Backward Glance: Celebrating the Nambour Show
  • Wednesday 07 June 2017
The Nambour Showgrounds will again come to life with the much-loved annual Sunshine Coast Agricultural Show from Friday, June 16 to Sunday, June 18 June.

Agricultural shows provide the opportunity for everyone to enjoy local agricultural, community and entertainment exhibits and events.

Graziers, livestock breeders as well as orchardists and dairy farmers showcase their farm animals, agricultural crops and produce grown throughout the local district.

Products such as pineapples, strawberries, ginger, macadamias, custard apples and avocadoes are still grown in the Sunshine Coast region.

However, for some crops, not to the extent of years gone by.

The dairy industry has diversified and today we see different types of livestock such as goats, alpacas and both miniature and beef cattle such as the smaller Dexter cattle on show.

Moving with the times, new niche industries are showcased including tea-tree oil production, gourmet cheese, baked products, yoghurt and milk production will all be on offer.

Today we can still admire the needlework, knitting and handicraft skills exhibited along with the talents of home cooks and their award-winning cakes and pies, jam and pickles.

The history of the now Sunshine Coast Show goes back to a meeting held in the Woombye School of Arts in 1900 where a show society was formed.

At that meeting it was decided that the agricultural show society be known as the Maroochy Pastoral, Agricultural, Horticultural and Industrial Society.

The idea created much interest and the first show in the district was held on June 3, 1900 in the Woombye School of Arts Hall and was a great success.

Needlework, cookery, school work and floral art were displayed inside the small Woombye hall.

The show ring was small and with space being a factor, only three side shows were allowed.

One of these was the popular merry-go-round.

Woombye was a prime fruit growing area at that time, while Nambour, in 1900, had a population of approximately 350 people.

The first show in Nambour was held on June 2 and 3, 1909.

There was room for a large pavilion and facilities closer to the Nambour township.

J T Lowe, who was president of the show society, organised and directed all of the preparations.

Firstly timber had to be cleared from the grounds, the arena had to be leveled and fenced and facilities were made for holding the horses in stalls as well as for the cattle.

Poultry cages were efficiently erected for the different breeds to be displayed.
The pavilion, which cost around 2000 pounds, was erected and measured 50 feet long by 30 feet wide with timber walls built on high stumps.

Refreshments were served under a tarpaulin with a bush timber frame.

The show grew and in 1931 a larger pavilion was built and became the venue for the show ball held annually.

During World War II, the Australian Army occupied the site and buildings.

From 1942 till 1946, the show was cancelled because of military restrictions and the occupation of the site by various military units.

After the cessation of WWII, the pavilion needed attention and it was renovated in 1947.

The floor was restored as well as new windows and the back stairs replaced.

An area for a luncheon booth was also created at this time.

There was fierce competition but all in good spirit when the local sugar cane farmers displayed their best.

Where the hard working sugar cane farmers displayed their cane, a sign hung proudly with the words “Sugar is a Natural Part of Life”.

Animals can have a mind of their own and it was in 1992 that a bull ran through the grounds and along Petrie Creek before being caught by the relieved owner.

Another memory involves local identity Lurline Apps helping Dulcie Fink in the 1990s as she carefully displayed the bottled preserves.

She was not to know that the display table wasn’t secured and around 20 bottles fell to the ground.

The only bottle of preserves to break was Lurlines, for which she was relieved.

In years gone by when money was hard to come by, children saved their pocket money up all year to spend on show bags, fairy floss, dagwood dogs and sideshow alley.

Children still look forward to the annual Sunshine Coast Agricultural Show.

Many in the community today are involved as judges, exhibitors and volunteer helpers at our local show.

It is their support and dedication that ensures the show is still a great success each year.

Volunteers not only do it for the show, they do it for our community.

Today, main ring events, like show jumping and dressage, the grand parade, cattle judging and equestrian competition, as well as the ever popular woodchop, continue to provide entertainment for all.

The animal nursery showcases farm animals for children who learn about the importance of farm life and the farm animals on show. 

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.

In 2017 we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Naming of the Sunshine Coast. For more information on this milestone anniversary visit

Image captions:

Hero image: Nambour Showgrounds during the annual Great North Coast Show, Nambour, 1957.

Carousel images:
Image 1: First pavilion built for the first Nambour Show in 1909.
Image 2: Canning Pines display with list of prize winners at the annual show, Nambour, 1971.
Image 3: Competitors in the 12 inch standing woodchop competition at the annual show, Nambour, 1964.
Image 4: Agricultural students with a rooster in the poultry section at the annual show, Nambour, 1964.
Image 5: Judging Fruit cake entries at the annual show, Nambour, 1964.