When she returned home from teachers’ college in Bendigo for the weekend, 18-year-old Kay Wearne (nee Yeaman) expected a quiet weekend spent with her family, yet found herself caught off-guard.
Unbeknownst to Mrs Wearne, her uncle had entered her to compete in the Miss Showgirl competition at the Echuca show that very weekend.
‘‘I had no choice! I had to get together an outfit, just something to wear, I had to have a hat and gloves so it was a rush into town on the Saturday morning of the show,’’ she said.
Come the next morning the weather was less than agreeable with the grounds soaked from a downpour the night before, resulting in a sea of mud.
‘‘I thought, ‘This is just absolutely ridiculous!’,’’ Mrs Wearne said with a laugh.
‘‘I don’t think I had time to be nervous because I had to run about and find out where I was meant to be. I was most surprised when I was actually announced as the winner.’’
Luckily for Mrs Wearne, when it came time to attend the Royal Melbourne Show for the state competition in September, she was not alone.
‘‘I actually knew the girl that won Miss Deniliquin that year,’’ she said.
‘‘So Fran and my family all piled into the caravan and came down to watch the show. We used to go down each year and watch the showgirls for the day but I was very grateful to have Fran.
‘‘It was all a bit of fun.’’
Mrs Wearne reached the finals, however was unable to replicate the success she’d achieved at the Echuca Show the previous November — but regardless is thankful for the experience.
‘‘Looking back, it was an exciting year and if it was not for my uncle it may never have happened,’’ she said.
Now married and with two children, Mrs Wearne still calls Echuca home and remembers fondly her experiences at the region’s agricultural shows each year.
■The RASV is looking for former Miss Showgirls to celebrate the competition’s 60th anniversary. Contact Annette Shiell by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 9281 7427.
■To share your showgirl story with Country News, phone Alana Christensen on 5820 3237 or email email@example.com