The representative display of produce that is grown in and around Bathurst is exhibited at the annual show each year. Members of the Bathurst Agricultural and Horticultural Association travelled, almost every year, to Sydney to mount the grand display which is always carefully and painstakingly designed with a theme. Our photo this week shows part of the Sydney Royal Easter Show display which was highlighting Bathurst.
A SIGN in the display states it is Bathurst 'The City of the Plains' situated on the Macquarie River and just 149 miles from Sydney by rail and 127 miles by road.
The population in Bathurst at the time was 15,000. Products grown in the district was mainly wool, wheat, fruit and vegetables. One may think that the district exhibit has its own magnetic power to draw the public to it as a 'must see' display each year.
Known as the District Exhibit, it was one of the most popular sights at the majority of shows. From the early days of the show there have been displays of local fruit, vegetables and cereals, albeit displayed initially under a gum tree in an open field.
It did not take long before a bush frame shelter with canvas over it protected the exhibits from the sun and rain. Locals were keen to show what they could grow, as well as their farming skills. Prizes were soon forthcoming, and the number of exhibitors increased.
Generally, a number of local farmers were involved in growing what might be needed for the display. They would deliver the produce to our local showground.
If it was required for the district display in Sydney, then most of the items were delivered to the Bathurst Railway Station to be sent freight free to Sydney Showgrounds.
George Churches of Raglan in the 1890s and George Trevitt of Peel in 1927 were commonly mentioned.
Included in many exhibits were bags of corn, oats, wheat, sorghum, maize and ryegrass, beside trussed oaten and lucerne hay, along with oaten sheaves as cut in the field. Tall sheeves of wheat and oats were usually used in quantity to augment the exhibits and in the 1920 it was decorated with locally grown tobacco leaves. Tobacco plants were grown in 1890 by In Sing and Sun Lupe, both of Mount Pleasant.
Bags of the various grains were also used to make the spectacle. Maize on the cob was common in April 1890, to be used in winter for stock feed.
There was plenty of orchard fruit included such as all sorts of apples, cherries, peaches, apricots, pears, oranges, lemons, figs, grapes, plums and quinces.
Vegetables were popularly added with watermelons, tomatoes, pumpkins, especially giant ones, squash and marrows, zucchinis, cauliflowers, cabbages, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, turnips, sweet corn, onions, celery, beans and peas. Then there were bottles of chutneys, sauces and pickles which graced many exhibitions.
Preserves were usually prepared in glass preserving Mason and Vacola bottles making some very eye pleasing designs with the fruit and vegetables inside.
In the 1900 the Bathurst Agricultural Farm prepared their own preserves specially to exhibit at the Bathurst Show, this continuing till after World War Two.
In April 1915 Mr George Trevitt was staging a portion of the Western District exhibit which was shown at the Royal and was able to give a good idea of the work necessary in preparing such a display.
It was stated that if all the farmers of Bathurst district had the enthusiasm of this exhibitor in determining to do his best, what a Show it would be. Bathurst had won the District Shield at the Royal.
All past organisers and assistances should be congratulated for all their industrious and artistic efforts, many of them for countless years.
Shows notoriously brought out newly purchased wardrobes. It meant that new shoes would be purchased for the children.
Bathurst's well-dressed citizens enjoyed the sideshows, District and other exhibits and grand parade with its display of livestock champions from the bluebloods of flocks and herds.