAS providing significant funding. The re-built Exhibition Hall (with electric power) was opened by Sir Charles Latham MLC, in 1951. The Governor, Lieut.-General Sir Charles Gairdner, officially opened the Toodyay Centenary Agricultural Show, on 17 October 1953. Prize money was increased, rules revised, and new trophy competitions devised. The Road Board waived TAS’s annual fee to use the Showgrounds. In 1956, an old house provided materials for a new pavilion for wool, agricultural produce and the Secretary’s Office. In 1958, all cattle at the Show were TB tested, and a ‘new style’ show jumping event was included. Educational film evenings were held and the Show Ball became a Dance.

Memorial stone.

(Photo: B. Frayne, 2010)

New Hall at the 1951 Show. The stone is to the right of the door.

(Source: Toodyay Herald, 18 Oct. 1951, p.1)

Better Facilities and New Competitions (1960s)

At the 1960 Show, the extended Exhibition Hall was renamed the Sir Ernest Lee Steere Memorial Hall by the Premier, the Hon. David Brand MLA. The Grand Parade made a revival until 1971. In 1961, the TAS President’s term in office was limited to 3 consecutive years. The refreshment pavilion was remodelled, a new wool pavilion and Secretary’s office built beyond that, and the old wool building turned into a roomier liquor booth (still in use today), all funded by the TAS. The main gate was still on Telegraph Road. Ewe flock competitions were held and trade cattle were first exhibited in 1966, requiring new yards. Show revenue was down, mainly due to poor fencing allowing free access. The Shire built sports change-rooms near the grandstand, which immediately became a refreshments venue on Show Day in 1969. Drought that year reduced Toodyay’s horticultural and agricultural exhibits.

The Sir Ernest Lee Steere Memorial Hall, in 2013.

(Photos: B. Frayne, 2013).

The tablet on the Hall, erected by the TAS in 1960.

(Photos: B. Frayne, 2013).

Drought Conditions, Committee Changes and Miss Showgirl (1970s)

The early 1970s Shows were well supported, although the Grand Parade was not held in 1972-1973. In 1971, the President’s Trophy included cattle, sheep and wool. By late 1971, the TAS finances were finally in ‘the black’! Women were first elected to the TAS Committee in 1972. The 120th Anniversary Show in 1973 was enhanced by new perimeter fencing, and the contribution of Show Judges was acknowledged. In 1974, a Miss Showgirl contest was run (a new RASWA initiative). The annual Show Dance was held on a dance floor at the Showgrounds in 1975. Cricket practice nets were erected in the horse stall area, but a subsidy helped TAS purchase portable horse stalls for breeding class horses. The 1977 Show was ‘livened up’ by the W.A. Folk Festival in Toodyay for the first time. By 1979, the Shire had replaced the old overhead electrical system with an underground system, and the Show supported the WAY ’79 theme for the State’s 150th anniversary with parades, historical photographs and memorabilia. The Show Dance turned into a ‘Wine and Beef’ evening.

Toodyay’s 150th Anniversary and a Building Challenge (1980-1999)

More Expansion, Toodyay’s 150th Celebration, and Building Plans (1980s)

In 1981, the Shire bought the Donegan’s Cottage block to extend the grounds westwards, where eventually the hockey field was created. The TAS deposited its older records in the Battye Library for safe-keeping, and paid the Toodyay Tourist Centre to undertake the duties of Secretary/Treasurer from 1981 to 1987. Special excursion trains still brought Show-goers to Toodyay. At the 1981 Show, the Grand Parade winner received a new Perpetual Trophy for harness horses. However, the show jumping events were deleted from the Schedule due to the lack of suitable equipment and insufficient ground area; they were not reinstated until 1984. From at least 1982 until 1996, a Show BBQ tea was provided by the Toodyay St. John’s Ambulance and later the Toodyay Senior Football Club. The Jean Bushell Trophy was first awarded in 1984, covering the Handicraft, Needlework, Horticulture and Vegetables Sections; it later became a ‘Perpetual Family Trophy’ by including the Children’s Section. From December 1984, the TAS made good promotional use of the new monthly community paper the Toodyay Herald. In 1985, TAS’s Moondyne Festival contributions included sheaf tossing and the fleeciest float, and junior stewards first participated in the Show.

Toodyay’s 150th Anniversary Year (1986)

Toodyay celebrated its 150th Anniversary in 1986 with a 150th Grand Parade, featuring horse-drawn vehicles. TV personality Anne Conti opened the Show. TAS Life Memberships and Certificates of Merit were presented. The Schedule featured historical photographs, and local farmer Wally Chitty organised a farm implement display. For the 1988 Show, the Shire of Toodyay sponsored a Special Bicentennial Art Award, which later became the Shire Art Acquisition Award in 1995. The Toodyay Scouts and Cubs raised funds for a new community Youth Hall to replace their old scout hall (TAS’s old tearoom). The TAS pledged financial support, but many delays were experienced.

