After 144 years, it’s a sad way to say farewell

It appears that the Launceston show will not go ahead for 2018.

Indeed, its future beyond 2018 still hangs in the balance.

While many would have seen this result coming, given the show’s dwindling attendance numbers, it is still a shock.

The show has been a constant in Launceston for 144 years. In a way, it is like the city is losing a part of itself.

As the 2017 show rolled through town, attendance numbers were noticeably down.

The show society president openly told the community that the future of the show was in its hands.

“We’re asking the community to show us whether they want a show or not,” Jock Gibson said.

Sadly, there was not enough support.

When the show organisers approached the City of Launceston council with a last-ditch proposal to get a one-day show ticked off for 2018, they were knocked back.

The council acted on the advice of auditors, when asked by the show to buy back from the show society the Inveresk lease that the event is held on.

Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten said he believed the council had acted in the best interests of the community, and that it was not fair for ratepayers – through the council – to continue to foot the bill for the event.

As The Examiner took the news to its readers on social media, there was not a lot of lament for the loss.

Many said that the event was too expensive, and was out of touch with what show goers were looking for in a day out.

The feedback in the past five years has been that punters are opting more for traditional, agricultural shows that celebrate the region’s farming past, opposed to the cheap, stuffed toys and expensive rides of sideshow alley.

The Launceston show’s downfall follows that of its North-West counterpart at Devonport, which failed to proceed for 2017. The feedback surrounding this demise was similar.

For those whose childhood memories are anchored around the Launceston show, there is a lot of nostalgia.

Many of these people will now have children of their own, and would like to give them the same memories. 

For the sake of nostalgia for our generations to come, let’s hope the show society can find a way to bring back that annual event that created so many good memories for so many Northern Tasmanians.