It was the year Darwin was officially recognised as a city, Qantas launched its first service from Sydney to San Francisco and for then 19-year-old Anne Falconer (nee Visser), it was the year a casual stroll around the 1959 Numurkah Show took an unexpected turn when she was approached by a stranger.
‘‘(They) asked would I be interested in entering the Miss Showgirl competition,’’ she said.
‘‘At the time I was absolutely amazed they asked me to enter the competition because I hadn’t planned to enter it.
‘‘Mum encouraged me and I said yes. Problem was, I wasn’t wearing a hat so we had to go home and find a hat and gloves and hurry back.’’
After a flying visit home, Mrs Falconer returned in a beautiful dress, made by her mother, with a matching hat and gloves in a flurry of excitement and ready to compete.
‘‘It all seemed very unreal, but exciting. Somehow I won and I was presented with a sash, which I still have,’’ she said.
The turn of events came as a surprise to the young woman, having just arrived in Australia from Holland six years prior she was now suddenly preparing for her first trip to Melbourne to compete in the statewide Miss Showgirl competition.
‘‘Having never been outside of Numurkah much I was sort of very taken aback and overwhelmed by the whole thing but it was very exciting,’’ she said.
With her mother by her side Mrs Falconer travelled to the Royal Melbourne Show, full of nerves and excitement.
‘‘I wore the same dress and hat but alas, that was all she wrote,’’ she laughed.
Although not successful at the state level, she looks back fondly at her showgirl days — an exciting opportunity that started with a simple afternoon walk.
Now 78 years old, Mrs Falconer is married with three children and still resides in her beloved Numurkah, the town she has called home since her arrival in Australia, attending the local school and working in the local ANZ Bank as a young woman.
When asked to sum up her Miss Showgirl experience, Mrs Falconer had one word — overwhelmed.
‘‘Overwhelmed was the whole thing, especially in Melbourne,’’ she said.
‘‘It was an adventure.’’
■The RASV is looking for former Miss Showgirls to celebrate the competition’s 60th anniversary. Contact Annette Shiell by email at email@example.com or by phone on 9281 7427.
■To share your showgirl story with Country News, phone Alana Christensen on 58203237 or email firstname.lastname@example.org