1. A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE
MOROBE PROVINCE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY
3. A REPORT
ON THE FIRST LAE SHOW 1959
LAE RAIN FALL
HISTORY OF THE MOROBE PROVINCE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY
24th October 1959 - A big day for Lae! This was the commencement of Lae's
first Agriculture show!
After the second world war, Lae and
its environs were in a neglected and devastated state - the main economic activity
being the collection and sale of war disposal equipment.
was not until the early 1950's that the expat population looked at expanding the
small nucleus of agricultural activity in the environs of Lae.
this time a man named Eddie Ward was Aust Minister of Territories in Canberra
and he refused to allow any land purchases. However at the change of Government
a Mr. Percy Spender got the job and changed this policy. This action followed
a few years later by the exservicemen credit scheme saw a significant increase
in Agriculture activities throughout P.N.G. - Lae included.
the mid 1950's the mainland of P.N.G. had show societies in Madang, Goroka, Mt
Hagen, Port Moresby and Wau. At this time Lae did not have a show society, however
many planters and farmers did support the then Morobe Show Society whose headquarters
and annual show were held in the town of Wau.
By the late
1950's Lae had a very active group of Agriculturist who had formed an association
called The Morobe District Planters and Farmers Association. The M.D.P.& F.
Association considered that the Lae area should he able to support an annual show
of its own, but decided that a separate show society should he formed to stage
the proposed annual show. To this end the committee requested their president,
Mr. J. H. Jacobsen, to call a public meeting to form the Lae Show Society. This
meeting was held in the R.S.L. Club in Lae, in 1958.
inaugural Show Society meeting two of the M.D.P. & F association members made
themselves available for the committee - Mr. Duncan Patterson the then owner of
Bewapi Plantation took on the position of junior vice president and Mr. Jim Jacobsen
took on the posdition of committee man in charge of ring events.
original committee were:-
President: Mr. S. F. Bretag - who
previously owned the pre war "Morobe News" Newspaper, and at this time
was company secretary for New Guinea Industries. "Bret" Bretag was a
very well respected Lae resident and more or less looked up to as Lae's unofficial
Snr. Vice President: Mr. N. (Jerry) Owens
- who was a senior manager for N.G.G. in Wau, and represented the "Morobe"
(Wau) Agriculture Society.
Jnr Vice President: Mr. Duncan
Patterson - formally a planter in Malaya who arrived to take up Bewapi Plantation
in the early 1950's.
Secretary: Arthur Ewing - who was along
time administration officer and was then the area land titles commissioner.
Mr. Jim Knight - who was financial controller for Greg Goudie (Graham Goudie's
father), who ran a disposal business and built what was at that time Lae's most
successful Hardware store.
Assistant Secretary: George Spurier
- who was the manager of United Insurance.
Bernice Harris - who worked at the District Office.
Mr. G. (Ned) Zavattaro - who was managing director of N. G. I.
K. Bryant - the manager of the Commonwealth Bank,
Wilson - who was the District Agriculture Officer,
- who was the manager of Suambu and Leiwomba plantations and was president of
the M.D.P.& F. Association,
Mr. W.J. (John) Hughes - who
was the manager of Bubia Experimental station.
The first three shows were held at the Lae Technical College, the first show being
the only one held under the name of Lae Agriculture Show Society as after the
first year the Wau people agreed to transfer the title of Morobe Show Society
to the Lae Society.
