There were tears and cheers as the 50th celebration of the Wagin Woolorama was held on March 10 and 11, one year later than originally planned but with more enthusiasm than a spritely Poll Dorset in the show ring.
WA’s biggest sheep show returned in style after last year’s COVID-19 induced hiatus, with more than 20,000 people flocking through the gates for the 50th celebration — take two — of the Wagin community’s flagship event.
Woolorama is always the first large-scale agricultural field day of the year, and this year’s special celebration went off without a hitch.
With a huge line-up of events, the event had plenty for all locals, farmers and tourists who attended the two-day event.
More than 3000 entrants were received for the show’s various competitions, ranging from sheep, cattle, fleece and poultry judging, to art, cooking and photography.
As always, sheep and wool were the stars of the show with a solid number of Merino and Poll Merino entries, and British and Australasian sheep showing their best across the two sheds.
Woolorama president Paul Powell said it was a relief and a delight the event was able to return in full strength this year after last year being mothballed by WA Premier Mark McGowan’s snap Level 2 COVID-19 restrictions.
While that cancellation, just 10 days before the event, had hit hard, Mr Powell said the community and the Woolorama team had continued to show their community spirit by holding their heads high and organising a 2023 event to remember.
At a special sponsors and dignitaries event to open Woolorama on the evening of March 9, event co-founder Ric McDonald shared the story of how Woolorama was founded five decades ago.
In 1972, Mr McDonald and Malcolm Edward were young farm workers with a bold vision to rebrand what was then a small regional agriculture show and grow it into something bigger.
Having previously worked for Elders Wool, Mr Edward used his industry contacts to convince the company to bring along a core sampling machine, which was something of a novelty at the time
Mr McDonald’s speech was followed by a few words from long-time Woolorama volunteer Maurie Becker, who told the crowd with a tear in his eye that his Woolorama gold pin was his proudest possession.
The trio — possibly Wagin’s three most well-known men — then cut the 50th anniversary cake to declare the event open, kickstarting two days of celebrations in the small Great Southern town.
The 2024 Wagin Woolorama will be held on March 8 and 9.