Illabo prepares for 100th show

LOOKING FORWARD: Bill Muller of "Nunlong", Bethungra is the former president of Illabo Show Society. Picture: Nikki Reynolds
LOOKING FORWARD: Bill Muller of "Nunlong", Bethungra is the former president of Illabo Show Society. Picture: Nikki Reynolds

WHEN it comes to country shows, Illabo has to be one of the finest.

The agricultural community in this region has been putting quality exhibits forward for a century and 2020 is a chance to celebrate the major milestone.

Bill Muller of "Nunlong", Bethungra farms in the region and is the past president of the show society. His connection with the region runs deep.

Now his son Simon is the current show president for Illabo. On October 10 this year the Illabo Show will celebrate 100 years.

Mr Muller said the community was certainly looking forward to it.

He said events such as the dog show, prime lamb competitions, young auctioneers and equestrian exhibits all featured each year at Illabo.

"It is going to be bigger and better and hopefully a really good time," he said.

Talks of holding a fireworks display for the event were also on the table.

Like most southern NSW landholders Mr Muller said he was hoping for more follow up rain this week to benefit the winter cropping program and pastures.

"Crops are looking fantastic and stock are doing well," he said.

"Hopefully we can have a positive year and a good show in October," he said.

Meanwhile, the peak body representing royal and country shows across Australia is calling on the Federal Government to invest in a support package to ensure the survival of the events beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Agricultural Shows Australia (ASA) estimates shows contribute approximately $1 billion to the national economy - a figure which has all but dried up overnight with the cancellation of four royal shows and hundreds of country shows to date because of COVID-19.

There are 580 local, regional or state shows held in Australia each year which are not-for-profit organisations with a charter to support the development and promotion of primary industries across the country.

ASA's proposed recovery package comprises three components; up to $30 million for capital city royal shows, up to $12.175m for state affiliated agricultural societies and $500,000 in operational support for ASA over two years.

This is based on fixed overhead and unrecoverable direct show costs for the capital city royals and the state affiliated societies based on show size.

ASA chairman Dr Rob Wilson said agricultural shows have been an integral part of rural communities for over a century, with some agricultural societies approaching their 200th year.