HISTORY OF DUBBO SHORTHORN SHOW AND SALES (1979)
By W.R. Lambell, Weenya, Gulargambone
In the 1950’s, when showing and selling beef cattle was at its height at the Sydney Royal Show, the Council of the Royal Agricultural Society brought in a regulation to control the number of cattle going to the Sydney Show as the space in the cattle sheds was being overtaxed.
The regulation brought in by the RAS. Council, which still stands today for all beef breeds, was that an exhibitor could enter up to five head of cattle in one class at the time of entries closing, but a month before the show the exhibitor had to withdraw two of his entries, only being able to exhibit three head in a class.
It was not uncommon in the late 40’s and early 50’s to see upward of 70 bulls in the under 18 and under 21 month classes. This was considered the popular age to buy a bull. How times have changed!
At this stage you may be wondering what the above has got to do with the history of the Dubbo National Shorthorn Show & Sale, but in fact it was with these two withdrawn bulls from Sydney Show that were in forward condition, that led exhibitors to wonder where they could be sold in open competition?
The Beef Shorthorn Council in their wisdom in the early 50’s, started a Bull Sale in Sydney in conjunction with the Sydney Sheep Show, which in those days was held traditionally in June each year. This Bull Sale was tried twice and then died a natural death for the rural people – being what they are – could not, or would not, think of buying bulls when they were interested in the selection of rams.
Tradition being what it was, the idea of another Bull Sale was virtually forgotten as it was nearly impossible to convince the older Councillors of the Society that a sale could be held anywhere in NSW besides Sydney.
After several years of discussion at Council level about a bull sale in NSW outside Sydney, it was finally decided around 1957 to give it a go. There was then another 12 months debating where the venue would be (remembering that the headquarters of the Beef Shorthorn Society was in Melbourne). Wagga Wagga, Albury and Canberra all had some support, but M. Lugsdin, J. Carter and W. Lambell campaigned for Dubbo and finally won the day.
At this stage, the Poll Shorthorn Society was approached to see if they would join the Beef Shorthorn Society in the Dubbo Show & Sale venture, which they agreed to do.
A Dubbo Committee was formed comprising two representatives from each Society to proceed with a Show & Sale in Dubbo under the control of both Societies.
The foundation Committee, being M. Lugsdin and W. Lambell from the Beef Society and K. MacKinnon and W. Johnson from the Poll Society, worked very well despite many obstacles in the early days. Mr Frank Hodder was the original Secretary.
The first Dubbo Show & Sale of herd bulls, steers and females was held in June 1959 with the late Douglas Munro of Gundibri Shorthorn stud the judge.
M. Lugsdin was elected the original Chairman of the Dubbo Committee. Upon his retirement W. Lambell was then elected and after some years, K. MacKinnon, who is still the Chairman at this point in time (1979). The Dubbo Committee has continued to grow as the Show & Sale becomes bigger.
It would be very remiss at this stage of the early history of our Show & Sale not to mention two men who gave the original Committee the greatest co-operation and guidance. The first of these being Mr P.E.B. MacInnes, who represented the Dubbo P. & A. Association, proprietors of the ground the bull Show & Sale has always been held. Mr. MacInnes’ local knowledge and practical understanding of what we required to convert sheep pavilions into cattle sheds and washes, etc., should never be forgotten. The second man, being the late J.I. Milling, a leading Stock Agent in Dubbo, gave us much valuable and practical advice and was instrumental in getting the Premier of NSW at the time, Mr Jack Renshaw, to make funds available for a second pavilion on the Dubbo Showground. Mr Milling’s vision and foresight of what this Show & Sale would do for the Shorthorn breed and Dubbo has surely come true. To appreciate what Mr. Milling did for the Sale, his advice was still being sought up until the time of his death some five years ago, despite the fact that the Sydney Stud Stock Salesman Association, of which he was not a member, was invited to conduct the bull sale from its inception.
This type of co-operation in Dubbo became quite infectious and many of the business houses have been donating valuable trophies for outright competition since its inception.
In the original Sale in 1959, steers, commercial females and stud females were sold at the Dubbo Saleyards. Steers were found to be too time consuming and were discontinued, but over the years competition for top commercial females of all ages has been very strong. Stud females have been irregular. The female sale continues to be the activity on the first day of the Dubbo Show & Sale.
In the first few sales, many honest mistakes were made and money lost, but both Councils of the Shorthorn breed made good the deficits and by the third sale the Sub Committee was in a position to pay back the early deficits and has remained viable ever since.
By the time the fifth sale had finished, the annual turnover of the Dubbo Show & Sale had surpassed that of the Sydney Sale for the breed and had developed into a major sale in the beef calendar of annual sales in Australia.
Exhibitors come from Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia and bulls are sold to every State in Australia, accompanied by some strong competition from New Zealand.
The 18th Sale saw the introduction of Australian Shorthorns at Dubbo and at the 19th Sale, the inclusion of the Dairy Shorthorns and Durham breeds.
1979 will celebrate the 20th Show & Sale and history will be made again when we will see all branches of the Shorthorn breed judged together as one breed – a great step towards unification.