The Show Society has been fortunate
over the period that it has been operating for the support that it has received
by the way of donations from business houses either operating in Lae, or their
end products being sold in Lae. It is interesting to note the list of donors for
the first show, who were:-
Australia & New Zealand Bank
Bank of New South Wales
Bulolo Gold Dredging Ltd
Carlton & United Breweries Ltd
Bank of Australia
Commonwealth New Guinea Timber Ltd
Fesq & Co. Pty Ltd
Hills Hoist Ltd
Hytest Axe & Tool Pty Ltd
Nelson & Robertson
Nut Foods Pty Ltd
Wine Pty Ltd
Qantas Empire Airways
Red Mill Rum Ltd
Theatre Milk Bar
United Insurance Co Ltd
Universal Business Directors
(Aust) Pty Ltd
Western Barbed Wire & Nail Pty Ltd
& Co Pty Ltd
Being able to use the Tech School
facilities was a terrific boost to the new show committee - the show society was
given the use of all the lecture rooms and work shops for exhibit halls, the use
of their dining hall for the official show luncheon, and full co-operation in
every way from the then Principal, Mr. Ray Oberg and his staff.
there was still a lot of work to be done as there was no oval. Fortunately across
the road from the tech school there were no buildings in those days - only bushland
and so the committee set to work to build a suitable oval - in the course of which,
I think that Ray Oberg might have had some second thoughts about the decision
to let the show committee loose in the vicinity of his school - there were some
rather large Buttress rooted trees that had to he removed in the course of the
oval construction, and as there were still plenty of old war time explosives available,
the committee blew out most of those stumps - on one occasion Walter Zarattaro
became a bit too enthusiastic with the result that a huge stump was blown over
the road and landed on the steps of the Tech school main office.
second show was held with much excitement - particularly with the social set of
Lae, because the official guest was the then Governor General of Australia and
anyone who thought themselves anybody were maneuvering to get themselves an invitation
to the official luncheon. This auspicious occasion was held in the Tech School
dining room. The powers that be decreed that it would he rude for anyone to sit
with their hack to the G.G. - therefore the seating was arranged in a large "U"
shape with the G.G. in the middle. Unfortunately the tables used were the normal
tech schools tables with seats affixed to both sides of each table. The assembled
company politely stood waiting for the G.G. to be seated upon which they also
sat down - all on the outside seats of the tables - whereupon the tables capsized
with all the weight on one side, covering the well dressed guests with all the
food and drink which was on the tables.
Because of heavy rain
during the second show, the committee decided to try another month other than
They decided on April Fools Day 1st April 1962
- of course it rained.
The first three shows were in a very
similar format to today's events except there were no gambling stalls, and only
a few food outlets and the society and a baby minding centre for the members who
were busy exhibiting or organising events at the show. One of the more popular
agricultural exhibits were the District Exhibits and from the old show schedules
can he seen that during the first three years the following competed for this
competition:- Wau, Lae, Finschaffen, Kaiapit, Bukawa local council and Leiwomba
A feature of the ring events during those
first three years were the horse flat races where stock horses competed for the
Erap Stakes, Huon Handicap, Markham Valley Stakes and the Lae Cup.
Equestrian Events were much as they are today with champion Boy, Girl, Lady riders,
Best turned out rider etc. There was however a strong emphasis on gymkana type
events such as saddling races, Gretna Green Bending and Flag races etc.
Sings - now the most popular ring event was very low key and did not start to
build up to the spectacle that is produced today until after we moved on to our
own show ground.
During the three years that the show was
held at the Lae Tech the committee fought hard to he given a ground of its own.
First the society was given an area of land alongside the airstrip where the ICI
complex is today, the committee had actually moved on to this land and started
cleaning and levelling when the powers that be changed their minds.
the present site was awarded to the show society and after a lot of hard work
the first show on the new ground was held on 19th and 20th of October
1963 which makes it 34 years ago as at the time of our 1997 show.
1963 show was again hampered by wet weather and the committee decided to move
away from October again and the fifth show was held in December 1964 -you guessed
it - it rained again!
After this effort the committee have
given up on trying to pick a day show time and take what comes. Since this time
the show dates have been picked to the nearest weekend to the full moon which
has ended up with the dates falling from late September, through October to early
It is interesting to look hack on the Post Courier
show supplement of October 1973.
Twenty years ago the presidents
message was obviously written in reply to criticism made in previous issues of
the paper and he commented on:
That neither the President
or any committee members received any financial benefit from show takings.
the show committee was made up of a lot of hard working unpaid volunteers who's
only benefit was the satisfaction of an interesting job well done!
