OPINION: Expo showcases what makes the Mid West great

Lara DaltonCountryman
Mingenew Midwest Expo.
Camera IconMingenew Midwest Expo. Credit: Mingenew Midwest Expo

As a kid growing up in Geraldton, I remember how excited I would be at the prospect of going to the Chapman Valley Show.

We never went to the big smoke’s Perth Royal Show — that was way too much of an extravagance for my working class family.

But the Chapman Valley Show was definitely an event for the Daltons.

The four of us would pile into the family car, a zippy little Datsun 180B, thank you very much, where the day’s adventures would begin, with my Dad telling us kids to look out for the giants who slept in the Valley’s hills. Oh my!

Keeping a vigilant eye out for giants, my sister and I would hatch our plans for the day ahead.

Deciding on what to do first was probably the hardest part of the day.

I recall the thrill of going through the show gates.

With Mum’s explicit instructions on where to meet should we get lost ringing in our ears, my sister and I would take off, first to see how we had fared in the colouring in competition, followed by the much-anticipated pony ride.

And what an absolute delight it was to watch the shearing competition. Who knew that was how the wool got off the sheep’s back?

As a townie not being exposed to farm life, it felt so wonderful, warm and a real adventure — I felt envious of my farm friends.

I followed my parents’ lead when my children were young by piling them into the family car and driving the 26km to the Chapman Valley’s showgrounds.

Of course, I warned my kids about the sleeping giants; alas, they didn’t seem too fazed about such creatures.

But like my sister and I, their excitement for what lay ahead was electric and they too plotted their adventures for the day.

Don’t worry, I kept a cautious eye out for the sleeping giants as I drove, soaking up the colours of green wheat and yellow canola.

When I was a TAFE lecturer, I took my students to the Mingenew Midwest Expo.

As a kid growing up in Geraldton, I remember how excited I would be at the prospect of going to the Chapman Valley Show.

Lara Dalton

Over many years, the Expo has provided opportunities for agricultural technologies to be showcased and businesses to meet their customers face-to-face.

The Expo is important to the local community for all the usual reasons — to build and create relationships, to learn about new agricultural technologies, to showcase their bountiful wares.

But to me, the most vital role of the Expo is the warm embrace of community and the abundance of fun that awaits you.

Since COVID-19 put an end to shows last year and after the effects of cyclone Seroja, many of the towns in the Mid West have been under enormous strain.

The resilience and tenacity of these communities has been nothing short of inspiring.

This is highlighted in the extraordinarily long list of what is on offer at the Expo this year.

The program is chock-a-block full of exhibitions, competitions, day and night entertainment, and informative sessions on the main stage.

This year more than any other the Expo is needed to boost morale and to bring people together.

And as always it serves as a great reminder of how much the Mid West relies on farming communities and how much they contribute every day to our lives.

This year in my new role as the Member for Geraldton, along with my parliamentary colleague, Sandra Carr MLC Member for the Agricultural Region, I’ll be joining many stallholders at various shows around the region.

I’m looking forward to being a part of the excitement (sans sleeping giants).

Lara Dalton is the Geraldton MLA.

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