Kangaroo Valley Show shines despite a deluge

In 1881 a public meeting was held in Kangaroo Valley to discuss the formation of an Agricultural and Horticultural Society like neighbouring towns Nowra and Berry.

Many of the people in those districts questioned how successful a show would be, considering the Valley’s tiny population and difficult location, routes in and out were no more than dirt tracks which had to be navigated with horse and buggy.

Every farmer in attendance offered to assist in establishing the society and make the first show a success. It was unanimously decided to establish the association and James Campbell, a business man in Kangaroo Valley, was appointed as president.

The first show was held in 1885, on the banks of the river at the rear of what was then known as the Commercial Hotel, now the Friendly Inn and was a success, attracting many visitors who said it exceeded their expectations.

In 1887, the association moved to another site at the rear of the Friendly Inn Hotel, owned by the Osborne Estate. 

In 1912 the Kangaroo Valley Show was hit by extreme weather, similar to that experienced in the Shoalhaven over the last week.

On the first day of the show, temperatures reached 43 degrees, which were testing conditions for the show cattle.

The next day temperatures eased, however, proceeding were brought to a halt when an afternoon thunderstorm soaked attendees, causing them to head home in the pouring rain.

On February 18, 1956 the show was moved to its current location, Osborne Park Showground.

Kangaroo Valley received eight inches of heavy rain on February 10, and continued through to February 14 when 135 points fell in 30 minutes. It was the heaviest recorded in the district.

Throughout the show, the heavy rain continued which caused cattle to become bogged, with many unable to make it to the showground as they were marooned by flood on their farms. Cars were banned from the ring area, the trotting track was washed away and all hunts and trotting races were cancelled.

Despite the uncomfortable conditions, takings at the gate nearly reached record numbers.

The rainfall for February 1956 was 31 inches and it fell over a period of only 17 days.  

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