The Camden Haven Show

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If you’re not on site at the Kendall Showground on October 13th and 14th, you’ll be missing something very special! Sean Gleeson, President Camden Haven PAH & I Society Inc. and Elizabeth Watson, Publicity Officer and Needlework/Yarn Steward, fill us in about all the attractions and sights offered at the 70th annual Camden Haven Show … 

When was the first Camden Haven Show held … and how do you feel it’s changed/grown most since it first began?

Sean: In the Hastings Shire Gazette of September 26th, 1974, there appeared a historical review of the Camden Haven Show that makes interesting reading. The Gazette states that at a meeting of the Agricultural Bureau in 1931, chaired by Mr. S.T. Boyd, a motion was carried that a Junior Farmers Club be formed at Kendall. This Show was held at the school in the autumn of 1932 and was a great success. 

However, it was not until 1941 that the next Show was held. It was decided that it should be held on the Sports Ground in November of that year. A lot of hard work ensued – poles cut for frameworks to be covered with tarpaulins for stalls, and coops for poultry. The Show was opened by Mr. Clive Evatt; the Ringmaster was A. Wal-lace-Smith. With World War II came expected difficulties, but the 1942 Show went ahead. 

 Soon after in 1944, it was felt that a showground was needed, and about 30 acres of land was purchased on Batar Road from Mr. H. Everingham for ten pounds per acre. Two acres were later added from the Smith Estate on the northern end. It was years before the heavily timbered land was cleared and ready for a Show. 

In 1948 a Show Committee was formed, and the three committees were amalgamated to form the Camden Haven Show PAH & I Society, with H.W. Arnold President and J.W. Thickett as Secretary. The first Show on this ground was held in 1949.  

Today the Kendall Showground is home to the annual Camden Haven Show, as well as regular equestrian events, Camden Haven Pony Club, Kendall Men’s Shed, Camden Haven Boxing Team, Kendall Blues Football Club, Kendall Creative Workshop for young people, Kendall RDA, Kendall Markets and many, many other functions and events that happen within this magnificent community.   

The Kendall Showground is unique, being one of only five privately owned showgrounds in New South Wales; that’s why our members and supporters are so important. The Camden Haven PAH & I SOC INC has to raise the money for all upkeep, maintenance and improvements on the grounds.

Elizabeth: The Show is celebrating its 70th year this year – wow, what an achievement! I have only been attending for the past 10 years, since moving into the area and have enjoyed watching it grow and develop. Each year there seems to be more to enjoy and we are getting a lot more entries in the pavilion sections, which help make for an interesting display. 

Crowds have improved since we changed the time our Show is held – originally held in Feb/March and now the third weekend in October.


What dates/times will the show be open this year?

Elizabeth: The Show will be held on Saturday 13th October and Sunday 14th October. Saturday’s times start from 8am until late at night, Sunday 8am until early evening. 

What facilities/refreshments will be available for people attending this year’s Show?

Elizabeth: Our canteen will be open to serve meals and morning and afternoon tea. We have a great coffee machine and some experienced baristas to man it. Our Tea Room behind the canteen will be open and provide a relaxing place to enjoy your meal or Devonshire tea. Other food vans and services will be provided around the showgound, including a milk bar near the main grandstand. 

Sean: Show food, dagwood dogs, fairy floss, full canteen and bar facilities!

What are some of the star attractions/events on offer this year?

Elizabeth: This year’s Show will provide a good old fashioned country Show with a modern twist. All the usual events, including chainsaw racing, wood chopping, pavilions, horse events, including a stockman’s challenge, reptile show etc. with a fireworks spectacular to finish off the night on Saturday evening. 

Where do funds raised from the Show go?

Elizabeth: Our showground is owned by the Show Society, and therefore any funds raised will go towards further developments and improvements in the showground, to ensure that it will be available to host the annual Show and many other events that are held for years to come. 

Why do you feel it’s so important for the community to support local Shows?

Elizabeth: Living in a small country town means that we rely on support from our local community. The locals from the Camden Haven area love their Show and flock to it each year. We could not run our Show without the support of the local volunteers and sponsors. 

Sean: Our Vision is for: a community that understands and values sustainable Australian agriculture and award-quality produce.

Our Mission is to: forge the future of agriculture by engaging, educating and entertaining our community on the value of sustainable agriculture and quality produce through events which support agricultural excellence and innovation and improving the quality of agricultural produce and animal breeds through competitions.

Whom would you like to acknowledge for their support this year?

Elizabeth: Our Show-goers, whether locals or further afield, the many volunteers who put in hours of work, the stewards, the judges, the Show Society committee, who have provided many hours of work to organise the Show. I would also like to acknowledge our local politicians and council members, who constantly support us all year. Also, it would not be possible without the support of our generous sponsors, who support our Show with prizes, vouchers etc. 

Sean: Each and every wonderful sponsor and volunteer who make the Show what it is!

How much is entry to the show, and where can we find out more info or register for an event?

Elizabeth: Daily – adults $10, age concession and under 18s $5, under 12s free.

More information at our Facebook page – Camden Haven PAH & I Society and the office 6559 4463. 

Thanks everyone.

Interview: Jo Robinson.

Photos courtesy of the Camden Haven
PAH & I Society Inc.

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