'We're all in the same boat': Resilient farmers come together for Canberra Show

'We're all in the same boat': Resilient farmers come together for Canberra Show after horror year on the land

Events
Canberra show cattle exhibitor John Hudson, from Wells Station, has been affected by the drought. He will be showcasing six Ausline cattle at this year's event. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

Canberra show cattle exhibitor John Hudson, from Wells Station, has been affected by the drought. He will be showcasing six Ausline cattle at this year's event. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

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John Hudson has had to get rid of 90 per cent of his cattle, but says events like the Canberra Show are needed more than ever.

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John Hudson has been cattle farming for more than 30 years, but recent years have proven to be some of the most difficult.

"We've had to get rid of about 90 per cent of our cattle due to the drought, and a lot of others are in the same boat," Mr Hudson said.

"There's been a financial and emotional cost of this summer and the drought, especially in this part of the country."

The Canberra-based farmer, who breeds cattle at Well Station, said farmers from the region were resilient, and despite the conditions, he wasn't going to miss this weekend's Canberra Show.

After the cancellation of several smaller agricultural shows in the past year, Mr Hudson said this year's show was even more important.

"It's one of the only places we have to show off our animals, and when others were cancelled, it was a kick in the guts for us," he said.

After a tough year on the land due to ever-worsening drought and a tougher summer of extreme weather conditions, the animals and produce of the region will be centre stage from Friday.

Royal National Capital Agricultural Society general manager Michael Kennedy said the show was a chance for the community to come together after a challenging 12 months.

"We understand the huge impact the drought, fires, smoke and storms have and are having on our community locally, regionally and nationally," Mr Kennedy said.

"Our exhibitors, visitors, competitors, their animals and our staff have all been impacted in various ways."

This will be Mr Hudson's sixth year at the Canberra Show as an exhibitor, who will be showcasing six Ausline cattle, a type of Aberdeen Angus.

"It's more than I had at the show last year, and to get those six here has been an expensive exercise, but hopefully it will work," he said.

"All the exhibitors are in the same boat and we help each other out. We can't do this on our own."

While the usual competitions showcasing the best the Canberra region has to showcase will go ahead, entries in some categories such as vegetables, cattle and horses had been affected by the adverse conditions.

Mr Kennedy said farmers would still have a platform to put the fruits of their labour on display.

"We were very conscious that the show plays an important part in a lot of people's lives," he said.

"It was very important to us that we give people, either competitors or public, somewhere to come and meet with friends, share a healthy meal, have a beer and enjoy some music and entertainment."

This year's show will see a new look night program, showcasing motorcycle and car stunts in the main arena.

Pig racing, wood-chopping, dog and cat shows along with rides and sideshow alley, show bags and the farmyard nursery will be making their return to the Canberra Show for another year.

Lauren and Frederick, 6, enjoy the rides at the Canberra Show 2019. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

Lauren and Frederick, 6, enjoy the rides at the Canberra Show 2019. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

For the first time, a sensory-friendly experience at the show will be offered for people with disabilities and their families, taking place on Thursday, before the show opens to the general public.

Mr Hudson said the event was one of the most important of the Canberra calendar.

"To have Canberra put on the show is fantastic, and it's essential."

Everything you need to know about the show

When is it on?

The Canberra Show will be on from Friday, February 28 until Sunday, March 1.The show will run from 8.30am to 10pm on the Friday and Saturday and from 8.30am to 6.30pm on Sunday.

How much are tickets?

Tickets start at $12 for children, students and concession holders.

Adults are $20, while family passes are $50 for two adults and two children. Children under six are free.

How do I get there?

The Canberra Show is at Exhibition Park (EPIC). Parking will be available at Old Well Station Road via Morisset Road or Northbourne Avenue and at Thoroughbred Park, off at Randwick Road.

Parking will be a flat fee of $5.

This will be the first year of the Canberra Show that the light rail will be running. The nearest station is the EPIC and Racecourse stop, within walking distance of the showground.

For those getting Ubers or taxis to the show, drop offs and pick ups will be at Randwick Road.

What can I see at the show?

There's always plenty to see and do at the show.

As always there's plenty of animals to see, including the ever-popular barnyard nursery, where there will be milking, shearing and farmer demonstrations.

The pig racing is also back and will be held at various times throughout the day.

The woodchop is once again on the show calendar, as is the dog and horse events.

Woodchopper Andrew Wiseman of Hackett. Picture: Karleen Minney.

Woodchopper Andrew Wiseman of Hackett. Picture: Karleen Minney.

In the main arena, a new stunt show featuring motorcycles and utes will take centre stage on each night of the show.

There will be plenty of rides for both young and old, as well as sideshow alley.

There'll be a wide range of food for punters to enjoy, from your show classic dagwood dog to food from around the world.

Of course, going to the show is incomplete without the fireworks, which will go off from 9pm on Saturday night.

How much are showbags?

If you go the Canberra Show and don't come home with a showbag, did you even go to the show?

The Showbag Pavilion will once again be open throughout the three days of the show.

Showbags range from as little as $2 for the classic Bertie Beetle bag up to $28.

What's the weather looking like?

It's set to be a sunny show this year with no rain on the forecast, according to the bureau, although you may want to pack plenty of sunscreen.

Friday will be sunny with a top of 28, which will also be the case on Saturday with some light wind also expected.

The last day of the show will be slightly hotter with Sunday expected to reach a top of 31 and partly cloudy conditions.

The story 'We're all in the same boat': Resilient farmers come together for Canberra Show first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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