District Exhibits: the Moreton District Exhibit, 1957

First held in 1891, the District Exhibits contest is now a show tradition. Nine regions participated in the inaugural competition, which offered a prize pool of £175, each aiming to present ‘the best and most complete display of agricultural products, domestic manufactures, local products, minerals, &c., and live stock, made by any district of the colony’. Ipswich was declared the winner in 1891 for a collection of items that ‘were wonderfully comprehensive and strikingly illustrated the varied resources of the West Moreton district’. The contest provided a forum in which different areas of Queensland could show off their achievements to each other and to a metropolitan audience. It celebrated, in particular, the colony’s and later the state’s agricultural outputs, and also reflected key events and themes in Queensland. During World War II, for example, ‘patriotic emblems [were] ... woven into designs, and primary products that help the war effort ... given pride of place’.

After World War II, the Districts Exhibit contest continued to provide audiences with spectacular displays of regional produce. Increasingly, however, the appeal of the magnificent exhibits with their gigantic pumpkins, geometrically precise arrangements of pickles and beautifully designed backdrops tended to rely on their status as a show tradition.

Further reading: 

Journal of the NAIAQ, 29 November 1890, John Oxley Library

Further reading: 

Queenslander, 22 August 1891

Further reading: 

Courier-Mail, 12 August 1940

Greg Dalton Collection

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