New Guineans were welcome on to the committee and indeed were actively encouraged,
however, those who had become committee members usually lost interest an did not
bother to attend committee meetings.
That the show society
belongs to the people of Morobe and anyone could become a member on paying the
There were 90 financial members of the show
society of which 25 were Papua New Guineans.
The show society
owed $12,000 to the Commonwealth Bank still outstanding on its original overdraft.
At this time the show society had raised and spent over $
150,000 on establishing the showgrounds, without any financial support from any
Governmental Department or Statutory Authority.
In the same
supplement a report from the agronomist in-charge of Bubia Experimental Station
commented: that station staff were concentrating on commercial crops suited to
Markham - Ramu, Sepik and Madang Districts.
peanuts, sorghum and rice is continuing, while the need to farm rotationally to
conserve soil fertility and minimise problems with pests, diseases and indications
of fertiliser response on some of our less fertile soils have been indicated".
Rice trials in the East Sepik District are continuing while
yields of dryland rice in the upper Markham Valley have reached 2.5 tons per acre.
The show supplement of 1973 also mentions that during the past year, Lae had received
City Status and also the year that the Lae based P.N.G. Institute of Technology
became a University.
Also that in the financial year ending
June 1973 there were some 50,000 head of cattle in the Morobe District of which
10,000 head were on 350 small holder blocks and there were currently 50 more of
these small holder blocks being developed.
That during the
past year 1200 tons of peanuts were exported from Lae, some 700 tons of which
were grown by Papua New Guineans.
The total production of
copra in the District was 1442 tons, coffee 2295 tons and cocoa 285 tons.
article by the then Lord Mayor of Lae, Councillor John Rogers sounds somewhat
familiar when he comments on the Lae City Council.
council experienced a great amount of political turmoil in its early stages"
The 1973 show was also exceptional in that the Morobe Show
Society hosted some 62 delegates from Scotland, England, Wales, Kenya and Australia,
who had been attending the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth Conference
in New Zealand. All our visitors were billeted out to Lae hosts and they enjoyed
our show, show ball and the varied agricultural tours arranged for them by the
Morobe Show Committee during their stay in Lae.
So much for
the 1973 Show Supplement. For the previous 15 years agriculture, the show society,
Morobe District and the city of Lae had grown and prospered. I don't know that
we can be terribly proud of the progress made in the subsequent twenty three years!
The Lae show most likely hit its peak as far as an agricultural
exhibits are concerned in the early 1970's.
At this time there
were some 38 expat cattle producers, all competing for the livestock prizes. This
resulted in there being two rings of led cattle and horses in the grand parade.
There were twelve cocoa plantations as well as the locally owned small cocoa blocks
which resulted in stiff competition not only for the cocoa prizes - but also copra,
fruit and vegetables which these properties also produced.
around this time, as well as Morobe District Exhibits, both Goroka and Mount Hagen
used to enter the District Exhibit Competition, and the Morobe Show Committee
used to mount a Morobe Exhibit in return at the time of these two Districts' Shows.
During the 70's and 80's Lae had a very strong Horticultural
Society that held their own show each year, as well as running the Horticultural
section at Lae's Morobe Show.
Over the years the one area
of the show that has not only kept up their standards but actually improved is
the sing-sings and I think I can say that although Lae might not have the thousands
of performers that used to turn up to the Mt Hagen Shows -that without doubt –
Morobe Show contains the most diverse and interesting of cultural dancing groups
in spectacular numbers, presenting a truly grand display.
Show has had many unusual, amusing or meritorious incidents over the years among
which may be included:-
George Pike - competing in the 440
yards foot race completed the round of the oval doing hand springs - he didn't
Terry Rothwell - competing in the 110 yards hurdles -
after hurdling the last hurdle he walked to the finish line and still won!
in the Morobe District tree climbing championship Doug Youd, allowed his local
competitors to climb one side of the pole - chop 1/2 way through the block on
top - return to the ground and climb the other side of the pole before he started.
