Castle Hill Show to cease operation after 130 years

11-07-2018 by admin

Ceased: Castle Hill District and Agricultural Society president Peter Gooch said it was with regret that the society and show would cease operation from June 30, 2016. Picture: Helen NezdropaTheCastle Hill andHills District Agricultural Society has announced it will cease operation from next month, citing a lack of funds.

In making the decision last Monday, the society committee said the Castle Hill Show would be discontinued after 130 years.

It comes nearly two years after the show was impacted by construction on theSydney Metro Northwest railway station atShowground.

Due to the construction, the horse and pony sections of the show had to be staged a month before the annual eventin 2015 and 2016.

As a result, the show’s rental income and spectator revenue have been significantly lower, forcing their decision to disband the voluntary group.

“We’ve been having trouble ever since the announcement for the railway –patronage hasn’t been as good,” society president Peter Gooch said.

“It’s very hard for a voluntary committee to keep that commitment going –there’s a huge amount of preparation and there’s a lot of things we take responsibility for.

“We’re also the only community event to have to pay for police presence in the Hills District.”

Mr Gooch said they would make an official statement in the coming days.

The Castle Hill Show has historically been a launch-pad for those in the agricultural industry looking to progress to the Easter Show.

In 2014, Equestrian NSW awarded the society theAgricultural Show Award for Showjumping.

“It’s a huge tradition and I do feel sorry for the local kids who usually take part,” Mr Gooch said, naming Oakhill College, Cherrybrook Technical High School and Galston High School as stand-out performers in past years.

“So many of them have benefited from our show. Education was one of the reasons to keep going,” he said.

“Wetried to hang on until 2019 when the railway would be finished, but if the money’s not there we need to be honest with our members.”

Earlier this month The Hills mayor Michelle Byrne said masterplanning for Castle Hill Showground was yet to begin. Some ideas for the precinct include a water park, barbecue facilities and a skate park.

A spokesman for The Hills Council said discussions had been ongoing with the society since 2007 about“the need for the Castle Hill Show to be modernised, given the changing demographics of The Hills and the major works associated with the Sydney Metro Northwest.”

Mr Gooch said he was disappointed not to receive more support fromThe Hills Council.

“The Hills councillors don’t want to get involved,” he said.

“With council taking over therunning of the buildings and rent, we really can’t go on any longer.”

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