Every year in Dorrigo, no matter how long and dry the winter/spring period, by November, the rain is sure to come. Every year in late November we have the Dorrigo Show. The two events have often collided and this year was no exception. The relaxed good humour of the stall holders, the competitors and the attendees turns it into a bit of a local joke as everyone races for cover.
I couldn’t help thinking how much these shows owe to the travelling sideshows and attractions. I don’t know if it’s a hard life, or a fun life. I suspect a bit more of the former. But these people add a lot of the zing and excitement to the local showgrounds, attracting the crowds of mainly younger people who probably wouldn’t come just for the traditional competitive activities.
Creative Dorrigo comes out in all its glory at the Show. Not only the Art, which is extensive and very good, but photography, handiworks, flower arranging and cake decorating, all display the amazing talents of this tiny town. I was particularly taken by a gorgeous mannequin attired in flowers, and a display of decorated cakes from the High School which was simply superb.
At any country show, there are plenty of events involving horses and cattle, and I could certainly feel the depth of experience around me, watching these with critical eyes. I did notice that your name had to be Burley or Marks to get a look-in with the Dairy Cattle – they shared the 34 prizes between them, although with 24 of them, Wayne Burley came out on top.
One of the animal events really had me mesmerised. That was the Barru Working Kelpies. This was a demonstration of the amazing natural abilities of these wonderful dogs, and the skill of their handler to bring out the best in them. I could have watched them all day! You can see lots more pictures on the Bellingen Courier site.
Another staple of the local show is the woodchopping competition, which drew a good crowd. The article in the Bellingen Courier explained just how widespread an area the competitors came from, and it also emphasised the importance of this event in Dorrigo which has such a history of logging.
The Coffs Harbour Brass Band provided a happy background to all the events.
I was intrigued by the R.M.Williams Longhorn Express – a huge truck, gleaming in its painted livery. It turned out the be a fully equipped mobile store. It was certainly popular with the country folk checking out all the upmarket country gear. It has apparently been on the road for 12 years, and has travelled the equivalent of 12 times around Australia, visiting shows and events.
Somewhat older than the Longhorn Express, but sounding just as smooth, was Rod James’ Crossley motor that was humming along all day. Now he’s looking for more old motors to restore.