He also won! P.S. He was Australian Champion of this event at the time.
of the more entertaining events over the years was the time that the fire brigade
put on an exhibition in the main arena. They built a two story structure, clad
it with hessian, doused it with diesel, and put one of their people on top. They
then lit the building and the fire engine came rushing onto the oval to put out
Unfortunately for the guy on top, the fire engine
broke down, the man had to jump from the burning building and broke his leg and
eventually the fire engine was towed off the oval by the society tractor using
their fire hose as a tow rope.
The Society was lucky that
Bill Clift was visiting the Brisbane Exhibition in 1978 and was so impressed by
the fire works that he enquired who put on the display. He was pointed in the
direction of Syd Howard who then come up to Lae and put on a fire works display
He obviously enjoyed it as his company has been up every
year since and I think that Syd himself has only missed one show in all these
The Society developed the procedure of acknowledging
the work of some of its hard working committee members by creating a position
of Life Vice President. This position was filled in the earlier years by people
who had worked on the committee for some time and who had decided to reduce their
involvement in the Society without pulling out altogether. Life Vice Presidents
that we have had over the years are Jon Hamilton, Jim Jacobsen and Chris Salmon.
The Society recognised the efforts of another of its staunch supporters in 1996
by making him a Life Vice President and that is Trevor Kennedy. Trevor has contributed
twenty years to various positions on the committee and joins an illustrious group
of previous holders of the position. A further addition was made in 1997 when
Heather Atherton was elected Life Vice President. Heather left Lae in 1996 after
some twenty five years with our Society. Ten years of which was as Show Grounds
Director, a very demanding position.
In December 1994 the
Society suffered a major loss with the sudden death of a founder of the
Society and mainstay of the Society Mr. Jim Jacobsen. Jim who helped found
the Society in 1958 contributed thirty six years to the Society in many varied
capacities and as a Life Vice President for fifteen years. The experience and
knowledge that Jim had and was able to contribute was invaluable and the Society
is considerably saddened and weaker for his passing.
the Society at its Annual General Meeting created two new Life Vice Presidents.
The first was Greg English who has become the first Papua New Guinean
to become a Life Vice President. Greg then took on the roll of Agriculture
Councillor for a number of years.
The other Life Vice President
created was Mike Quinn. This was an interesting decision as Mike was and still
is the President of the Society. Is it possible to wear the two hats simultaneously?
Mike had been on the Committee for twenty three years, twenty of which had been
as a Councillor and as President for the previous nine.
1997 Show was a great success and in fact represented our best ever year financially
up until that time. The recent years efforts in upgrading fencing and ticket selling
booths has paid off and the decision of the Committee to continue to provide quality
displays and entertainment has ensured that attendances remain good. The Ferris
Wheel - the first of its kind in PNG - proved to he a popular attraction in 1996
when it was imported from Australia and 1998 brings another first - the first
Monster Slide in PNG. This should be a major attraction for the Show and another
worth-while purchase by the Society. 1997 saw one of the worst droughts ever in
PNG affecting the highlands particularly badly and this resulted in agricultural
and livestock displays being markedly reduced. We hope that 1998 will he much
better with the passing of the drought and the lifting of the cattle tick quarantine.
In 1999 at its AGM, the society awarded a Life Vice Presidency
to Glen Jacobsen. Glen, wife of Jim Jacobsen, has been a stalwart of the Society
since its inception. After Jim's untimely death, Glen continued the involvement
of the family in the Society and became a Committee Member in her own right. Glen
has also been a delegate to the Royal Agricultural Society Conference for our
Society over the past twenty or more years and still looks forward attending the
1999, our last show before the
new millennium, proved to be very successful. In 2000 we moved into 21st century
with the Society proudly celebrating the 40th Morobe Show. It proved to be even
more successful than previous years with an attendance of approximately 100,000
people making it our most successful show ever held. This was due in no small
part to increased participation from the community.
