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Clermont Show still going strong after 148 years

Over many decades, former Belyando Shire Councillor, Bill Faint, has seen firsthand the benefits of local communities, councils and state governments working together to support community events like the Clermont Show, now in its 148th year.

A veteran of one of Queensland's more colourful political eras during the 1960s–1980s, he and fellow Shire Councillor, Rob Whelan, were instrumental in helping to establish the Clermont Showgrounds saleyard complex in 1982, which is still in use today.

'Like many others, Rob and I could see the old saleyards and showgrounds were past their use by date,' he said.

'The showgrounds were located in a flood prone area and the saleyards complex wasn't suitable because it was not high or strong enough to cater for the transition from traditional British breeds such as Shorthorn Herefords and Aberdeen Angus, to Brahman cattle.'

Mr Faint said that after a great deal of opposition from locals, the council chairman at the time, Jim Turner, arranged a meeting with Russ Hinze the then Minister for Local Government and Main Roads in the Queensland Government.

'At that meeting, Mr Hinze said he liked the proposal, gave us a generous amount of Queensland Government money and told us to build the complex as soon as possible,' he said.

'Once we got the green light, council received a great deal of help from many organisations and individuals who assisted us with the design as well as the planning of the saleyards.

'The JR Turner Saleyards were later named in Jim's honour. He made a huge contribution to the region in his time as council chairman, including the development of the town of Moranbah.'

Bill's own connection to the Clermont Show dates back to the 1930s. His father Ted, also a local councillor, donated the first steel pavilion to the Clermont Show Committee and for his many charitable acts, the EH Faint Memorial Grounds were named after him.

Bill went on to become Clermont Show Committee Chairman and he and Rob were honoured by the Isaac Regional Council in 2013, which named the RCB Whelan and WE Faint Pavilions after the long–serving local councillors.

'We were very humbled to be honoured in this way,' he said.

Fast forward to 2016 and the Clermont Show Committee, the Isaac Regional Council and the current Queensland Government continue to work together to strengthen community ties through the annual Clermont Show.

This year, the committee received $10,939 under the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning's Show Societies Grants Program.

Show secretary, Nea Hamblin, said the funding was greatly appreciated and helped to make the agricultural show a big success each year.

The Clermont Show will be held in May 2017.

Celebrations will include the tenth anniversary of the Cattlemen's Challenge where participants meet local breeders, taste grain-fed beef and vote for their favourite.

President of the Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Societies, Estelle Drynan, said she would like to thank the state government and the department for their continued support of agricultural shows throughout Queensland.

'Every agricultural show, whether large or small, certainly appreciates the government's annual grants as this enables them to use these funds to educate the younger generation and individual communities on the importance of all aspects of agriculture,' she said.

'There is no other local community event that provides so many diverse opportunities.'

Mrs Drynan said it was important to highlight and acknowledge the work of volunteers who made the agricultural shows a success year after year.

'They are extremely resilient, whether their community is suffering from drought, flood, or whatever, they all ensure that their annual event brings communities together.'

Official opening of the Clermont Show, CQ News, 13 July 2012
Recognition: Unveiling the plague at Clermont Show are Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker, Rob Whelan, Jim Turner and Bill Faint. (Photo: Paula Heelan. Originally published in CQ News, 13 July 2012.)

W.E. Faint Pavilion

R.C.B Whelan Pavilion