Moving the Show ‘pie in the sky idea’

Bob Garnant & Charlotte EltonCountryman
COUNTRYMAN. 2012 IGA Perth Royal Show Grand Parade. PHOTO: DANELLA BEVIS
Camera IconCOUNTRYMAN. 2012 IGA Perth Royal Show Grand Parade. PHOTO: DANELLA BEVIS Credit: Danella Bevis

Farmers who exhibit livestock at Perth Royal Show have labelled City of Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas’ proposal to move the historic event to the middle of Perth an “unrealistic” pie in the sky idea.

The Show’s location at the Claremont Showgrounds is on shaky grounds after a recent tug-of-war between the Royal Agricultural Society and the Town of Claremont.

RASWA chief executive Peter Cooper last week accused the Town of Claremont of mounting a “long-running campaign” to push the Show out of the Claremont Showgrounds.

He accused the council of “flexing their muscles” to make life difficult for the society, which has organised a hugely popular Royal Show at the venue since 1902.

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Royal Agricultural Society of WA chief executive Peter Cooper.
Camera IconRoyal Agricultural Society of WA chief executive Peter Cooper. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian, Daniel Wilkins

“They want us gone,” Mr Cooper said. “It would be a massive rates boost for the town if we were pushed out.”

The stoush prompted Mr Zempilas to offer an “alternative home” to the Perth Royal Show.

“The Perth Royal Show actually in the heart of Perth — it makes perfect sense,” he said.

“Imagine displays and exhibitions at the Convention Centre, showbag stalls at Elizabeth Quay, a family zone at Supreme Court Gardens, rides on Langley Park, farm equipment and caravans at the WACA, live animals and the lumberjacks at Gloucester Park and unlocking the riverfront along Riverside Drive with sideshow alley.

“It would be breathtaking.”

Corrigin Merino breeder Steven Bolt said the Perth Lord Mayor’s suggestion of the Perth Royal Show move was encouraging, but not realistic.

“I am not sure if Gloucester Park has the facilities to host a sheep show, but I couldn’t see myself outside a well-penned shed trying to manage our show sheep in a rain storm on wet ground,” he said.

“Representing my family that has been exhibiting our sheep and fleeces for more than 40 years, it was great to hear Basil show support of the Show.”

Mr Bolt suggested the Show stays where it traditionally has been to maintain the strong connection to city peopleabout where food and fibre comes from.

“Maybe, an additional weekend event could take place at another venue to expand our communication with people removed from agriculture,” he said.

I am not sure if Gloucester Park has the facilities to host a sheep show.

Steven Bolt

Mr Bolt and his family have had three RASWA Governor’s Cup awards from exhibiting their Claypans Merino sheep and fleeces.

“We would like the State Government to consider more assistance, possibly free entry, so that more people could interact with farmers,” he said.

“This would be better money spent than trying to move the Show elsewhere.

“The Claremont Showgrounds has purpose-built facilities in a small confined space which offers visitors easy access.

“Spreading the Show throughout a wide area of Perth would present some difficult challenges.”

Elgin cattle breeder Loreen Kitchen, who has been exhibiting her Bandeeka stud cattle at the Perth Royal Show for 39 years, said she was disappointed to hear the Perth Lord Mayor’s pie-in-the-sky comment about moving the Show to several city locations.

“The Claremont Showgrounds is one of the most beautiful grounds in the world,” she said.

“The improvements the Royal Agricultural Society of WA has done to the grounds over the last 10 years has been outstanding.”

Mrs Kitchen and her family, who breed Simmental and Red Angus cattle, have won the RASWA Governors’ Cup on five occasions.

“What is more important is the Show brings the country to the city,” she said.

“It benefits city kids and their education on where food comes from.

“We exhibitors find this very rewarding.”

The Claremont Showgrounds is one of the most beautiful grounds in the world.

Loreen Kitchen

Broomehill farmer and top-gun shearer Damien Boyle, who has 23 Perth Royal Show open competitive shearing titles said if the Show was moved, it would be unsuccessful.

“The Shearing competition is a one-day event, and the Claremont grounds allows visitors to return throughout the day, and not miss the finals,” he said.

“It’s an all in one venue.”

Mr Boyle said visitors who attending the competition learned about how people work in the country.

“Some have never seen shearing, and its an education for young people who may want to enter the industry,” he said.

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