History of the Gunnedah Show

The Gunnedah Showground was little more than a clearing in a pine scrub when the fledgling Gunnedah P A & H Association conducted its first show in 1888.

The annual show was the most important event of the year in the early 1900s.  Crowds arrived by horse and buggy, spring cart, on horseback and on foot. Trains ran at excursion rates to bring visitors from across the region and those that could afford it bought outfits for the social and sporting event of the year.

For many people, particularly those from outlying villages, the show was one of the few times they came to town.

With the exception of couple of early years where severe drought caused its abandonment,  and during the Great Depression,  the Gunnedah Show has been held on the same grounds in South Street.

The first show was hailed a raging success.  The Sydney Mail, under the heading “Gay Gunnedah” reported that “the first show…. was a great festival week for the town”.

Festivities included the first annual meeting of the Amateur Turf Club, a ministerial visit (the Minister was not named), a banquet by the Church of England Council, three balls and a live pigeon shooting match.

The Mail reported that the area was in drought and “the dust rose in great clouds”.

“Hotels were overcrowded, beds were unprocurable. Many visitors came from Sydney,” the report stated.

A highlight of that event was the unveiling of the Wolseley shearing machine.  Geddes’ special prize of £20 was awarded for the best 20 ewes fleeces shorn by the steam powered machine.

Times have changed. Wool is no longer king and agriculture has seen economic fluctuations. Such is the diversity of the town that the animal nursery, which would have been greeted with boredom by most families a century ago is now a star attraction. The horse events remain a principal attraction for many people attending and competing in the show, particularly showjumping.

The show dubbed “the Royal of the North” 40 years ago continues to live up to its reputation drawing visitors and competitors from across the north and further afield.

About the Gunnedah Show Society

The Gunnedah Show Society, a not-for-profit organisation, is more than just a group of volunteers. It’s a community, a family united by a shared passion for serving our region. We come together effortlessly, giving our time to provide an opportunity for people from across the region and interstate to participate in an agricultural show.

Gunnedah, the vibrant hub of one of Australia’s richest agricultural regions – the Liverpool Plains in north-west New South Wales, is where the magic of the Gunnedah Show Society unfolds.

The Gunnedah Showground is located in the centre of Gunnedah, close to all facilities, well laid out with plenty of parking, and has one of the best arenas in New South Wales.

One thing that brings people back each year is the true country spirit and hospitality. The facilities have been built by volunteers and continue to be updated as needed. As the population and industries change locally, so does the show, catering to a wide range of interests. Gunnedah Show Society holds many events during the year, including the Annual Show, Working Dog Trials, Agquip Rodeo, Country Music Muster, and Rose Show, and volunteers support numerous other events by volunteering their time.

We hold our monthly meetings on the first Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. under the grandstand at the showground. We welcome new members who would like to become ‘part of the Show’, so get in touch and find out how you can get involved and join our friendly team of volunteers.

Above: Gunnedah Show in 1924 and below, another old photo taken in 1922.

Committee Meetings

We hold our monthly meetings on the first Wednesday of the month at 6:30pm under the grandstand at the showground. All welcome!