Mr PERRETT (Gympie—LNP) (7.24 pm): COVID stopped many community events and activities last year. One casualty was our much loved Gympie Show. As time edged closer, people were on edge in case it was going to be cancelled again due to an outbreak. With a sigh of relief, it was back on. Two weeks ago, Gympie celebrated all that is great about our region’s produce, businesses, industries and activities with its 132nd show. Almost 10,000 family and singles tickets were sold, resulting in a massive attendance of more than 17,700 people over three days. Thursday was the elderly and children’s day, with more than 100 visitors from several aged-care facilities, and more than 1,500 school students and teachers taking advantage of visiting on the day.
The wide variety of displays, exhibitors, entries and events makes up the wonderful kaleidoscope of our region. Everything was there from machinery alley displays, fire and rescue displays, stud and prime cattle, dairy cattle, state showjumping championships, led and ridden horse classes, harness racing, pig races, poultry, birds, fruit and vegetable displays, animal nursery, miniature ponies to new camel classes in the camel judging and woodchopping. Even my own stand was visited by thousands who collected material and stopped by for a chat. It provided a wonderful opportunity for me to interact with my community.
A show would not exist without the tremendous efforts of volunteers who put in the unpaid, long hours. The show is testament to the work and commitment of the organising committee and the more than 300 people and 30 school students who volunteered their time. They helped run gates and events, man stands, clean up areas, serve people and help organise before, during and after the show.
Our show is the third largest in Queensland, which is a mighty feat considering that there are many larger regional centres and cities. It was officially opened by Tom Grady, who has been a long-time supporter—for the past 40 years. The last year has also brought some sadness with the loss of three great characters and long-time supporters: Pat Nolan, Alain Henderson and Vern Berry. Collectively, they have contributed for decades. It was fitting that a minute’s silence was held in recognition of them. Pat founded the iconic Queensland business Nolan Meats, loved Gympie and was a great supporter. Alain Henderson was known as the ‘voice of the show’ for many years. He was our show’s ring announcer for more than 50 years starting in 1964, while Vern Berry was on the ring committee for 25 years.
We all know that show societies have the largest number of volunteers because it is where many fundraising groups, produce and craft societies get together. The Gympie Show was a fitting start to National Volunteers Week.