Looking Back

Photos from the 1913 Katanning Show.

Courtesy John Komorowski
(on Lost Katanning Facebook page)



30th Annual – 1920

From the Great Southern Herald
3 November 1920

Katanning Agricultural Society

On Thursday and Friday of last week, the Katanning Agricultural and Pastoral Society held its 30th Annual Show, which proved, to be an advance on last year’s successful function.
On Thursday, judging day, the attendance was well up to average, but on Friday the largest attendance yet recorded for the Society was on the grounds, whilst; the ring was practically circled with motor cars.
In the stock exhibits, sheep of course attracted the greatest attention, but apart, from the fact that more people in the district are interested in sheep, the other livestock entries was not of a nature to attract much attention.
Although the district has made its name through the quality of sheep and wool produced, it is to be deplored that other important branches of rural activity, such as cattle and pig raising, at least as far as the show ring is concerned, appear to be slipping into the back ground.
The poultry pavillion contained a good entry of birds, and the quality was as good as could be found in any exhibition.
The exhibition shed presented a most attractive appearance, the benches being well filled with the usual collection of dairy and agricultural produce, and display of cookery and jams
The flower and plant selection was extremely fine, the arrangement, and display of the cut flowers being choicer than last year, which is saying a great deal.
The non-competitive display of wool, arranged by Mr. J. F. Horsley, attracted much attention, as did the exhibit from the Department of Agriculture, which was in charge Mr. F. Vanzetti.
The benches to contain the vegetable section had to be extended this year on account of the number of entries received, and this portion of the exhibition shed was very fine indeed.
The display of school work was most comprehensive and very interesting as was the needlework.

On Friday the official opening was made, the Premier (Mr. James Mitchell) performing the ceremony.
The president, of the Society (Dr. K. M. House), in introducing the Premier, extended a welcome to him from the Society and the District generally.
He said that this was the thirtieth anniversary of the Society’s Show, and the function promised to be more successful even than last year.
The continued progress of the Society, which was a reflex of the progress of the district, was due to the improvement that had been made in the class of sheep bred.
To a very large extent this improvement was due to such breeders as Mr. Ross Anderson, who had given the first impetus to quality breeding.
The Premier, Mr. James Mitchell who was greeted with applause, expressed his pleasure at being present to open the show.
He had closely watched the district for a long time, and considered developments had been followed on correct lines.
The name the district had won for both high class wool and sheep was recognised all over the Commonwealth, and even in the Eastern States, where the older established breeders were very jealous of their reputation, it was conceded that wool from here was quite equal to their best.
He had very great pleasure in declaring the show open.

The sheep pavilion was the centre of attention during the two show days and, although nominally, judging was completed on Thursday morning, actually it was continued right up until the close of the second day.
The Langaweira sheep were very successful, a ram bred on the property from Illareen stock being awarded Grand Champion, for best ram in show, Champion for best W.A. bred ram and the Quibell Cup.
Langaweira was also awarded a championship ribbon for best strong wool ram, open class, in show.
Mr. Ross Anderson scored heavily with his ewes, being awarded Grand Champion and Champion ribbons for best W.A. bred ewe, also Henry Wills and Go’s special prize for winner of the most points in merino section.
Mr. Cliff Anderson was awarded a championship ribbon for best medium wool ram and a reserve champion for strong wool ewe.
It is noteworthy that practically every sheep in the merino section winning a prize was bred from Mr. Ross Anderson’s stock.
The draught stock entered was good, but in number much below what might be expected from these districts.
The championship ribbon for best stallion was awarded to Mr. Jos. Ladyman.
Messrs. T.S. & H. J. Beeck being awarded championship for best mare.


