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Brunswick Show committee ‘proud’ of strong ag connection and hope to raise $150K for RFDS at this year’s show

Headshot of Shannon Verhagen
Brunswick Show president Julianne Hill.
Camera IconBrunswick Show president Julianne Hill. Credit: Shannon Verhagen/Countryman

Lifesaving rural emergency services and the diverse agricultural industries powering regional WA are set to take centre stage at the South West’s biggest agricultural show in October.

With the theme “Celebrating Rural Emergency Services,” organisers of the 2022 Brunswick Show have pulled out all the stops to showcase the heroes behind the critical services.

Nine emergency service groups will take over the Brunswick Recreation Ground’s oval — including a demonstration from the RAC chopper — using the opportunity to not only showcase what they do, but undertake a recruitment drive.

Brunswick Agricultural Society president Julianne Hill said volunteers played a “vital” role in the bush and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm and Minister Stephen Dawson would be attending to celebrate their contributions.

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“All of those volunteers, they’re doing things often not at times they want to be doing them — often during Christmas holidays and at risk to themselves — and it could be their farm or their house that could be in the path of the fire... or whatever is happening,” she said.

“With the Waroona fires… in the dairy field, there were a lot of cows burnt and dairies burnt and I just thought, ‘how much have those people contributed to keeping somebody else’s place alive and looking after somebody else?’”

The charity auction of Clarabelle the Cow will return once more, this year raising money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

It is a cause close to Mrs Hill’s heart.

“Mum has been extracted a couple of times by RFDS at Ravensthorpe and one of those times she’d actually completely died and got brought back,” she said.

The bright pink ceramic cow last year went under the hammer for $25,000, purchased by local transport company MGM Bulk, who Mrs Hill said then travelled around WA with it in a custom-painted pink minivan to raise money.

Between the Brunswick Agricultural Society matching the purchase price and the money raised on the road, Mrs Hill said close to $120,000 had been raised for last year’s charity — Solaris Cancer Care.

“It’s just fantastic — it’s amazing,” she said.

Mrs Hill hopes this year’s auction will have similar success for the RFDS, hoping to crack the $150,000 mark by the time the 2023 show comes around next year.

Another new addition for the show’s 90th year is a beer pavilion dubbed the ‘Liquor Barn’ sponsored by popular local watering hole the Treendale Farm Hotel.

“That’s going to really revitalise this year — we’ll have tastings and things,” Mrs Hill said.

The usual drawcards — which bring upwards of 25,000 people to the grounds each year — will be back, including log chopping, fireworks, and sheep herding.

Mrs Hill said the committee of 40-50 locals — many of whom are on farms or involved in the agricultural sector — were “really proud” to have kept those aspects of the one-day event a feature.

From milking demonstrations and horse competitions to cattle, meat and sheep judging, a bright spotlight will be shone on the State’s booming $11 billion agricultural sector.

“With the cattle section, the dairy section, the sheep section, the heritage breed section — there’s tons of animals there, which is kind of a dying thing in most of these ag shows,” Mrs Hill said. “So we’re really proud about having that part of it.”

She is also looking forward to the Ag Challenge, which will be run by committee members Lauren Patane and Laura Ellis and was a hit last year, with 30 people across 10 teams competing in a range of farm-related challenges.

Tickets for the show, which will be held on October 22, can be purchased at brunswickshow.com.au or at the gate.

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