For the first Wodonga Show in 1948 forty district farmers guaranteed £400 in prize money. £321 was taken at the gate, and money from entry fees totalled £50. The first Show made a profit of £50.
Mr Bertie Reuss was the chief steward of the Wodonga Show’s produce pavilion for 30 years. For many of those years produce was brought for judging on the day before the Show opened to the public. Mr Reuss learnt very quickly that possums in the nearby trees looked forward to the overnight storage of the produce and treated it as a smorgasbord, especially prepared for them. They’d get into the pavilion through the cavity between the roof and walls, feast and leave previously perfect exhibits with teeth marks and chunks out of them, plus the tracks of possum paws along the display tables. Mr Reuss used to say the possums enjoyed it all so much they almost left “thank you” notes! However, he was smarter than they. He began sprinkling the exhibits with generous shakes of cayenne pepper before he locked the pavilion after judging. Thereafter the produce was in perfect condition to be admired by the public.
From the early days of the Wodonga Show, fruit and vegetables exhibited in the produce pavilion were donated to the local hospitals. When the Wodonga Hospital was constructed a truckload of fruit and vegetables from the exhibits would be taken to the Hospital. In latter years it became impractical to do so for food orders had to be placed well ahead. So the Society began selling the produce and making a donation to the hospital of the money raised.
In 1957 the Show Society asked to use the newly built Council Chambers in Woodland Grove to conduct their meetings but Council decided to reserve the impressive rooms for purely civic purposes.
In 1962 President, Mr Hamilton–Smith asked that serious consideration be given to the forming of a Show Society’s Ladies Committee to help with social activities and help improve the Society’s finances.
Attend Wodonga Show today to show support for the splendid work done by far fewer than the 40 committeemen elected in 1951.