44th Annual Show – 1934

From the Sunday Times
28 October, 1934

Katanning Show
A Magnificent Exhibition

Main Championship Awards

The forty fourth annual show of the Katanning Agricultural Society commenced on Thursday in ideal weather, and was continued on Friday under similar conditions, reflecting one of the best seasons ever experienced in the Katanning district.
The display of wool was probably the most meritorious in the history of the society, both in number and the quality of the fleeces, which were bright and bulky, and of excellent staple.
The Judge, Mr. L. Lockwood, Dalgety and Co.’s expert, experienced difficulty in making the awards.
Fifty three entries in the cattle section constituted a record for four years, the quality being excellent.
The draught horse section entries were not so numerous as last year’s, but the quality was well maintained.
The entries and quality of the merino sheep classes were on a par with the wool display, the honours being keenly contested amongst leading stud breeders of the Katanning, Dumbleyung, Gnowangerup, and Broomehill districts.
Enhanced by increased entries, and one of the best displays of flowers on record, the exhibition hall was one of the most impressive features of the show.
There were 325 entries in the flower section, and 256 in the cookery section.
The official opening was performed by Mr. C. G. Latham, M.L.A., and was attended by other Parliamentary representatives.

The main championship awards were:

Champion Ram: Ross Anderson and Co.
Champion Ewe: R. G. Bennett.
Reserve Champion Ram: R. G. Bennett.
Reserve Champion Ewe: Rischbeith Bros.
Grand Champion Ram: Ross Anderson and Co.
Grand Champion Ewe: R. G. Bennett.
Champion Poultry Exhibit: I. K. Walter.
Champion Cow: J. C. Antonio.
Champion Bull; J. C. Antonio.


Great Southern Herald Show Report
31 October 1934

Click HERE


The Katanning Agricultural, Pastoral, and Horticultural Society committee, like everyone else at the time, had a tough decision to make.
Although 1940 celebrated the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Katanning Show, it was war time and everyone’s efforts were occupied by the war effort on the home front.
Rationing was in place and people were worried about loved ones at the war front.
Many had already received that dreaded telegram telling them their father, brother or husband would not be coming back.

To add to Committee’s problems, 1940 had the worst drought ever experienced by the district.
The town water supply had failed, and many other country shows had been cancelled.

But the Katanning committee, in its wisdom, decided to persevere but changed the length of the show to one day – a Friday.

They were later to be congratulated for going ahead and providing a positive note on an otherwise terrible year as the following story from the Great Southern Herald explains…


From The Great Southern Herald
29 October 1940

The change from a two-day to a one-day show, combined with one of the worst seasons in the history of the district, was the cause of much speculation on the fate of the Katanning Agricultural and Pastoral Society’s Annual Show, which took place on Friday (as it transpired) under most favourable weather conditions.
Although there were gaps in several sections, and all the main groups showed a slight reduction of exhibits by comparison with last year, the show as a whole was much better than most people expected.
The attendance was only slightly smaller than in 1939, the exhibition hall was filled with good quality exhibits, which although spread out on some benches to occupy the normal space, represented the better side of the district in a drought year, and an excellent programme of ring events provided entertainment throughout the day.
One particularly pleasing feature was that all the exhibitors of some years standing in the society, and quite a number of members who had the welfare of the show at heart, made a special effort to enter more items this year, particularly in classes for exhibition only.
After seeing such a creditable display in a drought year, there should be no qualms next year, when one can reasonably expect the season at least to return to normal.
Perhaps the sections hardest hit by the drought were cattle, sheep, and what proved rather a disappointing feature – poultry.
In this section a dry season could hardly account for the large number of vacant pens in the exhibition shed, particularly when one of the largest and most successful exhibitors was a resident of the Wagin area.
Conversely, the wool section, which might have been excused a considerable lapse, was really a remarkable exhibition in view of the season, showing as it did, practically no signs of adverse effects.
This was not due entirely to straight-out exhibitors, but to the loyalty of Messrs. L. C. Rae,(in particular) R. E. Tree, C. G. Tree and Ross Anderson, who entered fleeces for exhibition only.
A constant stream of visitors passed through the woolshed right throughout the day commenting upon and admiring the wool.
The society’s practice of displaying tickets showing the points allotted for judging undoubtedly added interest to the exhibits.
Mr. Rae’s display was an exhibition on its own, the quality, lustre and softness of the wool being greatly admired.
Sheep, which have always proved something of a problem at the Katanning Show because the shearing season is over when the event takes place, were conspicuous by their absence this year.
In the pens, however, were quite a number of dogs – representing a section which has come to stay at the Katanning Show.
The quality of the dogs exhibited proves that some really fine types of pedigreed animals have been brought into the town and district in recent years, and that owners take a delight in showing them when opportunity is offered.

