Maleny – celebrating agriculture on the Blackall Range
  • Wednesday 25 May 2016
This week’s Backward Glance highlights some of the Maleny district’s agricultural history as the 79th annual Maleny Agricultural Show welcomes thousands on Friday, May 27 and Saturday, May 28.

There is no doubt agricultural shows are still important events where local communities gather and celebrate their farming achievements showcasing livestock and produce.
Many Queensland shows including Maleny have long and proud histories. 

The Blackall Range and the Maleny district have often been called the “Garden of Eden”, because of the ideal climate, scenery, productivity and generous rainfall. 

Originally known as Blackall Range, Maleny was founded in the year 1878 when the first selection of the red soil scrub was applied for by Isaac Burgess. 

Maleny town derives its name from a small village in Scotland.

Many people in the community donate their time and are involved as exhibitors, entrants or judges in show competitions. 

Agricultural, livestock, cooking and craft entries showcase products, skills and produce from the district. 

One thing is for sure, there is something for everyone at this country show. 

The equestrian events are some of the best you will see throughout Queensland and a family highlight for children is to get up close to poultry exhibits, farm animals, produce as well as the wood chop competition. 

The first Maleny Show was held on the June 26 and 27, 1923 in pouring rain. 

Although the economy was still recovering after the WWI effort, there was enough pride in the region’s agricultural production to generate interest in a show. 

Facilities were sparse so the ladies of the district provided meals and refreshments from a tent on the hill.

The Maleny Show Society used plans supplied by the Caboolture Show Society to construct an industrial pavilion measuring 24 metres by 11 metres which was near enough to completion to be used for the second annual show on April 23 and 24, 1924. Renovations and extensions followed throughout the years. 

In 1988, the show became known as the Caloundra City Show and then in 2008 due to council amalgamation, reverted to being called the Maleny Agricultural Show.
The travelling boxing tent was a popular early sporting attraction enjoyed by many at the shows. 

It has faded into the past but the woodchop, a spectacle we all love, is still going strong. 

Today there are baby animal farms to entertain the children and hinterland farmers showcasing their boutique dairy products to tempt the taste buds. 

Local produce such as smallgoods and fresh fruit and vegetables make colourful displays beside the handcrafts and prize-winning cakes. 

Maleny Agricultural Show also features dressage and hacking equestrian events highlighting some of Queensland’s champion riders. 

Known for its excellent arena and facilities, Maleny is on the Queensland show jumping circuit. 

Sideshow alley always provides excitement for the young and the young at heart with the merry-go-round or the Octopus for the thrill seekers. 

Show bags are popular and all the favourites are on sale for the kids. 

Children who live in towns and cities who may not have experienced farm life, can get close to baby animals and learn lots; like where milk comes from. 

Our agricultural shows are part of the Sunshine Coast community’s heritage and if people continue to support this institution this will ensure future generations can also enjoy this learning experience. 

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.

Hero image caption: Boxers near Maleny fighting in a 12-round heavyweight championship as the referee and others watch the fight, ca 1910.

Carousel image captions:
Image 1: Maple Street, Maleny looking east from the intersection of Cedar and Beech Streets, 1910.
Image 2: Maleny Showgrounds showing the original pavilion and newly formed Centenary Drive, ca 1978.
Image 3: Maleny Dairies Harold Hopper on his pony ‘Lady', ca 1948.
Image 4: Maleny Dairies’ world record Guernesy Cow, Ellendean Belladonna VG85, awarded the world record for Highest Milk Producing Guernesy Cow, 1994.
Image 5: Janet 'Jean' DIckson feeding Friesian calves near 'Mosman' on Pattemore's farm North Maleny, ca 1941.
Image 6:  Parade at Maleny Show, ca 1930.
Image 7: Going to the Show Maleny residents sitting on the runningboard of an Oldsmobile motor vehicle, ca 1926.