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Joyce Watson (centre) heads up four generations of family show involvement: L-R Shannon Moran, Tracey Moran, Cheryl Johnson, Tina Ross, Joyce Watson (centre), Leanda Phelps, Narelle Phelps and Lauren Ross. Image: Lynne Mowbray

Joyce reflects on by-gone-days

Lynne Mowbray |

For Maclean Show patron Joyce Watson (nee Farlow), this year’s show is a time for reflecting back on a lifetime involvement in the Maclean Show.

Joyce, who will be 95 this year, said that she hasn’t missed a show yet.

“I have been attending the show for well over 90 years,” Joyce said.

“I don’t remember those first couple of years.

“My grandfather was a foundation member of the show in 1891 and both my parents were life members,” she said.

In her younger years, Joyce’s love of horses saw her compete in show riding events in the arena. She also exhibited in the pavilions most years, and in Joyce’s words, entered ‘craft of every description’.

Joyce said that she was the first treasurer of the Ladies Auxiliary and was steward of the needlework and cooking section until she became show secretary.

Over the years, she also held the position of judge in the fine arts and cooking in the Far North Coast.

Joyce was a delegate to Sydney for six years representing the Far North Coast Show Societies.

In 1973 Joyce became the Maclean Show secretary; a position she held for 26 years.

Every year for the last 31 years Joyce has made ‘tartan’ sashes for the ‘Supreme’ winners in the livestock section, in the ring. The sashes are made from tartan imported from Scotland. This year is no exception and Joyce was putting the finishing touches to around half a dozen tartan sashes, last week.

Over the year’s Joyce has seen many changes to the Maclean Show and reflects back on the progress of the Show Society since its formation in 1895.

Joyce touched on everything from transport, fashion, livestock, events and exhibits to some rather interesting and bazaar entertainment and travelling sideshows.

There was Jimmy Sharman and Harry John’s boxing tents, King Kom – the large bullock, fortune tellers, Dave Meekin’s ‘Dinny’ the pig (any child could have a ride on ‘Dinny’ for one shilling (10 cents). Other items included ‘the pig with the golden tooth’, the dancing ducks, the monkey show, Chinese knife throwers, ‘Ubangi’ the African Pigmy woman and ‘Happy Harry’ the five legged horse to name a few.

After a lifetime involvement in the Maclean Show, Joyce has decided to no longer exhibit.

“I’ve worked and exhibited all my life and now it’s time to give someone else a go,” said Joyce.

I’m going to sit in the grandstand – you can see all of the ring events from there.

“I love the show atmosphere – I love it all.

“You can catch up with old friends and check out all the exhibits in the pavilions as well as the dogs, chooks, cattle, horses and riders.

“The (local agricultural) show is the shop window for the farmers of the district,” she said.