Due to judicious arrangement by the stewards, the exhibition hall looked at its best with the somewhat reduced number of exhibits entered, and to a casual observer it appeared to be filled with a representative display of flowers, primary production and samples of various home-crafts.
The general impression left was that exhibitors had made a special effort to compensate for the handicap imposed by vagaries of the season, and many good results had been achieved.
The judge, Mr. A. S. Wild, B. Sc., in the Agricultural Section, said the crop classes were of exceptionally high quality taking seasonal conditions into consideration, especially the new season’s wheat for hay, and oats for grain.
Both these classes were well filled.
Perhaps the most outstanding entry was Mr. M. E. Beeck’s exhibit of new season’s oats for hay.
The grain classes were considerably lower in numbers this year, and no doubt the season accounted for an absence of pasture plants.
The section was augmented by samples of pedigreed seed wheat and oats, and hay, exhibited by the Department of Agriculture; also samples of wheat and oats affected by various plant diseases.
Among classes in the hall for exhibition only were a comprehensive display of soldiers’ garments, pillow cases, bandages, knitting, etc., made by the Katanning Branch of the Red Cross, rugs made from scraps of wool by the Katanning Branch of the C.W.A., and an attractive array of hand painted china entered by Miss H. Freemantle.
This collection included cups, saucers, plates, teapots and sandwich trays artistically painted with various Australian wildflowers, and was greatly admired.
One section which provided an agreeable surprise was the flowers, which it was thought would be poorly represented because of the dry season.
Although entries were not so numerous as last year, there was a wonderfully representative display, which contributed a bright splash of colour to the exhibition hall.
Four pillars, placed almost opposite the main entrance, provided an attractive feature of the section.

Honours in this class went to Mrs. J. Cornelius with a striking arrangement and Mrs. R. Bahlinger gained second prize with a compact arrangement of garden flowers and foliage.
The roses, perhaps, were the outstanding feature of the show both in quality and numbers.
Honours in the single specimen section went to Mrs. M. H. Longmire with a beautiful bloom of Katherine Kordes.
The floating bowl was won by Mrs. L. Longmire who caught the judge’s eye with a pink and. blue floral effect, plus scintillating crystal.
Mrs. F. L. Gare’s delicate arrangement of red double larkspur and red gypsoiphelia won honours in the decorated space.
The collection of hardy flowers attracted several fine exhibits, the prize being awarded to Mr. R. McGregor, who showed twelve, well grown garden specimens.
The E. H. Walker trophy for most points in the Flower Section was won by Mrs. H. Perham, and the Arthur Yates Cup for most points in the Poppy and Sweet Pea Classes by Mrs, F. L. Gare.
One of the major attractions in the hall was the cookery, this year’s entry being both one of quality and quantity.
Classes which attracted much interest were the collection of: biscuits, won by Mrs. Augus Caldwell with a fine exhibit, and the decorated cake which went to Madge McDougall.
The prize for baker’s bread, made from “Swan Flour,” went to Mr. J. H. Blaxill, of Katanning, while Mrs. A. Meyn, who has been a consistent winner for some years, again won honours in the home-made bread class.
Mrs. A. Radford took the prize for “Balloon” Self-Raising Flour Scones, and Mrs. M, Bahlinger for oatmeal biscuits made from “Swan” rolled oats.
The “Aunt Mary” baking powder scones trophy was won by Miss O. Garrity.
Vegetables, though a little down in numbers, lacked nothing in quality, special comment being made upon the excellence of the cabbages, lettuce, pumpkins and rhubarb.
No collections were entered this year, due, no doubt, to the failure of the town scheme.
Needlework was very representative, some particularly fine samples of work being evident in the fancy sections.
The wool classes were a little down due to the fact that most women of the district have been throwing their energies into knitting for the Red Cross.
Indisputable evidence of this was provided by the imposing display of knitting and handwork staged by the Katanning branch of the Red Cross Society.
The quality and numbers in the educational section showed neither effects of the season nor the war, except that some unmistakable caricatures of Hitler, Goering and Mussolini appeared among the art exhibits.
Competition this year was keener for a number of pupils in the outer schools of the district appeared in the field and, incidentally, carried off a number of prizes.
All the arts and crafts of school life were fully represented, and those pupils who gained awards could rest assured that their work was outstanding.

