9 months ago

Fitzgerald's Town

It was decided to make

It was decided to make the show an annual event and no time was lost in preparing for the second which was to be held on 4 November 1873. As in the first show, entries were restricted to residents of the Lincoln, Springs, Little River and Port Victoria Road Districts and stock had to have been held in one or other of these districts for at least two months immediately prior to the show. Entries had to be registered with the secretary, or at the post office, two weeks before the show, but upon payment of a double fee an entry could be made as late as one week before the show. Although implements had to be in place by 9 am, and stock no later than 9.30 am, the gates were not opened to the public until 11 am for an admission fee of one shilling. On this occasion there were more side shows, Joseph Sluis of the Perthshire Arms provided a much appreciated refreshment booth, and Herr Bunz entertained with his band 24 . However, there were rarely more than three entries for any category, and there was surprise that the dairy section, as at the first show, was poorly represented. This, however, was not unique to Lincoln, for dairy exhibits were under-represented at most shows held in Canterbury that year. On the other hand the implement section was particularly good, and the entries, representing some of the best in Canterbury, had the added advantage of being made locally. The stock shown, especially the sheep, were of good quality although there were no prizes awarded to breeding ewes older than 18 months because of their poor condition. At the dinner which followed 25 there were the usual toasts, speeches and songs. All spoke highly of the Lincoln Farmers’ Club although some, like H. Matson, exaggerated when he declared that the show was better than any in New Zealand except for the Christchurch show. Sir John Cracroft Wilson and J.N. Tosswill both responded to the toast, “The Health of the Agricultural and Pastoral Interest”. When Sir John stated that labouring men taking up farming could be ruined because of limited capital and that it was better for them to work for wages until they had the means to begin farming, his audience responded with cheers. J.N.Tosswill made the interesting comment that the land on which Lincoln was built was once part of The Springs run which formerly fed about 100 cattle, but now was much more profitable. He believed that the size of large land holdings should be reduced, the sooner the better, in order more easily to provide essential services such as schools and churches. The third show, held in November 1874, followed the pattern of the first two, and lessons learned from these led to a more efficient organisation and any visitor with a catalogue in hand 50

“could walk through the grounds and find easily the various exhibits” of stock, produce and implements 26 . The admission fee was fixed at two shillings and six pence for a 10 am opening and those arriving after twelve o’clock were to be admitted for one shilling; auction sales began at 2 pm. The success of the show was doubtless helped by the general prosperity of the country at that time and another contributing factor was the central position it occupied in relation to Tai Tapu, Springston, Prebbleton and Broadfield. The show of 1875 was organised under the new name of the Lincoln Farmers’ Club and Pastoral Association, a change made to cater for those who supported the show, but who did not want to join the club. This was a significant change because it signalled a change of emphasis in the club’s interests. The show was the first of the season and since the Southbridge railway line was now open an increase in patronage was expected and sixty new cattle pens were built to accommodate the expected increase in the number of entries. It was also decided to lease the Fair Company’s ground for a term of ten years at a yearly rental of five pounds and if this fell through the club was to look for a suitable site, preferably close to the railway station. The Fair Company agreed to the lease and to simplify matters decided to buy the land. The show committee could erect new yards as was felt necessary, but was to be responsible for any damage and had to restore the grounds to their original condition within seven days of a show. Sadly, expectations were not met, and from this time on the show struggled to attract the support it needed. The fact that committees made little effort to co-ordinate the timing of the shows throughout the region often compounded the problem. Thus the Star 27 reported that in that month four shows were held within the space of eight days and in one instance two shows opened on the same day! There was an obvious need to co-ordinate show days to prevent any clash of dates and to spread the events more evenly. Accordingly, it was suggested that the secretaries of Agricultural and Pastoral Associations should meet to make the necessary arrangements, but this suggestion was not taken up and after some confusion it was reluctantly decided to hold the next Lincoln show in October 1877, despite the chance that a clash with other shows was possible. It was well organised and the exhibits again were reported to be of a generally high standard although The Press 28 was scathing in its comment on the bacon and ham section which reflected no credit on the district. One exhibit in particular was especially bad and it was suggested that the bacon came from a pig which was in the country before the arrival of Captain Cook. Patrons 51

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