also saw the introduction of the MOROBE SHOW QUEEN contest. The aim of
the contest is to promote pride in traditional Papua New Guinea Culture, with
all entrants dressed in full traditional dress. This new attraction proved to
be so successful that we expect to make it an annual event. 2001 will he remembered
as the year that terrorists attacked New York. We hope that there will he no further
attack in the future and that Papua New Guinea is not adversely effected in the
The best result todate in terms of
gate attendance came in 2004 with a record crowd and gate revenue. Our combined
gate sales, pre-sold tickets, memberships, Gold passes and commercial exhibitors
placed our combined numbers at around 105,000 people over the weekend. A great
With Lae generally experiencing roughly
200 inches of rain per annum it is likely that from time to time the show can
get a bit wet. In 2005 we had the wettest show on record with approximately
15 inches of rain falling over the show weekend. The entire show
ground was a quagmire, nothing but mud to be seen and it was impossible to find
a single blade of green grass as we still had an attendance of approximately 80,000
people over the weekend. There has never been a washed out Morobe Show but the
2005 show was a close as you could come. The result was financially bad but we
got through it and in 2006 had a fantastic improvement in revenue with well over
100,000 people again at the show.
The Morobe Show
relies on volunteers to keep it going and as time goes on the assistance of Sponsors
becomes more and more important. 2007 saw our sponsorship arrangements reach a
new level with Coca Cola contributing K60,000 in cash and kind as well as Trukai
Industries Ltd with K40,000 and Ramu Agri-industries K35,000. Recognition of the
Morobe Show as a significant commercial event has prompted these organisations
to become heavily associated with the Show for promotion of their products. Also
and maybe more importantly the fact that the Morobe Show is the last of its kind
in Papua New Guinea has awakened a social conscience that recognises the need
to keep events like the Morobe Show going. Whatever the reason the Society is
very indebted to our Sponsors for their assistance. 2007 also saw an increase
in the number of tourists coming to the Show for the Sing Sings. There are more
and more tourists coming to Lae for the Sing Sings and this is probably due to
the variety of groups that attend the Morobe Show. 2006 we had 78 groups and in
2007 we reduced that to 52 groups as we concentrated on quality rather than quantity.
Nonetheless in 2007 we still had over 1000 participants and the tourists went
away very happy with what they had seen.Throughout the
history of the Society there have been three years that the annual show was unable
to be held. The first was 1983 when Lae experienced exception wet weather the
month before the show with 1100 mm falling in September. The rain caused flooding
of the creeks and rivers surrounding Lae which washed out the bridge approaches
at Yalu, Markham and and Bumbu Bridges effectively cutting Lae off. It was unknown
how long it would take to repair the road and bridge infrastructure so it was
decided to cancel the show that year. The second year that the show was canceled
was 1991 which was due to law and order issues at the time which resulted in a
"State of Emergency" being declared in Lae and a 6.00pm to 6.00am curfew
being introduced. Again it was not possible to determine how long the curfew would
be in place for and so the show was canceled. The most recent was 2009 when
Lae and parts of Morobe had been experiencing a cholera and dysentery outbreak.
The cholera appeared to be being brought under control and the show was still
going ahead however with three weeks to go to the show there was a spike in cholera
cases again and as a result the show had to be canceled.
The period 2009 to 2010 has been
the worst period ever in the history of the Morobe Show. As stated above just
days before the 2009 Morobe Show was due to commence it had to be cancelled due
to the resurgence of the outbreak of Cholera in Lae. The Society is very conscious
that the health and well being of the citizens of Lae and Morobe Province it is
of the highest priority to us so there was no option - the Show was cancelled.
The risk of more people contracting Cholera and of the disease spreading further
throughout Papua New Guinea was too great a risk.
Morobe Show was cancelled but Cholera spread anyway. It is still with us and is
unlikely in the short term to be eradicated but it appears to be more manageable.
