One thing that every community in a country town needs, be it large or small, is the binding ingredient that brings it together, encourages individuals and businesses alike to participate and engage with each other, even if it is only for just one day a year.  Throw into the recipe entertainment, livestock, trade displays, action, handmade produce, competition, reunions, and you have the method for what Toodyay is well known for, our Agricultural Show that occurs in October every year. Toodyay has the second oldest existing Agricultural Society in the State, so the Show is endeavouring to making those Committee men and women that came in the decades before us proud indeed.

Established in 1853, the first Show was held for the sale of horses, cattle, and sheep and this continued annually at the original Newcastle townsite, under a different name, until severe flooding of the Avon River drove a newly formed townsite to be established up stream, which was later named Toodyay.

The 37th Show of the newly named Toodyay Agricultural Society, was first held on the current Showgrounds in 1890. The Committee were all men and had an impressive “prize list” or programme. Based around agriculture, ploughing competitions and the best Stallion were hotly contested between farmers. Back then, livestock ruled the day, Equestrian classes and dairy cows were extremely popular, but the most important feature of the Show was the opportunity this one day in the year provided to the growing country town to catch up with farmers, businesspeople and ladies and discuss the items of the day. Show dances on the night of the Toodyay Show were famous and even Horse Races in the early 1920’s made the weekend of the Show an attraction that many travelled a great distance to be a part of.

Toodyay Agricultural Society is celebrating the 170th Show held in Toodyay this year, an INCREDIBLY special year indeed, so history and the dedication shown by Committee members are bound to be a big part of the local affection for the Show.  

Toodyay Show is held on the most historic and scenic Showgrounds in WA, all which adds to the atmosphere and overall excitement of arriving at the gates on Show Day.  Overlooking the Oval are the Exhibition Halls, the historic Lee Steere Pavilion, built just for the Society to display exhibits “undercover” such as craft, cookery, needlework, floriculture, home produce, Fruit, vegetables and to add to the overall colour of this massive exhibition hall; the handmade quilts and patchwork designs are hung from the ceiling.  The “Youth Hall” next door that houses the Photography, Art and Woodcraft has the best outlook over the Showgrounds.  This is where any visitor or local can arrive any time during the day to be served home baking with a smile as you are invited to take a chair on the Veranda, have a cuppa with homemade scone in hand, as they take in the view over the Show. Reunions of families, classmates and friends on the Terrace overlooking the Oval, the smiles, and handshakes, give the satisfaction to myself and the Committee that the job has been done.

From families to children and the vigorous Pensioner that pass through the Show gates, all are interested in many attractions, which we have a wide variety of this year, such as our Trade Displays, Community groups getting their message out there and stalls selling goods as diverse as heritage vegetable plants to timber mills. 

We are putting on an exhibition road crash supported by the Road Safety Commission, WA Police and St John Ambulance with volunteer students from Curtin University acting as victims.  We have been putting on these “Accident Scenarios” using motorbikes and cars over the years, to get the Road Safety message out there.  They are a real drawcard, and this year will be no exception, all in the aim to prevent road accidents; so, come to the Toodyay Show and be amazed by what you can learn.

This year we also have a wonderful programme of Entertainment including the Royal Australian Navy band, Vintage Motorbikes, Vintage Trucks, Stilt Walkers, Live Butterfly display, The Entertainment Bus, Side Show Alley, Blacksmith, Chocolate Wheel and of course bringing back the popular Tug-O-War after many years and the list goes on with Horses in Action beginning the day at 8am.  The official Opening is at 10am by the Governor of WA and then after a long day, it’s time to have a stuffed Spud watching the Fireworks as they begin at 7.30pm. The band will play until closing time at our lovely Terrace Bar on the hill until 9pm.

We at the Society would not be able to attempt an event on this scale without the incredible support of volunteers, community groups and then the sponsorship of individuals and businesses both big and small. Heartfelt thanks go to our major sponsors of the fireworks Toodyay & Districts Community Bank, Morgan Feed Supplies, Shire of Toodyay, Dunnings, Chalice Mining, CSBP, Toodyay Op Shop and Rio Tinto.  It is only with sponsors like these businesses and the community that a small committee & volunteers can continue putting on a special event like the Toodyay Show. Hopefully, this continues. Please consider checking out Facebook and our website at for details on the Show Schedule and Trade or purchase of Avon link tickets to the Show before the day.

Alison Wroth

Past President