Narrandera holds onto its camellias

Narrandera Camellia Show aims to reach 50 years


Life & Style
Jodey-Lee Riddell with Denise Di Salvia. Mr Riddell inherited his camellias from his home's previous owner. With the help of Mrs Di Salvia and others in the Narrandera Gardening Club he has won several first prizes.

Jodey-Lee Riddell with Denise Di Salvia. Mr Riddell inherited his camellias from his home's previous owner. With the help of Mrs Di Salvia and others in the Narrandera Gardening Club he has won several first prizes.

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Narrandera Camellia Show on August 16-17

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In Australia most camellias are grown close to the coast but the Narrandera Camellia Show is continuing to buck that trend.

Narrandera, around 500km from the nearest beach, has been running its Camellia Show since 1973, standing its ground while shows around it have closed.

Denise Di Salvia and Gwen Nielsen are two members of the Narrandera Gardening Club that are hoping to keep the show going for at least another four years.

"It would be lovely to get to 50 years which will be 2023," Mrs Nielsen said.

Mrs Di Salvia said it was the colours and variety that she loved about camellias.

"I think part of it is because during this part of winter it's fairly dull in the garden and then you get your brilliant reds of the camellias, the gold stamens and there's so many different forms," Mrs Di Salvia said.

Mrs Di Salvia started growing camellias with her late husband, Barry, entering the Narrandera Show for the first time in 1981.

"We just dropped our camellias off at the show and said 'don't know what they're like' and went off to school, we were both school teachers," she said.

"Then down the street that afternoon people were saying 'gee you did alright with your camellias' so we thought 'we better have a look', and we'd won the championship.

"Then we were hooked."

Mrs Di Salvia has attended international camellia shows, travelling to countries including China, France and Portugal.

Denise Di Salvia and Gwen Nielson with some of Mrs Di Salvia's camellias.

Denise Di Salvia and Gwen Nielson with some of Mrs Di Salvia's camellias.

But with less young people taking up the reigns of flower shows, several have struggled to survive.

"I've just heard that the Chrysanthemum Show in Albury has closed, mainly because those of us who run it, well I'd be one of the younger ones, it's just getting too hard," Mrs Di Salvia said.

"Here in Narrandera, it's pretty good, we get a lot of locals just putting in a few blooms."

One such local is Jodey Lee-Riddell, who inherited his camellias from his home's previous owners and knew little about them at first.

Now with the help of his neighbour, Pat Hayllar, he has won several first prizes.

The Narrandera Camellia Show will be held on August 16 and 17.

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