Parks and Pavilions (1990s)

In 1990, the Horse Section classes were also issued as a separate leaflet, but the show jumping event was not run that year, due to the low entry rate. The following year, the hockey field was grassed, so Show-goers parked in the paddock along Toodyay Street. The Society’s 1921 Constitution was updated in 1991 and an Honour Roll Board was seriously considered in 1992. The 1992 Schedule cover confusingly presented a “Founded 1852” statement. The Show Ball made a come-back in 1992-1994, organised jointly by the TAS and the Toodyay Society. The last Toodyay Miss Showgirl reached the RASWA final in 1992. The TAS adopted 3-year terms for its Committee in 1993, and on Show Day, the northern pavilions frontage was officially named Hamersley Park, to acknowledge the support of the Hamersley family of Haseley. An award was initiated for the best commercial exhibit on Show Day and the side-shows moved into the hockey field area, later followed by the trade exhibits. From 1993 to 1997, the combined Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades presented displays and awards at the Show. Gate takings and pavilion exhibits were up but stock exhibits continued their declining trend. By 1994, the TAS was offering an annual Year 7 scholarship at the Toodyay District High School.

The old tearooms (demolished in 1993 and now the Youth Hall site) and the old Wool Pavilion to the right.

(Source: TAS Archives)

The extended Sports Pavilion was opened in 1994. TAS used the half-completed Youth Hall on Show Day in 1995. This Hall was officially opened on 26 January 1996 by the Shire President. Funds were provided by the Shire, the Lotteries Commission, the Youth Hall Committee (community fundraising and voluntary efforts) and the TAS ($8,000 plus earthworks and rocks). Importantly, the Hall included a new office for the TAS. The annual mini-auction of donated exhibits first started at the 1995 Show, raising funds for the Avon Hospice in Northam (each year a different organisation is supported). The President reported at the 1996 AGM that exhibit entries were up but gate admissions were down and it was a battle to cover costs. However, the TAS received a grant to build an enclosed metal wool pavilion, adjoining the sheep pavilion.

Fire brigade, sheep shearing and sheep dog demonstrations helped retain the Show’s country flavour. At the 1994 AGM, Leah Broderick was the first woman to be elected as Vice-President, soon followed by Alison Wroth in 1996. During 1996, TAS history information was again sought for a Show display. Max Trenorden MLA opened the new wool pavilion at the 1996 Show. A sponsored tractor pull event was conducted from 1996 to 1999.

Skyshow Spectacular (1999)

In 1999, the Toodyay night sky was lit, for the first time, by the very popular Skyshow Spectacular, a sponsored fireworks display, now an annual event, and a fitting end to every Show Day.

History Writing and 150th Anniversary Planning (2000s)

In 2001, and also in 2003, TAS was awarded a Certificate of Achievement at Toodyay’s annual Community Awards. TAS entered a candidate in the new Rural Youth Ambassador competition, which had replaced Miss Showgirl. The Jean Bushell Perpetual Family Trophy ceased in 2001. A special Wizards Express train brought Show-goers to the 2002 Show.

150th Anniversary Show (2003)

The preparation for TAS’s 150th Anniversary Show in 2003 was immense; computer entry recording commenced and the ring events, with their own Schedule, were extended into the following Sunday morning. More electric lighting and power was installed to allow Friday night judging and earlier Show Day access. At the successful Show Ball, the TAS 150th Quilt was unveiled. On 11 October 2003, the Governor, Lieut. General John Sanderson AC, opened the 150th Anniversary Show after leading a Street Parade. Historical machinery displays supported the rural history theme.

A TAS review of Showground facilities led to the Lee Steere Memorial Hall and the old office being upgraded. Seeking grants and sponsorships was vital in balancing the TAS’s financial books. The TAS and the Shire determined hire charges for their facilities, as the TAS owned the cattle and horse yards, sheep pavilion, bar, poultry shed, the Lee Steere Memorial Hall, a stage, and sundry other items. By Show Day 2005, the old wool pavilion had been removed and the Hotham Valley train made its last visit. At the 2006 AGM, the Society elected its first female President, Kerry Knowles. The TAS still contributed to the RASWA Central Districts Displays and funding two annual district school scholarships. The TAS also continued to contribute funds to local groups for undertaking various Show tasks, and was involved in a continuing Shire and community dialogue about future recreation plans and facilities.

TAS Honour Boards (2009)

In 1999, the Toodyay night sky was lit, for the first time, by the very popular Skyshow Spectacular, a sponsored fireworks display, now an annual event, and a fitting end to every Show Day.

Below: The TAS float in Toodyay’s 175th Anniversary Anniversary Grand Parade, 1 October 2011.

