Now who doesn’t love an old fashioned Ag Show? With cattle judging, needlework exhibits, the little kid’s iced biscuits competition and the carnival rides. What’s not to love! This time of year it’s Show Season in the New England. February and March are packed with action. Last weekend Glen Innes held its annual show and in a few weeks it will be the Armidale Show. Uralla had their’s the weekend before. Inverell, Guyra and Walcha’s shows are coming up in the weeks ahead. Rather rudely Tamworth, Armidale’s bigger neighbour, is having their’s on the same weekend as Armidale’s!
I have this bucket list idea for when I’m retired of doing a road trip and following the shows around the state; or even the country. The Ag Show NSW website will give you a complete list of the dates for NSW Agricultural Shows.
Fun of the fair
I headed off to Glen Innes to check out the Show on Saturday 11th February and enjoyed myself immensely. Unlike the Sydney Show you could get right up close and personal with the wood chopping and shearing competitions which added to the excitement. Chips of wood flying everywhere and no safety goggles in sight! I discovered it was nigh on impossible to get a shearing photo without someone’s bum in it! Either the shearer’s or the sheep’s!
The carnival rides were the same ones you always see. Nothing new here. With the music blaring and the lights flashing. The rides are now $10 a go! I’d hate to have a parcel of kids to entertain at that price! It was a very hot day (around 32oC) and there were very few takers for the rides while I was visiting. I guess families would come in the afternoon after it cools down.
The Tea Room was serving some homemade sandwiches, slices and cakes at very reasonable prices. I treated myself to a lovely plate of slow-roasted beef with couscous and salsa verde followed up by strawberries with cream AND ice cream! Despite the heat, the bar was not crowded. I was sorely tempted to have a beer except I had to drive home.
Glen Innes is an hour’s drive north of Armidale on the New England Highway. Like many country towns its wide streets are lined with grand architecture from various eras. It’s population is just under 9,000 and growing. Some regional towns including Armidale, Glen Innes and Tenterfield are seeing population increases after the pandemic and natural disasters on the coast. Working from home showed many city dwellers (me included) that you didn’t need to be in a big city to do big city work. Good internet connections and rural lifestyles are very appealing. In addition, less money buys you more property. The down side is that prices are going up. Glen Innes and Armidale have seen 30% increases in house prices in the past year. (I should have bought when I first moved!)
Settled not ceded
The original inhabitants and traditional owners of Glen Innes and surrounding areas are the Ngoorabul/Ngarabal people. The indigenous name of the area of Glen Innes town is Gindaaydjin, meaning “plenty of big round stones on clear plains”. Colonial settlement began in the 1830s. One of the original settlers was Scottish and hence the name of the town and many of the surrounding areas being named after Scottish places such as Ben Lomond just south of Glen Innes. The major industries are wool, cattle and sheep. Gem fossicking draws many people to the area in search of sapphires.
The railway used to go to Glen Innes and Tenterfield (further north still) but the line closed in 1989. There is an active group lobbying for it to be reopened, although it seems unlikely.
Even without the Ag Show, Glen is worth the visit!