It was a time when the Miss Showgirl competition was in its infancy, far from the well known competition it is today.
Back in 1958, just a year after the competition had begun, a 20-year-old Beverley Long (nee McFarlane) was at the Yarrawonga Show when she was approached by a member of the show society and asked to enter the competition.
‘‘I can remember there were no girls available so they just asked me. They didn’t really have a competition at that time ... It was very easy back in those days,’’ Mrs Long said with a laugh.
‘‘I was just working at the local pharmacy at the time but the competition started a pretty nice few years.’’
Following her win at the Yarrawonga Show, Mrs Long headed to the Royal Melbourne Show to compete for the state title alongside other winners from across the state.
Although unsuccessful in winning the state title, the experience ultimately saw Mrs Long undertake a new journey and enter the Miss Australia Quest in 1959.
After winning the title of Miss Victoria, Mrs Long said she was greeted with plenty of fanfare on returning to Yarrawonga.
‘‘I didn’t have a car back in those days and the only way home was on the train, and they whisked me away to the main street. There were hordes of people at the town hall. It was lovely,’’ she said.
‘‘I have some very lasting memories from that.’’
After leaving Yarrawonga and spending a number of years in Melbourne, Mrs Long raised three children before returning to Yarrawonga in 1989.
Happily retired, Mrs Long and her husband Jim now live in Mulwala, where Mrs Long can be found tending to her garden or enjoying the company of her children and grandchildren.
■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