Wendy Gratton Sec. of Rosewood Scrub Historical Society

also author of the 100 Year History of the  Marburg Show

with Cr David Pahlke and State Member Sean Choat

RESEARCHING the Marburg Show Society to produce a book commemorating 125 years of operation threw up an unexpected mystery. 

Author of the book, Wendye Gratton said a committee of show society members helped her in her research of this long-standing organisation.  In fact, the show society is thought to be the longest serving organisation in the area.  Locals Merv Steinhardt, Mal Sprenger, Bob Hampson and Rob Krause joined Wendye in her search for information on the group.  And it was during this search that they realised that the Marburg School of Arts, once a thriving hub of the community, has been lost.   “We cannot find what eventually happened to this building and this is something we are continuing to follow up on,” Wendye said.  “It was such a splendid building, built in 1885 and used for all kinds of community gatherings such as balls, banquets, meetings and even six annual shows.

“We lost touch with the building in 1914, but Rob is good at chasing leads and he found a mention in a 1919 paper, but no mentions after that as to what happened to the building.  “He also found records of a building put up for auction that sounded like the School of Arts in 1918.”  Wendye said her involvement in the book stemmed from an approach from Rob Krause to the Historical Society seeking assistance in writing a commemorative book.  “He had already gathered a lot of information and this project attracted me and we went from there.  “For me the journey through records was one that proved to be very interesting as the show society had minutes and records of show entries dating from 1914.

 “Going through the old minute books and newspaper articles and then old photos showed us how things were done in those days and that was a lesson in itself.”  She laughed as she said that many of the records had been stored in old cream cans, a great way to preserve them but not the easiest way to access the information.  “Rob and I sorted all the records into their respective decades which made the information gathering a lot easier,” she said.  The book was launched last Friday evening, as part of the Marburg Show Society’s annual social evening tor members, volunteers and sponsors.  Wendye incorporated some wonderful tales of past shows, reports of judge’s comments that were less than flattering, and even one story of how prize winning sows were poisoned prior to the show.  Snippets she read included – ‘There was only one little (and good) cheese, several dishes of fine large eggs, three hams and two sides of bacon, not much ‘piggy’ for a place where he is largely reared’.  And ‘The eight exhibits of wine were judged to be very poor; some of the samples showed amateur hands and out of the dozen loaves of bread only a few should have been sent in – some were bad, some burnt black and one was labelled ‘bread’, probably to prevent it being mistaken for something else’.  This had the audience laughing as they imagined similar comments from judges printed in papers today and the reaction of exhibitors.
 “This book is more than just the history of a group, it shares a real insight into the Marburg District and the lives of local people through the years.

You Gotta love Country Shows! 
 In 2013 any logical clear thinking Historian looking back in time, to the beginnings of their community would shake their head in disbelief.  How has this Marburg Show survived, whilst many country shows have closed.  Over the last 40 years many rural communities have urbanised, and the rural nature of these communities  has become somewhat fragmented. The history of the Marburg  Show is intrinsically  linked to the history of the community.  It is  interwoven into the social fabric of that community, past and present.
 In 1887 an organisation called the Marburg Kirchheim (Haigslea) Glamorgan Vale and Back Plains (Minden) Show Society held a magnificent event attended by 3000 people.  Given the meagre population of the day, this would have been a huge event.  Records show that this show survived for only 5 years  and it is not known why the demise.  In 1912 the first Marburg Show was held. 
 Balancing the books has always been a challenge, whilst adding and acquiring new builidngs and ground features.  Marburg Show has  struggled at times during the last  100 years, but it’s still there.  The Marburg Show –  is not just a show.   To survive and prosper it has  learnt to co-exist and benefit from the presence of others.  Eg.  The Iconic Marburg Dances (many a couple have first met there),  the trots were added In the 1950s,  and are central to the grounds now.   The Cricket Club is based there.  I also wish to recognise the  Societies passion from a Tourism point of view, as they encourage  the Caravan and Grey Nomad market to stop over at the grounds.  Many organisations have used the Showgrounds for their functions and meeting place.   And Let us not forget the  Annual Christmas  Carnival that is  held there.
 It Is well acknowledged that the Marburg Shows real strength, is their  willing and passionate members and supporters.   Attend  a monthly meeting!   You will witness well over 30  people  endeavouring to make this place something special.  THE MARBURG  SHOW  –   MORE THAN JUST AN ANNUAL SHOW


Source – Photo and Story  courtesy of Kaye Martin MBNews.

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