The most important thing to be done is to educate people on how Cholera is spread
and at the Morobe Show in 2010 at the Health Expo there was information on what
you should and shouldn't do to avoid Cholera. We hope people take up the opportunity
to learn. All people entering the grounds were given some anti-bacterial hand
wash to help ensure that Cholera did not become an issue.
the beginning of 2010 there was real doubt that our Society would survive the
financial crisis that we had due to the cancellation of the 2009 Morobe Show.
Effectively we had a full year of operating expenses with no income. Our cash
reserves dwindled to a dangerously low level. We set about securing new sponsors
and the support we received was enormous and was sufficient to get us through
and conduct another Show. The Governor Hon Luther Wenge and Morobe Provincial
Government supported the Society with K100,000. As well as our existing Grand
Champion Sponsor - Coca Cola - and Blue Ribbon Sponsors - Trukai Industries
and Ramu Agri-Industries - we have a new group of Red Ribbon Sponsors -
BeMobile, InterOil, K.K. Kingston, Bank South Pacific and Morobe Mining. For the
first time this year we also have a large group of Platinum Supporters
and Life Subscribers (a membership criterea that was re-introduced) who
all helped to save the Morobe Show from financial ruin.
brings the 50th Morobe Show. Be there!!!!!!!!
they WERE there. We had a great Show, officially opened by the Governor General,
Grand Chief Sir Michael Ogio GCMG CBE and attended by nearly 100,000 people over
two days. The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary Band provided music and entertainment
along with a variety of special ring events. The new Blimp purchased by the Society
was on display for the first time and had a special 50th Logo displayed on its
sides. It was a great crowd pleaser. It was the Golden Anniversary of the Society
as far as conducting Shows was concerned and so the theme colour was Gold. A special
50th Show Commemorative Ball was held in the Ballroom the week before the Show
again with a Gold theme. This was organised by a special committee and it was
a great success.
Thus the start of the next fifty
years of the MPAS commenced. The 2012 Show was number 51 and a special ring event
comprising LumberJacks from Canada and New Zealand was the main attraction. The
current World Pole Climbing champion was there and did pole climbing displays.
2013 got away to an unusual start with Mike Quinn - President since 1992 being
awarded a Queens New Years Honour - Member of the Order of Logohu - for services
to the Community and the Morobe Provincial Agricultural Society. This honour not
only recognised Mike Quinn but also the significant roll that the Society plays
in the city of Lae and Morobe Province. For those who don't know what a Logohu
is - the Papua New Guinea national crest is the Bird of Paradise. In the Papuan
language - Motu - the word for Bird of Paradise is Logohu. Hence the Order of
Logohu which is specific to Papua New Guinea is used in Papua New Guinea along
side the British Empire honours system. As usual the Motor Bike Jumping was the
feature of the ring events and it is so popular that it is just about enshrined
in the annual programme.
The 2013 Show was a very
good success and was marked particularly by the overall behaviour of the crowd.
There were very few instances of unruly behaviour and zero tear gas used which
is very unusual. While the Shows are always safe events there is often a disaffested
few who find a time and opportunity to cause a problem however 2013 was a standout
peaceful year. The only matter to marr the show was the loss of the Blimp. In
2011 we purchased an inflatable blimp for promotion and advertising. Unfortunately
on the Sunday of the show the blimp, being operated by remote control by Brad
Leyden, developed a fault and despite Brads best efforts it floated off on the
breeze. It eventually landed about 2 klm from the showground on the Markham Road
at 2 Mile where thousands of people were heading home from the show. It was set
apon by the hordes all anxious to get a piece and consequently it was literally
torn to shreds. We got a few pieces back - enough to start a rebuild of the blimp
but we will need to revise our flying proceedures. Our new Governor - Hon Kelly
Naru opened the show and very much enjoyed his time at the show. Also a new thing
was the change in fireworks displays. The committee has been finding over the
years that the crowds are leaving the showgrounds earlier and earlier on Saturday
and Sunday of the show weekend. This has led to the firworks displays on both
days coming forward to become daylight displays. This year we dispensed with the
Saturday display all together and did a special night show on Friday night, fired
from Mt Lunaman, to accounce the start of the Annual Show. It was very good and
put on by Des Lawton again. We still had a twilight display on Sunday to signal
the end of the Show.
