Miss Show Girl 1957-1996

RASVictoria

MISS SHOW GIRL 1957-1996

Miss Show Girl finalists 1974 Royal Melbourne Show


MISS SHOW GIRL 1957-1996

THE QUEST FOR MISS

SHOW GIRL

Seeking: ‘a young attractive girl with good

grooming and personality who is worthy of

the title.’ (newspaper advertisement, 1957)

The search for Victoria’s inaugural Miss Show

Girl commenced in August 1957. A joint

initiative of the Sun-News-Pictorial and the

Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV),

the quest was publicised in the media and via

regional Show societies. The competition was

open to ‘All single girls between 16 and 25 by

Show Day, irrespective of whether they are

Victorian or interstate visitors to the Show.’

This was the first such quest run in Australia

with the other states establishing Miss

Show Girl events in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Participants entered the 1957 quest by

sending a head and shoulders photograph of

themselves together with their full name, age,

address and occupation to The Sun offices.

(Girls without suitable photographs could

have them taken free of charge by a Sun

photographer at The Sun offices).

.

1957

220 young women compete for the

title The Sun Miss Country Show Girl

1957 and £250 cash.

Kay Nielsen, a shop assistant from

Thornbury, bursts into tears when she is

announced the winner.

This is the first such quest in Australia

- other states introduce Miss Show

Girl events in the 1960s, 70s

and 80s.

Miss Show Girl 1962 Margaret Mezaks

.

1958

74 regional finalists from Victorian

country Shows contest the Miss Show

Girl title at the Royal Melbourne Show.

50,000 people watch the Miss Show Girl

finalists complete a lap of the main

arena in open cars.

Miss Maryborough Finalists, 1957. Fairlie Burkinshaw (now McDonald) far right


220 girls competed for the inaugural ‘The

Sun Miss Country Show Girl’ title. The judging

took place at the Royal Melbourne Show with

the dates and times of the preliminary heats

advertised in the press. Dressed in ‘afternoon

clothes,’ the contestants were judged on

stage in Centenary Hall in front of a crowd

of spectators. The judging panel included

Sun reporter Miss Dot Jones, an experienced

judge at Belle of the Ball events, who

commented “These girls are not chosen for

their beauty alone but for their personality,

dress sense and grooming.”

The field was reduced to nine finalists and

Kay Neilsen of Thornbury was awarded the

title of Miss Country Show Girl 1957, taking

home a sash and £250 cash prize.

The following year, the competition was

modified and participants had to compete

and win at a local show to be eligible to

compete in the finals at Royal Melbourne

Show. (Later years, saw the addition of a

regional final so some women competed

three times for the title of Miss Show Girl).

Unbeknown to the organisers in 1957, the

inaugural event signalled the beginning of a

new and popular Show institution that was to

continue in Victoria for 39 years.

Miss Daylesford 1967 Miss Alice Rodini (now Hirst)

Top: Miss Showgirl entrants 1961 at the Showgrounds including Miss Warragul 1961 Elaine

Martin (now Taylor) 3rd left

Left: Lois Davies (now Trimble) Miss Stawell 1965. Miss Show Girl entrant, Royal Melbourne Show, 1965


MISS SHOW GIRL 1957-1996

.

1971

Miss Show Girl finalists stay at the

Southern Cross Hotel in Melbourne for

four days in the lead up to judging.

Each morning starts with a visit to the

Elizabeth Arden Salon at Buckley &

Nunn’s Department Store for a hair

appointment.

Miss Show Girl Finalists 1971 at the Southern Cross Hotel Melbourne

Miss Show Girl 1964 Suzanne Whyte (centre) with other winners

Miss Show Girl finalists 1973, Grand Parade Royal Melbourne Show

Miss Pyramid Hill1974, Loren James (now McRobb)


Miss Berwick 1974, Miss Show Girl 1974, Sandra Crow (now Funston).


MISS SHOW GIRL 1957-1996

Miss Sale and Miss Show Girl 1985 Joanne Taylor (now Leatham) presenting

winning sash

Miss Show Girl 1990, Elizabeth Porter with Mrs Norma Buckland,

long-serving Miss Show Girl chaperone

.

1984

National Show Girl Competition

introduced.

Victorian Show Girl winner Mareeta

Grundy wins the inaugural Miss TAA

Japan Airlines Agricultural Show Girl of

Australia Competition.

She wins a sash, holiday for two to

Japan and a travel wardrobe.

Miss Show Girl 1984 Mareeta Grundy


Top Left - clockwise: Miss Yarrawonga 1981 Debra Cox (now Mortimore) and Miss Swan Hill 1980, Glenda Peel

(now Stayner); Miss Deniliquin 1961, Frances Murphy (now Woolnough), Miss Echuca 1961, Kay Yeaman (now

Wearne), Miss Horsham 1961, Beverley Pilgrim (now McRae); Miss Bunyip 1966, Roslyn Drayton (now Andrews)

and Miss Show Girl 1990, Elizabeth Porter; Miss Show Girl Reunion, 2017 Royal Melbourne Show; Miss Show

Girl Exhibition RMS 2017; Miss Boort 1960, Heather Moresi (now Hargreaves, Miss Great Southern 1958, Judith

Pearson (now Fasoli), Miss Lilydale 1958, Robin Hoyland (now Murphy); Miss Port Phillip region, 1987, Lisa

Macdonald (now Holland) with mother Miss Yarra Glen 1963, Susan Macdonald.

Acknowledgements

RASV Heritage gratefully acknowledges

the following Miss Show Girls, individuals and

organisations for their generous assistance with this project:

Aileen Wallace /Alice Hirst / Anne Eskdale / Anne Johnson / Anne Payne /Annette

Lanyon /Anne Snell / Beverley Long / Beverley McRae / Bronwyn Williams / Carol

McFadzean / Cheryl Bottomley / Cherrie Gillingham / Christine Rogerson / Christine

Wilson / Corinne Collins / Debra Mortimore / Elaine Taylor / Ellen O’Keefe / Elizabeth

Michael / Elizabeth Porter / Emma Kubeil / Emma Williamson / Fairlie McDonald / Faye

Crowe / Fiona Crichton / Frances Woolnough / Gael Vanderven / Gail Cullen / Genine Graham

/ Glenda Stanyer / Gwenda Elllingsen / Heather Bawden / Heather Hargreaves / Heather

Watson / Helen Dower / Janice Davies / Janine Fletcher / Jennifer Sonego / Joanne Lee

Archibald / Joanne Leatham / Judy Hipwell / Judy Morrison / Judith Pearson / June Brown

/ Karen Dethomas / Kate Scott / Kathryn Fitzsimons / Kay Wearne / Kerrie Marriott

Anderson / Kimberley McSweeney / Kyrewyn O’Kane / Linda Schultz / Lisa Holland / Lois

Trimble / Loren McRobb / Mareeta Grundy / Margaret Harding / Margaret Woodford

/ Marjorie Van Heel / Melinda Bright / Pamela Coolahan / Pauline Weeks / Raelene

Alexander / Rhonda Day / Robin Murphy / Roslyn Andrews / Sally Minchin /

Sandy Funston / Susan Macdonald / Suzanne Whyte / Vikki Lanyon And, Alana

Christensen, Angelique Perry - VAS, Dawn Stephens, Jacqui Cook - Lilydale

Show, Lynne Ferris - Dandenong Agricultural & Pastoral Society Inc,

Norma Buckland, Peter Martin, Tim Morgan.

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