Published: 23 September 2020

Legislative Council Tuesday 15 September, 2020

Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, on 13 May 1885 the very first show was held at the historic Wynyard Showground in Jackson Street. The Wynyard Show continues to be held on the Saturday closest to 15 March each year. This show is one of Tasmania's oldest remaining centenary shows and it still retains its classic country feel, welcoming over 4000 visitors each year.

These are uncertain times for agricultural shows everywhere, but even more uncertain due to COVID-19. Next year's show is scheduled for 13 March 2021 and, all being well, it will be the 133rd show. Incidentally, the 2020 show was the last event I attended before the COVID-19 lockdown and even then it was apparent things were likely to change rapidly.

At the Wynyard Showground, it is not all about agricultural shows. The showground is used throughout the year by a diverse and vibrant group of users who make up the Wynyard Showground community, ranging in age from toddlers to nonagenarians - quite a wide range of ages.

The Wynyard Show Society was recently successful in securing federal funding under the Regional Agricultural Show Development Grants Program. These funds and additional financial support from the state Government and the Tasmanian Community Fund have enabled the show society to undertake a substantial makeover of this historic showground. The improvements include upgrades to the reception and display areas, to cabinetry, insulation and air conditioning and new improved all-abilities and unisex toilets. These upgrades will improve the comfort and enjoyment of the facilities for all users.

A working group has been initiated by the Waratah-Wynyard Council to develop a strategic plan taking account of the wide variety of pursuits undertaken at the showground. The Wynyard Showgrounds Working Group, as it is called, was formed on 28 May 2019 and consists of two councillors - Celisa Edwards and Gary Bramich - the five showground user group representatives and the general manager, recreation officer and executive officer of the Waratah-Wynyard Council.

The group is working to develop future strategic visions for the use of the showgrounds site and to determine options for the role council may or may not play in the vision. It is pleasing to see council working with the showground community in this way to ensure the facility is more fully used and supports a range of community groups while still maintaining its heritage and history.

The complex covers 2.9 hectares, and the show community is made up of about 800 members.

These organisations are run and supported by volunteers who contribute an enormous number of hours to our community. Furthermore, given that Wynyard's population is about 6000, this means that about 13 per cent of our local residents are part of this vibrant community through the following organisations -

• Wynyard Agricultural and Pastoral Society, which holds the showground Crown lease until 2058.

• Wynyard Cricket Club - the showgrounds are the home ground of the Wynyard Blues - currently has 180 players registered across 10 teams, with entry-level programs for children aged from 5 to 12 years. Five Hurricanes Inclusion Cup players, an initiative to provide cricket-playing opportunities for players with a physical or intellection impairment, are included among their people. There is a new under-13 girls' program and it facilitates a four team primary school competition involving about an additional 30 children.

• Wynyard Gymnastics Club, which conducts classes and training most days in the industrial hall. The club also actively cooperates with St Giles Autism Specific Learning and Care programs.

• University of the Third Age, or U3A, hosts over 4000 people annually attending its activities.

• North West Bird Club Tasmania, which has grown from 19 members at its inception meeting in a private residence to 60 members, from Devonport through to Irish Town. Its current clubrooms were made possible by a $2500 grant awarded by the government through the late Tony Fletcher, and a loan of $2000 from the Wynyard Agricultural and Pastoral Society. The club is an integral part of the Wynyard community and its clubrooms are used for regular meetings, information days and hosting interstate bird club and bird shows; it is also available for hire for the community.

Other friends of the Wynyard Showground include the Wynyard Axemen's Association and the North Western Poultry Society.

I commend all those involved in these projects and in this rebuild project. It is exciting to watch this new building to house the facilities, including the industrial hall, change rooms and office space. I drove past when heading down here and it is nearly complete. It is amazing how quickly it has gone up.

Many people have given voluntary time to achieve this, including the president, Robert Stokes; secretary, Chris Stunden; and Duncan Sadler, Chris Campbell and Rosalie Martin, who recently provided a site list for me. I want to particularly commend their work. It has been a huge undertaking and it will make such a difference to all the showground users who will actually have some decent public facilities.

Go Back