When the centenary celebrations at the Benalla Agriculture Show rolled around in November 1978, then 17-year-old bank clerk Carol McFadzean (nee Wright) found herself becoming a little part of history at the show.
The then Young Farmers Group member from Goorambat entered the Miss Showgirl competition along with many of her peers for a bit of fun on the spring day.
‘‘It was very daunting because it was a very large show that year because of the centenary. I was 17 years old and very nervous because I’d never done anything like that,’’ Mrs McFadzean said.
At the competition, the young women underwent an interviewing process and were judged on their style, personality and deportment.
Mrs McFadzean was announced the winner, and as part of the centenary celebrations was driven through the centre of town in a parade alongside the runner-up and the victorious Miss Junior Showgirl.
Mrs McFadzean travelled to Shepparton along with the region’s other agricultural show winners to compete for the title of Miss Goulburn Valley, which would allow the winner the opportunity to compete for the state title.
Mrs McFadzean was unable to secure the Miss Goulburn Valley title, but still secured a trip to the state competition.
‘‘We all got an invite to the Melbourne Show presentation where the winners went so we were able to spend the day there and go to the evening functions,’’ she said.
‘‘It was very different. It was a lovely time just meeting people from other areas and to dress up and be a part of it.’’
Since competing at the shows Mrs McFadzean has remained closely tied to the region, having worked at the Benalla hospital and in the dairy industry in Undera.
‘‘I became really involved with the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria and received a leadership grant through the state government to undertake the Fairley Leadership Program in 1998,’’ she said.
Having travelled to New Zealand as part of a UDV dairy tour, Mrs McFadzean is now happily married with three children and working in Murchison, yet she still looks back fondly on her time as Miss Showgirl.
‘‘It was a nice memory to cherish. It was lovely to be part of the centenary show and represent the show in the regional competition,’’ she said.
■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 5820 3237 or email firstname.lastname@example.org