ID #3126

Bathurst Agricultural Show, Bathurst, Settler Country, Eastern Cape.

Rural showcase of the Eastern Cape. In March 1848, according to an article in the Graham’s Town Journal, a meeting was called in Port Alfred of “landed proprietors and agriculturalists”. “The committee appointed to set up the Agricultural Society reads like a Who’s Who of distinguished 1820 Settlers. Their descendants still figure in farming life and the show…” Marion Currie, The Story of the Bathurst Show.

The first show was held in 1850.  It was to be the first and last for 50 years, because of recurring Frontier Wars and endemic stock diseases including the rinderpest. In 1903, the Lower Albany Agricultural Society met to revive the show under a new name, the Bathurst Agricultural Society.  The First World War heralded another struggle for survival.  A slump in the ostrich industry ruined many farmers. An outbreak of anthrax caused the 1914 show to be cancelled.  There were no shows in 1915 and 1917. The Second World War saw several shows threatened by natural phenomena such as drought and locust swarms. Since 1928, there has been a Bathurst Show every year, bringing the number to 118

•    Main Arena: The heart of the Show is the main arena. Cattle parades, horse jumping, dog steeplechase, drum majorettes, concours d’elegance for modern and vintage cars, sky diving, horse carriages and wagon drive pasts, sheepdog trials, and karate displays are all crowd pulling attractions.
•    Home Industries: No show would be complete without the home industry exhibitions.  Over 700 entries covering all aspects are displayed with prizes for the winning exhibits.  900 children’s entries were received in 1986.
•    Livestock, Poultry and produce: It offers breeders and farmers the opportunity to exhibit their stock to best advantage.
•    Cattle: Bonsmara, Red and Black Angus, Hereford, Afrikander, Santa Gertruidis, Shorthorn, Brahman, Summer Faler, Friesland, Guernsey, Jersey and Charolais.
•    Horses: American saddlers, boerperds, Welsh ponies, Arabs and thoroughbreds.
•    Sheep: Merino, Suffolk, dorpers, dormers, Dohne merino, SA mutton, Ile de France and south Devon.
•    Goats: Angora and boergoats
•    Pigs: Large white, landrace and Minnesota.
•    Poultry: Australops, Plymouth Rock, leghorn and English bantams
•    Produce: Pineapples, subtropical and deciduous fruits and a variety of vegetables.

Beer garden, jazz concerts, arts and crafts, drum majorettes, SAPS dog displays. The show attracts between 15 and 20000 people during the three days it is open.  It is one of the most famous shows on the South African agricultural calendar. Exhibits of machines and equipment for the farming industry. 95 exhibitors in 1985. 263 registered farmers are members of the society. Four branches of co-operatives serve the needs of farmers in the area. Turnover from all types of farming exceeds R35 million per annum. Held annually in April.

Bathurst is on R67 south of Grahamstown, which is on the N2 west of East London, which is at the intersection of the N2 with the N6. The showgrounds are on the outskirts of town, on the right of the Grahamstown road adjacent to the Agricultural Museum. AZBagri

Contct:            Andrew Long, Director
Bathurst Agricultural Society
Box 94 Bathurst 6166
+27 (46) 625 0719 telephone and fax

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Last update: 2014-02-15 14:48
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.2

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