Times Past: The Show

Theme for this month’s “Times Past”

Royal Adelaide Show

When we were kids I think this rated just below Christmas for excitement. We always went to The Show which was held in the September school holidays. I remember being there when it was hot but it was only Spring. Mum always arranged for my older brothers to meet up with us at the Penfolds wine bottle. The bottle was enormous and the “wine” flowed continuously.

Mum liked to check out the flower displays which we found boring. I don’t remember Dad being with us, but we did always check out the animals and I can’t imagine Mum ever choosing to do that.

We were allowed to get a Showbag and the 4Square ones kept us happy for days afterwards as we played shops with the little boxes of Rice Bubbles etc. They always had a comic in them and apart from any we managed to get at the church fair those were the only comics we ever had.

No plastic showbags back then

Our family was never one for sideshows, we went on the big Merry-Go-Round but I was a teenager before I tried out the Dodgem Cars, Mad Mouse and Ghost Train. Each year there was some kind of gimmick toy and I loved the slide whistles that meant you could imitate a “Wolf Whistle”. One year fluffy, brightly coloured chickens were on sale and going home on the tram I saw kids with them and was jealous. Now I cringe at the thought that most of the poor things probably died.

Slide Whistle

The log chopping and tree felling was always good to watch. I remember going to the Show by myself when I was about 13 and spent all day sitting in a grandstand watching the ring events. My favourite was the Tent Pegging. One at a time a team of horse riders had to gallop towards a series of small wooden targets which they tried to collect on their lance and carry to the finish line. The team with the most “carries” won the event.

Log Chopping 1950s

The only time we saw Fairy Floss was at the Show and it was a treat, that and Toffee Apples.

I’m not sure when fireworks became a feature of The Show certainly I don’t remember them as a child, they  were only available for Guy Fawkes night, 5th of November. Even if they were on I’m sure by night time Mum would have been worn to a frazzle so we would have been back home and probably in bed!

Toffee Apples

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3 thoughts on “Times Past: The Show

  1. We called these events “Fairs”, and ours were quite different. None of the activities were like ours. But we did have a version of log chopping. Lumberjacks used to speed up some very high poles and race to the top. Dangerous but exciting! Thanks for this trip down memory lane!

    • The full title is “Adelaide Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Show”, fairs here are a bit different. There is one event where the axemen cut a nick in a post, place a plank in it step on the plank and then repeat the performance until they make their way to the top where they chop the top off the pole. Very exciting to watch.

  2. I don’t know how I missed seeing your post. Glad I have seen it now though. I think your childhood was similar to mine in that we weren’t allowed comics either and side show alley was low on the list of things we visited at the show. We used to watch the wood choppers but I only have a vague memory of the event you described to Diane. Knowing me I probably made my Dad take me away when they were doing that one because I would have been too frightened. Your parents were a lot more trusting than mine – I don’t think I would have been allowed to have a day at the show by myself when I was thirteen. I think I had that privilege when I was in sixth form and three friends went with me. Like you fairy floss and toffee apples were only ever at the show. I’d forgotten totally about those whistles. Thanks for joining in and for the memories you brought me.

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