Chapman Valley History

The Chapman Valley Show

written by Delma Attrill 2009

The 70th Annual Chapman Valley Agricultural Show will be on the 7th September 2019.  To celebrate this occasion, here is a story that was written by Chapman Valley Historical Society member, Delma Attrill for the 60th Anniversary in 2009.

A flower exhibition was held for some years during the 1940s by the folk around Nanson. In 1949, the Nanson Show Committee held an Annual Flower and Industrial Exhibition in the Nanson Hall and from this, the Nanson District Agricultural Society was formed and the 1st Annual Show was held on 7th October 1950.

There were just 12 Sections and the most entry classes being the Ring Events with 17 but closely followed by Cookery & Preserves and Arts & Crafts both with 15. The entry fee for exhibits was 6d, with First Prize Money being 1/6d.

There was no section for Sheep, just 2 entries in the Wool Section – these days there are varying Classes in Sheep & Wool.

The Office Bearers for the first show were:
Patron – Dr J McAleer JP
President – Mr P A McDonnell
Hon Treasurer – S J Bunter
Hon Auditor – T M Murphy
Secretary – D Worthington
Asst Secretary – J J Curtin

Messrs T Wright, S Murphy, R Gould, M Wilton, F Cooper, C Browning and M J Carrol.

Messrs R Gould, H McGillivray, S Murphy, C Browning, C Murph, F Cooper, L J Murphy, M Wilton, T H Wright, P A McDonnell, M J Carrol, Mesdames E Reilly, du Boulay, S Murphy, Stevens, Burgess and Miss Alma Murphy.

The show was probably the highlight of the year, as many months before the event, saw much activity – would the flowers and veges be ‘right on the day’ – ‘will I get the embroidered duchess set finished’ – ‘will I finish knitting the bedjacket’ and ‘will the kids written ‘in pen’ be OK on the day’ – and the sheep! – There was much watching of these previous Merinos.

And not only that, we had the added pressure of a new outfit for everyone for the day and something very glamourous for the Show Ball. I think a lot of us looked forward to the Show as that was the time of the year for a new dress (especially us kids).

When I look back I do wonder how it all came together, as all the District was involved – it meant ‘everyone’ entered exhibits, ‘everyone’ worked on Show Day as a Steward, a Judge or in some other capacity, ‘everyone’ cooked food for the supper at the Show Ball at night and ‘everyone’ was at the Ball to dance the night away. It was certainly a community effort and it was a success then and is a credit to all that it has continued to be a District success.

By the time of the second Show, the committee had affiliated with the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia. After 4 years the name changed to the Chapman Valley Agricultural Society and by 1954 the sections in the Show had increased dramatically and there was a need for a new venue and the Fifth Show was held in its present location.

Over the years there have been many changes and it’s pleasing to note that the new committees have accepted those changes whether it’s to add sections or actually delete them if the district had moved on.

Admission prices have always been low, with children from the onset being admitted free and then from the Eleventh Show, pensioners have not been charged.  There have been some really bumper years especially when the Valley has bloomed. Many people travel long distances to attend the Show and many Geraldton fold drive out on that day to get their ‘country fix’.

We can only say congratulations and well done to everyone involved.

Note – there is now a small fee for pensioners – 2019. See the Chapman Valley Show website for more information about Show Day. 

1950 Opening Nanson Show
1950 Opening of the Nanson Show. The President, Mr McDonnell on the left holding a hat
First Nanson Show
First Nanson Show
Joyce & Lorraine Gould
1952 Joyce & Lorraine Gould wearing typical fashions of the day
1954 Chapman Valley Show
Glenis Johnson, Barbara Kupsch, Ann Cant & Glenys Kupsch at 5th Show, 1954

The Chapman Valley Museum is looking for copies of

Show Schedules
13th Show 1962
17th   1966
18th   1967
23rd   1972
26th   1975
28th   1977
31st   1980
43rd  1992

Show Day
Show Ball
Show Trophies

Trophies & Show Cups which are no longer required, the Chapman Valley Museum would appreciate these for the museum collection to display for future generations.
Photos will be copied and returned if you wish.


Please contact the Secretary – email