Topic: Malvern Agricultural and Pastoral Association

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A history of the first 100 years of the Malvern A&P Association


Towards the end of the 19th century, when the dividing of large areas of land into smaller farms was completed, and families became established in each area, it became a custom to form social centres and clubs wherever possible. Russell's Flat had a Farmers' Club which was organised by an early settler, John Traves. The club had started conducting social functions and eventually organised competitions of various descriptions as forms of entertainment when John Traves suggested a Foal Show be held. As a result, on 4th May 1899, a Foal and Produce Show was held in a paddock by the school at Russell's Flat. The President was Mr. T. Kain and Mr. G. Williams was Honorary Secretary. Great credit is due to these people and their committee, for without previous experience, they had a very successful Show.

The following year another Show was held on 26th April 1900. Mr. Kain was again president but the secretary was Mr. Peter Campbell of Springfield. There were 228 entries at this Show. There was also the first 'Trade exhibit' - a Massey Harris cultivator equipped with a grass-seed or grain sowing box.

The Shows of 1901 and 1902 were held in a paddock close to the school section and owned by Mr. James Craighead. By this time the Show had grown in every way, so a move was made which took the event to Annat. An important reason for this move was to overcome transport difficulties - Russell's Flat being about three miles from the railway. The move allowed the exhibitors and spectators the full benefit of the railway facility. Annat was also regarded as a more central location for the area. The Show was held in the Annat school grounds in 1903 and 1904. While at Annat, the local storekeeper, Mr. Kircher, provided luncheon in the school room.

From the 1903 cash book, the following figures provide an interesting study:-
Cash surplus 1902 Show </17 -4-6
Cash received 1903 Show 79 -18 - o
Total 97 -2-6
Total expenditure 1903 Show 82-4-6
Balance 14 -18 - 0

In 1905 an auditor, Mr. W.T. Popple, was appointed. Catalogue printing for the 1904 Show cost one shilling per dozen Thirteen dozen were produced and the cost was thirteen shillings.

The Malvern Agricultural and Pastoral Association was formed in 1905 and the Show was shifted to the Sheffield Domain, where it has remained to this day. Mr. F. Bull was the first president of the association and Mr. G. F. Wright, the secretary. Mr. Wright was to hold the secretary's position for six Shows and was president in 1913. His two sons L.T. Wright and Q.A. Wright were also to become presidents of the association and the family has continued it's loyal support.

The Sheffield Domain afforded more space than the other locations, although there were not many facilities. There existed the frame of a building on the domain and this was covered with tarpaulins and used as a produce shed on Show Day. A more permanent produce shed was erected in 1911. This shed would be used to house the hurdles that were purchased during the ensuing years.

When the new Fletcher shed was erected in 1980-81, the old produce shed was demolished. Another building was used as a pavilion for the sports' clubs and as a Show office until the first permanent pavilion was opened in 1924.

The A & P Association was able to hold Shows during the 1914 - 18 World War. The catalogues show that entries were smaller than in peacetime, but homecraft, garden vegetables and forage crops were well supported. In this era New Zealand was not dependent on imported vehicles and fuel for transport, as we were to become.

During the years 1941 - 1945, the time of World War 11, the association could not continue with Shows because horse-drawn vehicles were no longer used, and fuel and man-power were in short supply.

In 1919 the association decided to lease the Malvern Road Board office from the Malvern County Council. This building was to be the office of the association and it let the facility to other district organisations as a venue for meetings and such. The maintenance of the building was the responsibility of the association. In 1924 arrangements were made for. the Post Office to lease the larger room in the building, and this would be used as a Post Office and telephone exchange site until the new building for these services was built in Sheffield. When the Post Office vacated the old building, the A & P Assn. returned it to the Malvern County Council who demolished it and sold the land for new housing development. The old building was so in need of repairs that the cost of these could not be justified. Fortunately, in 1966, a new meeting room had been added to the Sheffield Community Hall and this became the venue for the association's meetings.

During the period between the two wars, the Shows progressed, although the depression of the early 1930's saw the cancellation of the 1931 and 1932 Shows. But as conditions improved, the organisation was able once again to hold a Show in 1933. Fund raising functions were held around this period. Gradual improvement and increasing entries continued until 1940. However, this would be the last Show held until 1946. Nobody ever thought there would be a period of five years when no Show could be held. Credit must go to all who had enough faith in the future, to get on with the job and hold the first Show after the war, in 1946.

As conditions improved, rationing was discontinued, road transport came within the reach of all and the Show expanded. Entries gre and covered many more sections. Horse and pony entries grew beyond expectation. Stud sheep, cattle and farm produce such as potatoes and grain and seed, reached numbers not seen before. However the domestic classes saw a decline. The use of refrigerate and freezers brought about changed conditions in the kitchen and the number of entries of home industries declined. Over the years the young people of the Malvern area have participated by exhibiting in the school classes and other sections of the Show. There have been many excellent displays of young people's work a the Shows.

During the history of the association, several milestones stand out. The produce shed was showing it's age and was no longer up to standard. Accordingly funds were raised and with the help of J.B. Ferguson and Co Ltd. (Mr. Jim Ferguson), a new shed was completed in April 1976. This shed is used as the dining room on

The same year the pavilion, completed in 1924, was also in need of upgrading and after discussion, it was decided that a new modern building be erected. Mr. G.A.M. Hilson, the secretary at time, proposed a fund raising programme. This included a Mardi Gras. Huge efforts were made by the people of the district and a vast amount of items were produced for sale on the big day, December 1976. A large sum of money was raised and plans were prepared fc the new building. Construction soon started and voluntary labour provided the assistance needed to do the base work. Messrs. Don Young and John Fairbrass were the supervising builders. This pavilion was opened by Mr. Hilson on 2nd July 1977.

Extra covered space was needed but the members wanted to avoid having a large marquee to erect and move. All know that Sheffield is subject to North West winds and there is always the threat of damage to a marquee. In 1980 - 1981, a Fletcher-Brown Built shed was erected. This building now houses the school section and the indoor produce. During the winter, the hurdles and horse jumps are securely stored in it.

Several attempts have been made at purchasing land for a permanent. Show site. The most recent was in November, 1952 when forty-two acres belonging to a Mr. McArthur became available for 40.00 pounds per acre. The land was next to the Sheffield Sale yards and Hotel and although the cost was not a problem and the facilities of the sale yards could have been used, the cost of developing the area for Show purposes would have been prohibitive, so the purchase was not made. Mr. Jim Palmer purchased the land and it is now owned by Mr. D. Jenkins. As the Show has grown, we have come to depend more and more on the Jebson family to provide the additional area needed for a complete Show.

In 1999, the Show is now based on a firm foundation of good leadership. A succession of good leaders, has established the Malvern A & P Assn. as a respected institution in Canterbury. We expect it will continue this way. The A & P Assn. has given much to the community, but this is small, compared to what we hope can be achieved in the future. As we approach the new millenium, we must always be mindful of what lies ahead, and our duty to future generations. We thank our families for the guidance that has been given us in the past and the standards they have set us.

Note; Measurements and currency quoted were current at the time. Comparisons with today are of little value.

Acknowledgement: Some early information has been taken from the 'Centennial Year Supplement' in the 1951 Catalogue of Entries.

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Malvern Agricultural and Pastoral Association by Selwyn Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License