Thursday 8 June 2017
Queensland's agricultural shows are a serious business for community groups throughout the state that rely on their profits and goodwill programs to help enrich the lives of local residents.
Take for example, the Goondiwindi Show, which is one of more than 125 agricultural shows held each year in Queensland.
Over the years, the Goondiwindi Pastoral and Agricultural Society has developed strong partnerships with business and the wider community to assist and support not-for-profit groups and people in difficult circumstances.
Covering about 11,000 people across the district, the society's list of recipients includes local nursing and aged care homes, the kindergarten, RSL, the Lions and Rotary clubs as well as a host of other groups supporting rural communities.
Held in May each year, the Goondiwindi Show has also developed a reputation for holding the best regional art show outside of Sydney.
This year, organisers received 444 artworks from professional and semi-professional artists, offered $24,000 in prize money, and sold artworks valued at more than $25,000.
The Department of Local Government, Infrastructure and Planning is very supportive of agricultural show organisers and their efforts to strengthen ties with local communities.
In 2016–17, the Goondiwindi Pastoral and Agricultural Society received $13,300 from the department's Show Societies Grants Program.
During this financial year, a total of $2.01 million was awarded to the Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Societies (QCAS) to help member organisations to conduct their shows and maintain existing showground facilities.
Included in that figure was a $10,000 grant to the Queensland Axemen's Association to support wood chopping events at Queensland shows.
QCAS general manager, Karen Wolf, said government support was invaluable and continued to produce great results for both business and the wider community all over Queensland.
‘With thousands of active members and supporters located across this large and diverse state, it's easy to see why the agricultural show movement is so important and is making such a positive difference to so many lives,’ she said.
Ms Wolf said Goondiwindi was just one example of how show societies were helping local communities to connect and thrive.
‘The Goondiwindi Lions Club received 15 per cent of the gate takings, which represents its major event and fund raising initiative for the year,’ she said.
‘The RSL sold steak burgers at a free stand, providing them with a profit this year of $6500 for veterans and their families in the local area.
‘In addition, Goondiwindi Rotary own and supply the ATMs, earning a range of fees for hire and transactions that support their community activities. They also provide this service to other regional shows, significantly reducing the cost associated if organisers had to secure an ATM.’
Other direct benefits to the community from this year's show included:
- The Goondiwindi Eisteddfod earned $300 from a raffle held at the night time rodeo corporate box.
- The local nursing home women's auxiliary was able to utilise a free site to sell raffle tickets.
- All profits from the evening dinner at the art show opening went directly to the Goondiwindi kindergarten. The $1000 raised will be used to update bathroom facilities.
- Free entry for residents of the Kaloma Home for the Aged saw 28 residents and their carers enjoy a great day out.
In addition, the show society helped to organise:
- Free facilities for local men's sheds to build and encourage support for men living in the regions.
- Free facilities for the local ladies shed for all fundraising activities.
- Days for girls — another women's group who use the show society's facilities to prepare and send essentials packs to underprivileged women including sanitary and hygiene items.
- Free facilities for the Goondiwindi Pony Club to support local equestrian sports and riders.
Ms Wolf encouraged more people to join agricultural show societies as volunteers and help their communities.
‘It is very rewarding to see how your efforts as an individual and as part of a group can make a real difference,’ she said.
‘You can see it every day, particularly in regional communities.’
Photo: Courtesy of Goondiwindi Pastoral and Agricultural Society.