The official opening took place in front of the Exhibition Hall, the President (Mr. E. S. R. Piesse) calling upon Hon. A. Thomson, M.L.C., to perform the ceremony.
Introducing Mr. Thomson and the member for the district (Mr. A. F. Watts), the president said he had to apologise for the absence of Hon. H. V. Piesse, M.L.C., who had been unable to leave the House, and Hon. H. L. Roche, who
was on his way from Perth and would arrive later. (Mr. Roche made his appearance at 3 o’clock.)
Continuing, the president said that the society had decided on a one-day show for 1940, owing to a combination of an adverse season and the pressure on the public in the matter of war efforts.
As soon as deemed advisable, the two-day show would be reverted to when livestock sections
again would be included.
Although the season had been the worst in the history of the district, he was glad to be able to say that it had not made a very definite mark on the exhibits.
The section devoted to agricultural produce was remarkably fine, particularly in hay, and he wished that the exhibits could be taken as an average of crops generally.
The wool display was wonderfully good, everything being considered, while the flower section included as many beautiful and high standard blooms as in a normal year, although the quantity was not there.
He had great pleasure in asking Mr. Thomson to open the show, for he had represented the district
through good times and bad for many years.
Hon. A. Thomson, M.L.C., said he regarded it as an honour to be invited to officiate.
He remembered vividly the first show at Katanning he had attended, some 35 years ago, in the present Park.
It rained that day so hard that the show was a real “wash-out” and everyone was nearly
Without wishing the Katanning Agricultural Society any harm he would have liked to see a similar
downpour now.
He congratulated the president and the society on its determination to carry on, even with a one-day show, instead of adopting this defeatist attitude of so many societies this year, which had gone temporarily into recess.
Results had justified this resolve, for with the exception of lack of stock the show was fully up to the
standard of past years.
It was extremely unfortunate that the worst season in history should coincide with the war period, but he was confident that both the war and the drought were but incidents in the history of the Empire, which would emerge triumphant from these trials.
He trusted the 1941 show would be held under happier circumstances.
In moving a vote of thanks to Mr. Thomson, Mr. A. F. Watts, M.L.A., said the society could not have invited anyone to open the show more worthy of the honour than Mr. Thomson.
During his long association with the district, Mr. Thomson had represented it for many years both in the Assembly and Council Chambers, and had always given of his best.
It was regrettable that in Parliament there was a section who refused to recognise the value to the State of primary industries and blinded themselves to the fact that prosperity in the cities depended entirely on a prosperous and successful rural population.
Mr. Thomson and his colleagues from country electorates were indefatigable in stressing this point in the State Parliament and their efforts surely must win some modicum of success eventually.
He congratulated the society on its decision to hold the show – and trusted it would not be long before it came back to the two-day fixture.
The war situation was still critical, but h, believed that the worst had been passed and that the Empire would emerge triumphant.
A vote of thanks to the president, by Mr Thomson concluded the ceremony.




From the Great Southern Herald dated Saturday, 4 November, 1905



The Show at Katanning is becoming more and more a centre of public interest. With ideal weather prevailing… Continue reading >>>


Photos from the 1960 Katanning Show.

Courtesy John Komorowski
(on Lost Katanning Facebook page)


Photos from the 1969 Katanning Show.

Courtesy John Komorowski
(on Lost Katanning Facebook page)




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