Maleny Show involvement spanning generations

By Sonia Isaacs Clark

From the pages of the special 8-page commemorative edition pull-out, inside the GC&M News March 29 edition. To read the pull-out in it’s entirety, click the link above.

AUSTRALIAN agricultural shows have been showcasing the achievements of farming communities across the country. An integral part of rural community life, over the years agricultural shows would often see a dedicated local commitment that would often span generations of families in involvement. GC&M News caught up with former Maleny Show Society Treasurer, Bob Hawkins, and his granddaughter Felicity Heading (nee Grigor) who is this year’s Maleny Show personality program coordinator to find out a little more about what the Maleny Agricultural Show has meant to them and their family. 

Bob (pictured with Felicity), who has spent all his life in Maleny, reckons he has been involved with the Maleny Show Society for around 40 years, volunteering 16 years as treasurer. An honorary life member, Bob remembers that back when he was young, volunteering was just a normal part of community life.

“I first got involved because that’s just what country people did back then. We didn’t have the same population we have now, and everybody in the community just rolled up their sleeves and got involved,” explained Bob.

Bob has many fond memories reminiscing about his time with the Show Society, and said he felt the annual event really helped put Maleny on the map. He said it was considered one of the best agricultural shows around, and he took a lot of pride being involved, making a lot of life-long, good friends along the way. He said it was great to see many younger people still coming along to the shows, and hoped they enjoyed the connection to Maleny’s agricultural traditions.

“I’d love to see more of the younger ones get involved now and help keep it going. We might not be around, but I’d love to see the Maleny Show continue for another 100 years!”

When asked what the Maleny Show means to her, Felicity said she felt the show was a wonderful way to showcase the rich and diverse agricultural produce of the region, and promote local producers at a grassroots level.

“I also feel a big focus now is the educational opportunities the Maleny Show offers terms of raising awareness of traditional practices, farming and agricultural techniques. We have so many people now moving to the area that have limited understanding about the processes involved with livestock and horticultural production, so this is a fantastic way for people to connect with local producers, get inspired and hopefully consider purchasing local,” said Felicity.

Felicity has donned numerous Show Society caps over the years including Junior Vice President, Sponsorship Coordinator, and Rural Ambassador. She said the centenary milestone of the forming of the ‘Show and Recreation Society Committee’ in July 1922 was a significant and special achievement.

“Not every town has a show and to have such a successful long running show is a significant achievement we should all be proud of. I hope this wonderful tradition continues,” said Felicity.