(Photo: Joe Edgecombe, 2011)

160th Anniversary of the Society’s Foundation (2013)

Alison WrothPresident

The year 2013 was the 160th Anniversary of the formation (in 1853) of the Toodyay Agricultural Society. During the year TAS began the project of paving the barren sand area in front of the Youth Hall was achieved, only with the sponsorship assistance of Austral Bricks and solid support by Committee members.  This improved the access to both Exhibition Halls and increased the overall look of the Showgrounds immensely.  A Show Ball titled “Spring Ball” was held on 31 August, following the tradition of holding a dance every ten years.  

The sudden passing of respected Committee member and Past President Gaven Donegan, cast a shadow on the community and our Society.

On Saturday 12 October, the Toodyay and wider community enjoyed attending the 160th Anniversary Show. Excellent weather, attendance and being opened by the Governor, His Excellency Mr. Malcolm McCusker, after the Grand parade through the town, this event which we believe is the best country Show in WA, was a resounding success. Excellent day overall.

RAS Rural Ambassador was Kristee Jolly, a TAS Committee Member who competed in the Central Group competition at York. She did herself and our Society proud.

Austral Bricks Fireworks were the wind up to the day.   

Update by Alison Wroth, 2013 – and into the future.

Over the following years the Committee of the Toodyay Ag Society have through hard work, stress, time and effort, made the Toodyay Show one of the best Agricultural Shows in the State, with an average of 4500 going through the gate.


TAS learnt they were losing a large area of the former hockey oval used for trade on Show day due to the location of indigenous grave sites.  A new layout was initiated by the Ground Stewards on the Main Oval for the Trade displays, creating corridors and better overall viewing of the Showground area.

Local RAS Rural Ambassador entrant Dustin Michael won the Central Competition hosted in Toodyay, to proceed to the State Finals at the Royal Show.  The Committee still endeavouring to attract the youth of the town to join the Society, one way they do this is through the Rural Ambassador Award.

Capably assisted by Department of Justice work crews, skilled members from the Committee and Society set to work during the year,  maintaining the Sheep Pavilion, Poultry and Pigeon Sheds, Cattle Yards and painting the extension at the Lee Steere Pavilion. All this made the Showgrounds more appealing and safer to the public. 

Sponsorship has become a major issue after refusing Healthways request for Naming rights to the Show. As in the future, Major Sponsors are to be highly valued as it becomes more expensive to organise the event.

TAS website was begun, with hopes for the Show Schedule, entry forms and the ability to promote the Show far and wide, more accessible.  Promotion of new Sponsors will also be available on the website.  Just as the Facebook page has modernized our overall look and reach to our intended market and Show attendees.


John Mitchinson was President this year; taking over from Alison Wroth who had completed her 3 year term.

A representative from the 10th Light Horse was organised to Officially Open the 162nd Toodyay Agricultural Show.

An incredibly hot day; both morning and afternoon, with the temperature getting to 37*C. 

Stewards went to an extra effort to preserve the exhibits in the Halls and all Livestock were kept an extra eye on with such an overwhelming hot day.  Many families left early due to the heat, but returned in the cool evening for the fireworks.

Traditional Presentations at 4pm were run smoothly by Kerry Knowles as MC.

Austral Bricks supported the Fireworks in an excellent display.  Despite the weather, the Show ran smoothly and was deemed a success at the gate and definitely at the Bar!


Central Group advised the RAS that they could no longer provide a District Display due to lack of membership and volunteers, but would still support each other shows and by participating in the Annual RAS Rural Ambassador Award.

Due to a contagious airborne virus, the Pigeon section was cancelled. The Steward Imre Unvary excelled at filling the empty Shed with an educational display on Poultry. Crowd were very impressed.

Weather was overcast and rainy day in the morning, making it very quiet on the Showground.   Unkind weather meant for a loss at the gate.  Lack of room to park vehicles, bought the normal hassles on ground.

Rural Ambassador Entrant was Sarah Jane Simonetti and the hosting town was Beverley.

Presentation of Life Membership to Committee Member and Past President Alison Wroth  by Patron Brian McGill at the Official opening.

John Mitchinson announced his resignation from being President after two years, due to ill health.


Kevin HutchingsPresident

Exhibitors Workshops by Alison Wroth (Chief Steward) in an attempt to motivate people to enter offering the value to visiting Judges giving tips and advice to all that attended.

Major restoration of the Lee Steere Pavilion display benches and pinup boards began.

Cool weather at the 164th Toodyay Show did not keep the crowds away. Different variety of groundspace on the main oval as well, filled with trade stalls. There was a solid display of cattle by Charlie Wroth who also took out the President’s Trophy again. Committee believes the Meat & Livestock changes will affect the showing of livestock in the future unless we are prepared and manage the grounds regarding the biosecurity regulations.

