A Brief History

The Bathurst AH & P Association’s history can be traced back to 1855 when the first attempt to establish an Agricultural Association took place. An Agricultural Association didn’t really start to flourish however until 1860 when the “O’Connell and Macquarie Plains, Campbell and Fish River Agricultural Association” was formed and later in April 1860 held the first show at O’Connell. Subsequent shows were held at Raglan, “Alloway Banks”, George Park (the location of the racecourse in the day) and finally at the current site from 1878 on.

The Bathurst Agricultural Horticultural & Pastoral Association was formed in 1862 as the result of a merger between the O’Connell Association and some influential citizens of Bathurst and vicinity. The first Show under its auspices was held in 1863. However it is unclear what name was used by the Association in the years 1863 – 1867 but in 1868 it was clearly named as the Bathurst Agricultural Horticultural & Pastoral Association in the newspapers of the day. So 2010 marks the 150th year of Shows in our district – not the Association’s 150th Show – this distinction must be clearly made – meaning that there is a very long tradition in the pursuit of agricultural excellence in the Bathurst community.

According to recorded history the Association has survived a number of challenges mostly related to funding but, due to the dedicated Committees and with the support of the Community, progressed well through the two World Wars although shows were not held in some years during these two periods of global conflict. After 1946 the Show flourished with gate takings increasing substantially and exhibits increasing in all sections.

Around 1992-3 it was suggested that the Association should seek to gain approval to include the word “Royal” in the name of the Show. So it was agreed that a letter should be written but many months passed without a reply. In fact just about all Show Councillors had given up all hope of a positive reply but then a letter arrived from the Governor General to say that the Queen had approved the name “Royal Bathurst Show” and so in 1994 the first Royal Bathurst Show was held.

Many distinguished members of our community have served the Association including former Prime Minister, The Hon Ben Chifley, Dr Machattie, J & C McPhillamy, JN McIntosh, JB & WH Suttor and E Webb to name but a very few. In latter years Councillors of the Association included Wyatt Thompson, Noel Moxon, Joe Leskeys, Beau Brown, Ern Prior, Cec English, Alf Latham, Maurice Garment, Col Ferguson, Laurie Owens, Bill Cartwright, Mrs S Brown and Tony Toole. There are many, many others who have contributed to the success of the Association and the Annual Show and to all of them and those named above, the Association is eternally grateful for their contribution to the biggest community event in the Bathurst calendar year.