Last night the streets were

full of strangers   larrikins

congregating on corners

smirking at passers-by

swollen cabs & coaches

queuing at Town Hall Gardens

to see Herr Hartmann


Set the tempo with

Silver threads among the gold

a half-moon lighting

the iron lace rotunda

standing by the cascading fountain

Blanche listens   eyes asparkle

drinking in the giddy night


Daylight reveals a

steady stream of ladies

clutching plain & fancy needlework

(their fingers frayed)

pots of jam (any kind)

& knitted woollen socks

whalebone needles jousting


It was no surprise

when John Arnott with his

whipped cream smile won

Best Exhibit Biscuits and Cakes

or the Earl of Rotherwood

pipped Lothario as

Best Bull (of any age)


The prize for Best Pumpkin

was hotly contested

seven entrants with wives they couldn’t keep

(all brothers)

vying for five shillings

ludicrously offered by the

Hospital for the Insane


Miss Budgett took her tuberous-rooted

begonias back to the boarding house

after wilting in the midday sun

but Mr Finch kept cool all the long day

in his handsome rockery  

a cacophony of songbirds

filling the canvas marquee








Notes on the poem

The first show of the newly formed Beechworth and North-Eastern Agricultural and Horticultural Society was held on Thursday March 20 and Friday March 21, 1879. Special trains ran to Beechworth from surrounding districts and children were given a holiday from school in order to attend. The exhibits, winners and entertainments were widely reported in the Ovens and Murray Advertiser.