Tamworth Show 2018 moves to AELEC to boost numbers, focus on agriculture

A NEW venue, a new date and a new committee – dramatic changes to the 2018 Tamworth Show are hoped to pull bigger crowds and rejuvenate agricultural education.

Plans are well under way for the show’s move from the showground to AELEC next year, with representatives from Tamworth Pastoral and Agricultural Association (TPAA) and Tamworth Regional Council working together to ensure a smooth transition. 

The long-awaited move is expected to breathe new life into the Tamworth Show, which has been running for more than 146 years.

NEW IDEAS: Tamworth Pastoral and Agricultural Association president Greg Townsend, mayor Col Murray and MP Kevin Anderson are excited about Tamworth Show's move to AELEC next year. Photo: Peter Hardin

NEW IDEAS: Tamworth Pastoral and Agricultural Association president Greg Townsend, mayor Col Murray and MP Kevin Anderson are excited about Tamworth Show's move to AELEC next year. Photo: Peter Hardin

The move follows the $4.6 million sale of Tamworth Showground to Harness Racing NSW late last year. 

READ MORE: Tamworth Show moves to AELEC in 2018 after Showground sale

READ MORE: Tamworth hosts Mini Trot Championships under $4.6m showground sale

Newly-elected TPAA president Greg Townsend, a second-generation butcher and rodeo stalwart, expects the move to AELEC to pay dividends.

“This is the best state-of-the-art facility that Australia’s got,” Mr Townsend said.

“This has been a move that has been in the wings for 12 years, and it’s really come to the fruition in the last 12 months with the sale of the showground to Harness Racing NSW.

“We can facilitate so many things here.”

A change in venue will allow the new TPAA committee, elected in September, to resurrect show events of years gone by.

“As soon as we started to talk AELEC, we’re seeing younger generations come into it with new vibrant ideas to move shows into the next century,” Mr Townsend said.

“We haven’t run a campdraft at Tamworth show for a number of years, so that’s back on the cards, along with a stockman’s challenge (and) show jumping is back on the agenda.

“There are so many things that are coming back to the show that have dwindled off in the last few years.”

READ MORE: 'Perfect end' to showground farewell at Tamworth Show 2017

The 2018 Tamworth Show, which will be hosted in September instead of its traditional March date to coincide with AELEC’s 10th birthday, will focus on agricultural education.

“Milk doesn’t just come from aisle four,” Mr Townsend said.

“It comes from a cow.

“People need to know where things come from because Tamworth is a growing city and you’d be surprised how many people think things just come off a supermarket shelf.”

Negotiations remain under way on how money from the showground sale will be spent.

“We will put our footprint into AELEC,” Mr Towsend said.

“Negotiations have already started with council into how that will be spent.

“It’s public money, so anything that the P&A decide to do will be in the best interest of AELEC and council as well.”

Tamworth mayor Col Murray said there’d been a strong desire across the show, equine and cattle industries to move it to AELEC.

“It’s a very, very important part of our community life in a vibrant regional centre,” Cr Murray said of Tamworth Show.

“It’s been a very exciting time for council to engage with the new leadership group of Tamworth PAA. 

“(The move) presents a lot of opportunities that probably weren’t able to be realised at the old showground.”

ON SHOW: Rides keep punters happy at the Tamworth Show on Saturday night. Photo: Peter Hardin

ON SHOW: Rides keep punters happy at the Tamworth Show on Saturday night. Photo: Peter Hardin

Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson welcomed the move after years of trying to get it over the line.

“This is something that has caused some consternation amongst members and the committee of the TPAA, and it’s taken great leadership from Greg Townsend to put his foot down, and the new committee, to say the time has come. 

“We need to move, we need to get into the future, and that is here in AELEC.”

Mr Anderson conceded the move may be met with challenges around the history and culture of the old showground.

“Everyone has their roots embedded in the old showgrounds that are in small centres right across regional NSW.

“Those centres are very hard to maintain, the infrastructure is crumbling, you’ve got old sheds, old yards.

“To be able to provide modern facilities for people who want to engage with shows, particularly agricultural shows, then we need a modern venue, like AELEC.”