Roma Show Society History
Roma was declared a municipality in 1867, (25th May), and just 6yrs later, Roma held their first Show (1873).
It is believed that the first Roma Show was held at a site in the vicinity of the present Guide Huts and was called ‘The Show Yard’.
The Roma Show moved to the grounds opposite the Hospital and operated there annually until 1967 (with the exception of a few years during the WW1 and WW2)
The Racetrack in Roma was situated on the Mitchell Road in a black soil paddock where the DPI research station is now. The horse racing group were in need of a better site because races had to be cancelled after only a little rain on the black soil.
Photo courtesy of Alanah Ladbrook
Gladys Boyce in the centre,
Judge Harry Tompkins.
Flo Kilpatrick on the horse resting its leg in the background.
The then Chairman of the Bungil Shire Council, Mr. Ken Tomkins (later a member of State Parliament) held a discussion with various groups in town (the Show Society, the Race committee, the local football teams, the Rodeo Group) and decided to build a combined complex. Building a combined facility meant that most of the buildings required government funding.
In the times of the 60’s and 70’s a Show Association was able to claim a 30-40% Government subsidy on capital works and building programs (they being one of the only bodies to be able to attract subsidies).
Land was purchased from the Bassett family and the Show Society was able to get the necessary subsidies to enable the new complex “Bassett Park” to be built.
Whilst Bassett Park was being constructed in 1968, the Roma Show Society did not host the annual event. However, with the completion of Bassett Park the Roma Show was once again up and running in 1969.
The Show Society, as an association, has always been prepared to continually improve and finance the continued expansion of Bassett Park. The first enclosed stables on the grounds were built and paid for by the Show Society. Due to the Roma Show Society being responsible for gaining the Government Grants, it was stipulated at the time of construction that buildings were to be named after Show Society persons/things of interest which when you look at the names over gates and buildings you will now know why they are named as such.
The Maranoa Regional Council now own and control Bassett Park.
The Roma Show Society continues to host this annual event on the second weekend of May with the help of our wonderful volunteers and sponsors. The Roma Show is the largest in our region and can only continue with the public contributing to the many different sections and by visiting and enjoying the many facets of Agricultural life in the west.