Excessive hopes as ‘bumper’ present bounces again

Queanbeyan Present Society members Janice Moore and Invoice Lilley on the showground grandstand… “I used to be born on the day of the Queanbeyan Present in 1954,” says Janice.  Photograph: Belinda Strahorn

THE Queanbeyan present returns in November after a pandemic-enforced break, with organisers hoping for report crowd numbers and competitors entries. 

Cancelled for 2 consecutive years attributable to COVID-19, Queanbeyan Present Society treasurer Invoice Lilley mentioned individuals had been “excited” to welcome the historic present again after a 1096-day absence.

“It’s going to be a bumper present,” mentioned Lilley, 75.

“Individuals have had sufficient of being locked up and staying away from issues.

A champion entry of greens on the Queanbeyan Present.

“By the point November rolls round and the climate is good once more we count on individuals might be itching to get out and have a good time.”

The 2019 Queanbeyan present was an enormous success with report gate takings and 1500 pavilion entries.

Organisers are hoping the identical quantity of vitality and enthusiasm will greet the 2022 operating of the present regardless of a two-year hiatus.

“Final 12 months we had a false begin as a result of we had been going to have the present after which, due to the lockdown, all of it went pear formed and it didn’t occur,” mentioned Lilley.

“This 12 months individuals are prepared and getting excited once more so we hope for a very good turnout.”

No-one is extra happy to see the present return than present stalwart Janice Moore, 68, who hasn’t missed a Queanbeyan present in 67 years.

Moore mentioned she’s happy with her household’s involvement within the present that spans 5 generations.

“Dad was president, my nice uncle was president, and my nice nice grandfather was president as properly,” mentioned Moore.

“Mum was a steward for 75 years from the day she met my dad till she was in her 90s, when she determined to offer it up.”

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Her mom’s dedication to the present was past query, attending whereas closely pregnant and delivering her daughter the identical night time.

“I used to be born on the day of the Queanbeyan Present in 1954,” mentioned Moore.

“Mum got here to the present that day then left to offer start to me. I used to be born about 9pm that night time.

“The present is one thing we’ve got all the time been concerned in as a household.”

The chief pavilion steward for the previous 26 years, Moore has seen a change within the stage of curiosity in pavilion displays from 12 months to 12 months.

“Some years the pavilion is so full we don’t know the place to place issues, different years it slacks off a bit, however then it bounces again once more,” she mentioned.

Contained in the pavilion showgoers will discover shows of cookery, artwork, flowers, produce, jams, preserves, wool, and needlework with most entries open to exhibitors till November 7.

By far the preferred displays 12 months in and 12 months out are the images and fleece sections.

“The images part is big and we’ve got needed to restrict entries to a few per individual, as a result of it’s such a preferred part,” Moore mentioned.

“The fleece part could be very in style. Lots of people like coming to take a look at that and we get lots of people from Yass, Adaminaby and Canberra coming into issues.”

All the same old present favourites are returning this 12 months together with the farmyard nursery, woodchopping and sideshow alley.

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“We have now the poultry, horse and goat sections, too; and a mini goats judging part,” mentioned Moore.

“There might be free leisure for the youngsters. The large live performance on Saturday night time is the Choir Boys, and there’ll be fireworks.”

There’s solely been a handful of years in its 125-year historical past that the Queanbeyan present hasn’t been held attributable to warfare, drought or, extra lately, the worldwide pandemic.

“It’s been operating for a very long time and it’s modified quite a bit through the years to be extra fashionable nevertheless it nonetheless has that conventional really feel and nation vibe,” mentioned Lilley, a retired automotive dealership proprietor who’s been concerned with the present society for the previous six years.

“After I was a child we’d come to the present to look at the boxing within the boxing tent.

“And my father was a eager gardener so he’d enter his potatoes and there’d be an excellent sincere rivalry between him and the opposite fellows as a result of all of them needed to win.”

Like many volunteer organisations, the present society is in search of youthful volunteers to bolster its ageing membership.

“The present is an enormous occasion and there’s a number of work to take action we undoubtedly want some assist,” Lilley mentioned.

“Our oldest member is in his 80s so we’re all getting a bit previous and want some younger blood.”


The a hundred and twenty fifth Queanbeyan Present, November 12-13, Queanbeyan Showground.