2014 heralded a change of the
guard with Mike Quinn stepping down as president after 22 years in that post.
He was succeeded by Phil Franklin who was also elected a Life Vice President at
the 2014 AGM. Time for new ideas.
|1958 to 1964||A.
|1965 to 1974||J.
|1976 to 1977||J.
|1981 to 1983||P.
to 1991||M. Kerro|
to 2013||M. Quinn ML|
to 2015||P. Franklin MBE|| |
of the MPAS late 1950's|
REPORT ON THE FIRST LAE SHOW 1959
This report has been reproduced from the original without alteration. The language
used is as used at the time. No offense is intended.
LAE SHOW - 1959
Lady Barbara Jephcott
The Lae Agricultural
Society (later Morobe District Agricultural Society), held its first Show over
the weekend of the 24th and 25th October 1959.
opening the Show, His Honour the Administrator, Brigadier DM Clelland, recalled
how post-war Lae was a jumble of shacks in the jungle. Now Lae is a modern town
with an excellent shopping centre, attractive homes and a sound economy, which
is displayed to advantage at the Show. He also said that Show typified the cooperation
between Europeans (whites) and the natives and the Administration. He continued
"We are a private enterprise people, and fostering private enterprise is
the basis of our government. If Australians are to settle here they can rightly
expect security and help". On the question of land alienation, His Honour
stated that of the 120 million acres of land that comprises the Territory of Papua
New Guinea, only 3 million acres have been alienated necessary for their well
being. Land can only be obtained through the Administration, but further land
would be made available for pioneer settlers under the ex-servicemen's scheme
and for other settlers.
In spite of torrential rain
the first day, which caused the ring events to be postponed until Sunday the Show
was an outstanding success. The first day 4000 natives and 500 Europeans braved
the rain to examine the excellent exhibits and patronize the side-shows, a much
larger crowd watched the ring events the second day.
of the exhibits was the Sub-District exhibits. Five sub-districts took part, namely
- Wau, the Markham Valley, Kainantu, Finschafen and Kaiapit. Wau won the first
prize by a narrow margin from the Markham and Kainantu. Wau and Kainantu are at
high altitudes, the Markham Valley in the lowlands.
of the Wau exhibit was a magnificent flower display. A profusion of dahlias, gladioli,
carnations, lilies, orchids, and many other tropical and temperate flowers were
highlighted by massed delphiniums with blooms two feet long. Wau also displayed
to advantage the world famous timbers that are milled in the Wau - Bulolo area,
notably Klinki pine, Red Cedar and Hoop pine. Well made wooden bowls and ornaments
enhanced the timber display. The wealth of the Wau area was further shown by exhibits
of gold, coffee, vegetables, dairy produce and citrus fruits.
Markham Valley exhibit was that of a farming community. Two calves in a pen beside
the exhibit emphasized the fast developing dairy and beef industries. Many and
varied crops are grown in the rich valley, thirty miles south of Lae. Among those
displayed were high quality peanuts, cocoa, sorghum and maize. The Wealth of the
Markham Valley is not yet fully exploited. More exotic crops, such as sisal, ginger
and excellent pineapples and pawpaws were displayed.
fearsome warriors in full Highland battle regalia handed out pamphlets on the
"Mile High Gateway to the Highlands" - Kainantu. Two uniformed police
guarded the gold display of the district. A "Horn of Plenty" was the
feature of the Kainantu exhibit. From the Horn spilled Arabica coffee beans, for
which the Highlands are becoming famous, vegetables, flowers, fruits, maize, sugar
cane, New Zealand flax and the gold.
