CASTLE HILL SHOW
Mr DOMINIC PERROTTET
(Castle Hill) [4.57 p.m.]: In Castle Hill we are fortunate to have community groups and events that are run and organised by committed volunteers. A spirit of service—the hallmark of the Castle Hill community—was on display last week at the 126th Castle Hill Show. Not even the inclement weather could dampen the spirits of all who attended the three-day agricultural exhibition. With the reputation of being second only to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, the Castle Hill Show has become a reflection of the cultural development of The Hills district.
The Castle Hill Show began in the 1880s as a sports and ploughing contest and exhibition, and a distinct agricultural theme dominated by the 1890s. Horses, poultry and dogs were judged with an expert eye and events were held for draught horses, trotters, and buggies and carthorses. The show was an important social occasion on the annual calendar with an emphasis on families coming together and sharing stories and renewing friendships in the community. Nothing has changed in that regard, with the 126th Castle Hill Show espousing the same sense of community and friendship that began with the show's inception so many years ago.
However, some things have changed. The 1891 show was held at the present site for the first time, with around £300 spent on amenities such as a timber pavilion, stables and a track. These days the showground is a true community resource, with various groups and organisations making use of the facilities for worthwhile and productive pursuits. There is never a lack of attractions at the show. Crowds attending the 1905 show were dressed in their Sunday best and marvelled at the appearance of Micky the Indian with his live lizard and a snake tied to his whip. This year's show did not have as many snakes and lizards, but it certainly had other weird and wonderful exhibits. The home brewed beers displayed by brewers and brewsters was a hit, as was the show jumping. My daughter, Charlotte, was particularly entranced by the skill and power of the woodchoppers. She was clearly unable to understand the importance of cutting wood at such speed—just like me.
The show is important for so many reasons, not the least of which is that our younger generation, including my daughter, Charlotte, are exposed to facets of our agricultural past and future that they would not otherwise witness. I visited the show with my friends on many occasions when I was a youngster. It was great to revisit this year and to see many of my old school friends with their young families and to observe their excitement. It demonstrates that the show is still a special event in the community and that the pleasure it gives is being handed down from generation to generation. As members know, 2012 is the Year of The Farmer, and I can see why. Without our agricultural industry and the dedicated and hardworking farmers our great nation and this State would grind to a halt.
The Castle Hill Show is as much a part of The Hills story as those who have created the story. Whilst there may not be sheep and cows wandering down Showground Road these days, the Castle Hill Show provides a distinct reminder for our community of our agricultural and rural heritage. From its humble beginnings, the show has been run and organised by dedicated and equally humble volunteers. I commend the work of Peter Gooch, the President of the Castle Hill and Hills District Agricultural Society, and all the dedicated volunteers in the society who made the 126th Castle Hill Show a great event. With the coming of the North West Rail Link there has been much speculation as to the show's future. I thank the Premier for his attendance and support at this year's show.
While it is widely agreed that the train line is a long overdue necessity for the people of The Hills district, the New South Wales Government's commitment to this infrastructure project has led to questions being asked about the continued existence of the showground and, by default, the show itself. The Premier's presence was welcome, as was his announcement that the southern option for the rail line had been chosen, meaning that there will be minimal impact on the showground and the show during the construction stage and beyond. As the Premier said, "The show must go on." I am happy to have played a part in ensuring that that will be the case and that the Castle Hill Show will be held for generations to come so people can enjoy what the show has to offer.