Show Day

by Norfolk Island Escapes

Every October since 1860, Norfolk Island has held an Annual Agricultural and Horticultural Society Show Day where huge vegetables and fruits, photographic displays, children’s artworks, island crafts and homemade food (which are later put up for sale) are showcased. Stalls, cat shows and dog and horse agility displays abound on this day, as well.

John Christian Curwan, Fletcher Christian’s cousin is actually the one who has been credited with founding the very first Show Day in England in 1805 when he founded the Workington Agricultural Society. Thanks to his scientific agricultural work, he is currently known as the Father of Agriculture. Today, lots of different people vye for prizes at Norfolk Island’s Show Day, some of which might even be his own descendants!

The very first Show Day of Norfolk Island was celebrated in 1860. From the very beginning, the entire community was very interested in this day, having just arrived from Pitcairn Island. Who could blame them? After all, they were able to keep busy in the most fun way possible. Plus, they were vying for a prize; every winner was then able to take one pound home each.

Being competitive, every man involved tried to raise the best heads of corn possible, as well as the best cabbages, onions, yams, sugar cane and bananas. As for the women, they tried to make the best school dresses possible. This was all just friendly competition, though, of course.

The Ministers of the Melanesian Mission of the island also participated in organizing this event throughout their duration there from 1860 to the 1920s. In 1880, Longridge held a Horticultural Show for Spring and Autumn with respective judges in both the agricultural and horticultural sections.

In 1921, the Show Day was very well attended. During this day, there were five farm produce sections with 430 exhibits of arts and crafts, as well as vegetables like kumeras, potatoes and yams, provided by almost 700 people. The expenses and prize monies of this day totaled to 53 pounds 5 shillings and 9 pence in the end.

The official opening of the Annual Show didn’t happen until 1927, though, where there were a total of 473 exhibits. That year, a bunch of 7-inch bananas won the grand prize, standing at 4 feet high. Second prize went to the exhibitor that won the highest amount of points. A lot of local crafts were also showcased during that time along with a livestock section that included two classes for pigs.

The all-time high of Norfolk Island Show Day happened in 1984, where they reached 3,060 participants. This also happens to be the year, in that His Excellency the Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen and Lady Stephen visited Norfolk Island to open Show Day and grace it with their presence.

Without a doubt, Show Day attracts a lot of visitors and participants alike and there is always something exciting and new to see every year, as well. So, if you plan on visiting Norfolk Island sometime soon, why not go in October, so that you can witness Show Day yourself?

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