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Morobe Show
Held on the weekend closest to the full moon in the month of October each year in Lae Morobe Province.


For more information, further enquiries, or any questions you may have, contact MPAS:
Showgrounds Phone: +(675)4310205
Office Phones:
+(675) 472 2887
+(675) 472 2897

+(675) 472 5141

Postal Address:
PO Box 222
Lae, MP 411
Papua New Guinea


The Morobe Province Agricultural Society > History







Saturday 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.

It 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.

At 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.

By 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.

At this 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.

The 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 "mayor".

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.

Treasurer: 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.

Assistant Secretary: Bernice Harris - who worked at the District Office.

Show director: Mr. G. (Ned) Zavattaro - who was managing director of N. G. I.

Committee: K. Bryant - the manager of the Commonwealth Bank,

E.R. (Eric) Wilson - who was the District Agriculture Officer,

J.H. Jacobsen - 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:-

Arnott, William, Pty Ltd
Australia & New Zealand Bank
Bank of New South Wales
Bulolo Gold Dredging Ltd
Carlton & United Breweries Ltd
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Commonwealth New Guinea Timber Ltd
Ewing Arthur
Fesq & Co. Pty Ltd
Hills Hoist Ltd
Hytest Axe & Tool Pty Ltd
Mason, Theo
Nelson & Robertson
Nut Foods Pty Ltd
Penfolds Wine Pty Ltd
Qantas Empire Airways
Red Mill Rum Ltd
Stubbs, John
Theatre Milk Bar
United Insurance Co Ltd
Universal Business Directors (Aust) Pty Ltd
Western Barbed Wire & Nail Pty Ltd
Yates, Arthur & 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.

However 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.

The 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 October.

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 Local Councils.

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.

Other 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.

Sing 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.

Eventually 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.

The 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 November.

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.

That 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!

Papua 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 membership fees.

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.

"Work with 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.

An article by the then Lord Mayor of Lae, Councillor John Rogers sounds somewhat familiar when he comments on the Lae City Council.

"The 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.

At 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.

Morobe 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 win!

Terry Rothwell - competing in the 110 yards hurdles - after hurdling the last hurdle he walked to the finish line and still won!

Competing 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.

One 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 the fire.

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 here.

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 years.

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.

In 1998 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.

The 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 Bi-annual Conferences.

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.

2000 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 future.

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 achievement.

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.

We survived!!!!

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.

The 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.

At 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.

2011 brings the 50th Morobe Show. Be there!!!!!!!!

And 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 1964A. J. Bretag
7 years
1965 to 1974J. H. Jacobsen
10 years
1975W. Kundin
1 year
1976 to 1977J. Sawanga
2 years
1978M. Galore
1 year
1979R. Taetaeng
1 year
1981 to 1983P. Homu
3 years
1 year
1985 to 1991M. Kerro
7 years
1992 to 2013M. Quinn ML
22 years
2014 to 2015P. Franklin MBE 


Committee of the MPAS late 1950's



N.B. This report has been reproduced from the original without alteration. The language used is as used at the time. No offense is intended.


Courtesy 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.

In 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.

Highlight 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.

Feature 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.

The 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.

Two 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.

Kaiapit and Finschafen have few Europeans to help with display, but the quality of their native grown produce and artifacts was of a high standard.

Other 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.

Mr. 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Although 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.

Mrs. 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.

In 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.

The 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.

Other 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.



Lae has significant amounts of rain and it has in the past had very significant effects on Morobe Shows. There have been no Shows cancelled due to weather, however, there have been some very wet ones.

The average since 1950 is 4.714m of rain per annum. The biggest was 6.059m in 1957 and the driest was the year preceding - 1956 - at 3.109m. The largest month was 1.033m in August 1980. The heaviest drop recorded was 33" of rain in 36 hours but there may be some doubt about that.

We have no records for 1982 , 1984 and 1985 so if anyone knows someone who was keeping records then please let us know.

In the old measure it was generally said as "a rule of thumb" that Lae had 200 inches of rain a year with 100 inches falling in 3 months (wet season - June, July, August) and the other 100 inches in the other 9 months.

These records have been compiled by Roger Dawson (nicknamed Smokey Dawson for some obscure reason) who managed to obtain the records that had been kept by the Lae Airport up to 1983 and add them to records that he has kept since then. An awesome task which Roger has enjoyed.

Click on the link here for the complete details of rainfall in Lae from 1950.

Rain Fall Figures


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