Fred Porter – Presidents Welcome 2022

Jul 26, 2022 | Announcements, Coming Up, News

It gives me great pleasure to both announce and invite you to the 104th Annual Northampton District Agricultural Show, to be held at the Showground on Saturday 17th September.

In the spirit of reconciliation the Northampton District Agricultural Society acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout the shire and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

I really didn’t want to start this off by talking about last year’s natural disaster. In fact I began by removing every mention of this terrifying event from our show programme and communications. However the deeper I get into this, the more I realise “she who shall not be named” has affected us all so deeply that we will carry these scars for years to come, maybe even for life.

Trauma is a weird thing. You can distract yourself with good deeds and you can focus on others to take away your own pain. But eventually, those feelings come back and if we bury them deep inside it’s like a poison that leeches into your soul. For all those who have suffered, are still suffering or perhaps just exhausted, I extend my helping hand to you (at an appropriate social distance of course). Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is nothing, just sit and be and take all the time we need to heal. And some of us will never truly heal, but life goes on around us, and I encourage everyone to seize the day and live whatever life you have left in you to the fullest. You do you, not what unrealistic expectations others may have of you. Only then will you find your happy place once again.

For myself as a child growing up in the shire, my happy place was the beach at Kalbarri and all the fun of the annual Northampton Show. It was also in-front of a computer. Lucky for me, although it was considered anti-social at the time, and I was told I’d get square eyes – access to this “scary” new technology in the 80s gave me a head start in todays new digital world. With one computer at Binnu Primary School shared amongst less than 50 students, I pretty much had it all to myself and whilst others played games, I was determined to work out how those games were made. My mother Dawn used to entertain me for hours as a toddler with the vacuum cleaner, I’d pull it all apart bit-by-bit and then put it all back together, over and over again. My first word spoken was not “mum” or “dad”, rather it was a defiant “SELF!” as in, “I want to do it myself”.

Last year, the Northampton Community, despite all odds but in true country spirit, pulled together the biggest ever Northampton Show. I take my hat off to everyone involved and those who attended, even with the loss of our heritage Exhibition Hall and prized Ram Shed, you proved (just like our beloved AFL players and hardworking farmers) when you get knocked down, you get right up again and give it all you’ve got left.

The irony that I was in Far North Queensland (a place with their fair share of catastrophic weather events) on the night that the worst storm on record smashed the Mid West, is not lost on me. I had an overwhelming urge to come home, not just to check on my family but also to help the community and oversea the distribution of rebuilding funds we had raised from the generosity of people all over the world (and even from selfless Northampton and Kalbarri locals themselves, some of whom declined any form of help saying others needed it more than them, whilst they sat in their own broken homes for many months to come). It took my partner Vince, myself and our small dog Chester about 6 months to return to WA by road, navigating lockdowns and border restrictions as we went. It gave me much pride to tick the “WA resident returning home” box when we crossed the border just outside Kununurra. We arrived back in the district the very next day after the Northampton Show 2021.

It was sometime in May this year I got a call to say this year’s show had been cancelled. I immediately started calling what was left of the committee and was warmly welcomed into the role of President to make it happen once again. I was born in Northampton in 1975, my parents Bob and Dawn were also born in Northampton, and my family has a 111 year history as primary producers in the region. Our beach house was the third house ever built in Kalbarri (and amongst the last left standing – they sure don’t build ‘em like they used to). The main street of Kalbarri is Porter Street, named after my Great Grandfather, with whom I share the same name, and was Shire President of Northampton back in his day. The Northampton Show is something very dear to me that I simply could not sit idle and let fade away.

As such, we are breathing new life into not only this annual event, but also the local community. With a can-do positive attitude, and a no-stones-unturned approach, we are pulling out all the stops to present the most inclusive Northampton show ever in 2022 and ensure that it will continue as the biggest event of the community calendar every year hereafter.

I have so much more to share, however you’ll learn more about all the great new additions to our show over the coming month, and I’d like to assure everyone of our respect for all the tradition as well, and how much work is going in to preserve this for future generations.

What I will say is get ready for an incredible show like no other! Last week I was informed that construction has commenced and a brand new Ram Shed would be erected just in time for this year’s show. And your new committee has absorbed what used to be the Ladies Committee and more recently the Exhibition Hall Committee to ensure we can still display everything from locally made cakes, scones, bread and biscuits, to artwork, photography, literature and all kinds of produce from our region. Do you have something special to contribute? We’d love to hear from you. Pickup a Show Programme at your locally owned store, visit our new website, or contact the Ag Society, Northampton News or Kalbarri Town talk to find out more.

2022 marks the first year we will have an official Welcome to Country opening ceremony, and a Sensory Hour before we open to the public, where those with special needs can experience the animals and Exhibition Hall without the loud noises, bright lights and big crowds of show day.

We thank our corporate and individual sponsors, who always support our local show, and to all the exhibitors who contribute their products, produce and stock to enhance the show Exhibition Hall year upon year.

On behalf of the Northampton District Agricultural Society and all its members, we’ll see you at the show!