Finschafen have few Europeans to help with display, but the quality of their native
grown produce and artifacts was of a high standard.
displays featuring native goods came from the Agariba (Eastern Highlands) and
the Local Government Council of Lei Womba (near Lae) exhibits. The latter added
live animals to their exhibit, including a tree kangaroo, several snakes and some
roosters. Agariba emphasized the native production of good coffee and stable foods,
especially kaukau (sweet potato) and sugar cane.
Michael Leahy from Zenag, had a one farm exhibit featuring dairy produce, eggs,
fruit and vegetables all produced on his mixed farm near Wau and sold in Lae.
townspeople of Lae worked hard to make the trade exhibits of a quality that would
be creditable in any Show. Morobe Bakery showed their versatility in the variety
of breads and biscuits displayed. The New South Wales Bank and Bulolo Goldfields
combined to create an imaginative gold display. Lae Joinery showed that not only
in New Guinea timber good, but the workmanship does justice to the timber.
Show was held at the Lae Technical School grounds and the buildings made excellent
pavilions. Large entries were received in the art, photography, schoolwork, floral
and produce sections.
In the livestock section, dairy
cattle were the strongest exhibit. The cattle came from the Lutheran Mission at
Malahang, Mrs. Jensen's dairy, both near Lae and the Department of Agriculture
and Stock and Fisheries' (DASF) property Erap, 30 miles from Lae. Mrs. Jensen
won the dairy cow class with a Jersey cow, while an AIS heifer owned by a native
from Malahang won the strong heifer under two years class. Some imported Berkshire
pigs from Erap won DASF the prize for Best Exhibitor in the pig section.
success f the equestrienne events was due largely to Mr. Sid Staines, who drove
eighteen horses one hundred miles down the Markham Valley from Gusap cattle station.
These horses and some of Erap were "auctioned" for the day, to enable
townspeople to have an interest in the hack classes and races.
the grounds were soaked with over two inches of rain, sunshine and a tropical
temperature dries the ring quickly. By hard work and good organization the Committees
were able to hold at the ring events on Sunday.
B.R. Jephcott was the judge for the hacks. The Best Imported Hack was won by Mr.
Staines' Vilia. This mare was also Champion Hack. The Best Local Hack was won
by Mrs. L.J Brady's Wisecrack ridden by Mr. "Rowdy" Grant. Mr. Staines
also won the gentlemen rider and best turned out rider. Mrs. P. Anderson won the
ladies events and her small son Philip was the best turned out child rider.
the novelty events, the Flag was won by Mr. Ian Shaw from Mrs. Anderson and the
Bending race to Mr. Lockie Ottley from Mrs. Anderson. Mr. J. Kelly and Mrs. Anderson
won the Gretna Green and Mr. McKinnon the Saddling race.
Horse events were wound up with a race meeting. The course was a U shaped three
furlongs. There were three heats and the winners rode for the Lae Cup! The jockeys
were Sid on Vilia, Rowdy on Old Red and Barbara on Burnished, she drew the inside
barrier. In a tight finish Burnished won from Vilia by a neck.
ring events for all comers included wood-chopping, sheaf tossing, crosscut sawing,
foot races and children's races.
The Grand Parade
was both unique and spectacular. Leading the parade was the Papuan Police Band,
which had flown over from Port Moresby. The Champion hack led the horses (none
of which had ever heard or seen a band before) in, followed by floats. The most
spectacular being in the form of a native canoe complete the sails, oarsmen and
oars, and so big that it covered the truck underneath, and the canoe appeared
to be sailing around the ring. The mixture of old and new continued with a new
tractor and plough followed by hundreds of native in full sing-sing regalia; dancing
to the beat of the kundus, their massive headdresses and plumes moving in rhythm,
their painted bodies (some were completely red) glistering in the hot sun along
with their spears and shields.
A Show Ball completed
the festivities. It was attended by over three hundred people. The President of
the Lae Show, Mr. A.J. Bretag entertained The Administrator and the District Commissioner,
Mr. H.L.R Niall and their wives. We were all entertained early in the evening
by the Police Band playing dance music.