BOB and Marie Kildey of Bonnells Bay reckon they must have the Morisset Show in their DNA.
Bob Kildey was aged just 7 when he competed in the first ever show in 1951.
“People were lined up from all around the district. Some even rode their horses to get there,” Mr Kildey recalled of that inaugural show.
But Mr Kildey’s connection to Morisset Showground goes back even further.
“My grandfather, Joseph Frost, helped to clear the site there,” he said.
And Mr Kildey’s father, George Kildey, became a life member of the show committee.
“The first ‘pavilions’ at the show were just bower poles in the ground with bark up the sides, and chicken wire with tea-tree branches over the top for a roof,” Mr Kildey said.
Mr Kildey went on to compete at plenty of Morisset shows.
Next week, he’ll be back at Morisset Showground for the 65th Morisset Lake Macquarie Agricultural Show.
But he won’t be on horseback.
“I last rode at the 60th show, in 2013,” he said.
He was 69.
Mrs Kildey witnessed her first Morisset Show in 1955, shortly after her family moved to the district.
“I rode from Mandalong to go to the show on my own, and I fell in love with shows,” she said.
Her enthusiasm spread to her family, and it wasn’t long before they were showing cattle at Morisset.
Her father, Kendall Lee, became president of the show committee from 1963 to 1966, and her brother Lyal Lee held the post from 1969 to 1984 and again from 1993 to 2014.
Mrs Kildey competes in floral arts and photography at the show, and helped to revive the cattle competitions about six years ago. She also introduced pet, trade and baking competitions to the Morisset program.
The other star show performer in the Kildey clan is their horse, Globella Acres Jewell, a three-time national camp drafting champion.
She has competed in 87 agricultural shows, and has 61 wins and places to her name, Mrs Kildey said.
The Kildeys’ love for agricultural shows isn’t limited to Morisset. They’ve been to shows from Bawley Point, on the NSW South Coast, to Rockhampton, in Central Queensland.
“We’ve got to know so many from all over Australia through shows,” Mrs Kildey said.
For pure entertainment, fun and larger-than-life characters, the big country shows in Queensland are hard to beat, she said.
But the Morisset Show stacked up well, the couple said.
“All the visiting show presidents from outside our district always say how good the Morisset Show is,” Mrs Kildey said.
“And I’d say the standard of the art and photography competitions at Morisset are superior to those at any country show we’ve seen.”
Mr Kildey said Morisset Show had enjoyed a revival in recent years.
“I think the message has really got out there that it’s a family show, so we’re seeing lots of kids and families with prams,” he said.
“There are a lot of shows that have gone by the wayside. So it’s good to see that Morisset Show is so popular,” he said.
Everyone has their own favourite event at Morisset Show.
But for Mr Kildey, any show’s appeal lies in its ability to bring old-school country ways to modern city folk.
“Every year, you see the kids sitting and watching a sheep being sheered and you can see they’re mesmerised,” he said.
“I think it’s really important to keep that country community spirit alive… to see the old world side of things. Children don’t know how things used to be done.”
Morisset Lake Macquarie Agricultural Show will be held at Morisset Showground on Saturday and Sunday, February 9 and 10. Tickets cost $5 for children, $10 for adults, and $25 for families. Visit morissetshow.org.au.