Official Opening by Toodyay Citizen of the Year Greg Warburton          MC is Paul Thompson

Presentation of Life Memberships to Committee members and both Past Presidents: Kerry Knowles and Kevin Hutchings.

RAS Rural Ambassador local entrant is Jess Shilcock to compete in the Central Group Competition at York.

Students from Curtin University volunteer programme are involved again.

Austral Bricks Sponsored Fireworks closing the Show.


TAS Committee members continued with their maintenance programme from the previous year and began doing major repair work in the TAS Wool Shed.  The Lee Steere pavilion and the Wool Shed were renovated for the Show and have improved the safety of the buildings and the overall look

An Exhibitors Workshop was run again in August featuring Floriculture, Cookery and Needlework Judges giving tips on Show displays.  Very popular and beneficial to attendees.

165th Toodyay Show was a resounding success, with the President Kevin Hutchings finally getting the fine day he had been wanting. 

Both Toodyay District High School and Bolgart Primary provided excellent school displays of students craft work, providing a colourful backdrop to the Exhibition Hall.

There were 65 Trade exhibits, 17 food operators with 1658 general entries overall.

“Guess the Weight of the Cow” and “Guess the Length of the Rusty Fence Roll” proved very popular with up to $300 up for the winner or runner up.

RAS Rural Ambassador was Edward Ludemann from Bolgart,   Toodyay was the host venue for the Central Group Competition. York entrant won the day.


The 3rd Exhibitors Workshop was in July put on by the Chief Steward.  The Section this year was Photography and an excellent Judge was enlisted for the workshop to give advice and for the following morning tea.

The TAS committee and the Admin Officer, Geoff Appleby; pushed new memberships and wristband giveaways at various competitions and raffles during the year.

The TAS Show Schedule & Programme of Events came out early this year.  Members had their Schedules before the public viewed it, just as it should be.

The Friday before the 166th Show, it rained all afternoon but on Saturday, the warm weather bought with it the crowds and that meant that even the Bar might be in for a successful day.  It was the first attempt at having the Show as “Autism Friendly”… The coordinator, Shelly Dival, promoted this well and was pleased with the efforts to organise a “quiet, sensory room” for any participants.

Dairy Goat judging and just having Goats return for competition to the ground, has worked well as they are a real draw card for young and old.

RAS Rural Ambassador entrant was Jordie Street who represented us with Northam as the host venue. Northam entrant won.


Alison WrothPresident 

Due to the COVID-19  world Pandemic – the uncertainty, health issues and regulations that it bought… the heartbreaking decision was made by the Committee to CANCEL the 167th Toodyay Show.

Without the Show to organise, the time was spent on a Membership Drive and Wood Raffle before organising a major fundraiser to be held in October, same day that the Show would have been held.

This fundraising Quiz Night was held at the Sports Pavilion, proving a very successful night for TAS both through the funds raised and promotion of the Society in general.  Majority of the community seemed at a loss without the Show occurring


Committee decided that after the cancelled year, 2021 Show would follow on and be the 167th Toodyay Agricultural Show.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has proved to the world that it is here to stay and we are to vaccinate and live our lives.

TAS Committee developed a detailed COVID Plan for the event, to attach to the Event Application as required now for all events. 

Online ticketing was taken on to see if it would work with reducing the queues at the gates and hopefully pressure on gate volunteers.  EFTpos machines were also hired for use at the Main Gate and for withdrawals of up to $100 again at the Treasurer’s Office as in previous years.

Redevelopment of the Bar area into the sponsored Bendigo Bank “Terrace Bar” making it more family friendly and using the entire lawn, was put into place.  The normal bar with special furniture, lighting,  a Pizza Oven and Coorinja and Funk Cider stalls included, made the licenced area very inviting.  Committee were thrilled with the outcome, Cricket Club ran the bar for the Show.

Record attendance and the weather was 25*C.  There were over 4200 admissions through the gate that day.   General entries were 1407.

Due to the COVID lockdown and people being unable to attend events, when the 167th Toodyay Show went ahead, the crowd was excellent.  Makit sponsored the Fireworks display which went for a full 20 minutes.

Emergency Scenario of the “car crash” was very popular once again with all local Emergency Services involved in the display.  Proves to be very educational and a real attraction for the crowd at lunchtime.  A large variety of entertainment proved very popular all day with the large crowd, queues were lengthy at the food vans, something we had not experienced for many years.

Equestrian was action packed all day with the return of children’s Pony games and fun events which the crowd enjoy watching.  The Hacking Classes were removed for the first time from the Toodyay Show.

Rural Ambassador Aimee Tyson and the hosting town was Beverley.  Unfortunately, due to lack of entrants (Toodyay was the only town with an entrant) the Central Group competition was cancelled and RAS were advised that after discussion we would send the winner of the previous year, Josh Antonio from Northam, to the State Final