Photo shows men clearing bush land to create the Osborne Park Showgrounds. This area is now known as Robinson Reserve, named after the donor of the land.
HISTORY OF THE OSBORNE PARK AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY
The Society was formed in 1910. Its origins can be traced to a meeting held at the Osborne Park Hotel on the 19th of October 1910 to consider a project to build a hall and other matters. The meeting resolved to form a local agricultural society and within a month dairy, pig and poultry farmers, and market gardeners crowded into John Tyler's Main Street shop for the Society's first meeting.
The Society set three main goals which were to:
seek expert advice and information on agricultural matters,
work for the erection of an agricultural hall; and
conduct an annual agricultural show.
The Society, with the support of the community, constructed its public hall at 209 Main Street Osborne Park at a cost of 6,000 pounds ($12,000). It took less than 3 months to build and was opened on Wednesday 16 August 1912 and was one of the earliest public buildings in the district. It became the venue for agricultural meetings, lectures and social gatherings.
In 1911 the government transferred the future Robinson Reserve in Royal Street to the local council. Exactly one year after the opening of the hall, the Society commenced preparations for its first show. As a result of prodding from the Society, and stimulated by the amount of voluntary work by our members, working bees of up to 40 men commenced clearing the 6 hectare recreation reserve and the 120 meters of road from Main Street. The local council co-operated in bringing the ground into fit condition for the inaugural Osborne Park Agricultural Show held on Saturday 14 February 1914.
Due to the outbreak of the First World War, and problems arising from a protracted drought, the Second Agricultural Show scheduled for February 1915 was abandoned. Later in the year, after 22 men each guaranteed 5 pounds to make it a financial success, the Society resolved to stage the event in the following January. Thereafter the show went from strength to strength particularly after it was subsequently moved forward to early December when livestock and produce was less affected by summer's heat and aridity.
As an aside it was interesting to learn that as a result of the efforts of the farmers, Osborne Park producers dominated the metropolitan areas dairying and horticultural industries. By 1916 Osborne Park was the largest contributor of milk to the city in the suburban area.
The Society has staged an agricultural show every year since, except during the Second World War, when in 1944 it was not possible to conduct the event due to a shortage of able volunteers. That year a fete was held to raise funds to assist those affected by the war.
As a result of the changes in the area occurring in the late nineteen fifties and early sixties with the farmers and market gardeners moving out, due to the urbanisation of the district, there was doubt whether the show would continue.
However in an effort to retain the tradition that had been part of Osborne Park for such a long time, the Society in 1964 decided to change the show from a Saturday afternoon event only and stage its first Friday night show featuring a massive fireworks display. Since then the show has continued to go from strength to strength and is now staged on Friday night and Saturday all day and night.
To coincide with the City of Stirling's centenary celebrations, the Society staged the show on Sunday as well. Unfortunately, due to a lack of volunteers to help carry out the dismantling of the show on the Monday; it made it difficult to continue to conduct the show on a Sunday.
In 1962 it was realised that the original hall was no longer meeting the community's needs as a public facility. While it was being used for some community activities its predominant use since the late 1950's was as the Osborne Park indoor picture theater during the cold winter months. The outdoor cinema was located across the road from the hall.
It was decided to demolish the old hall and replace it with a modern facility that met the changing needs of the community. A new hall was completed and opened in May 1964. The Society also erected commercial premises to the front of the hall facing Main Street and these offset the cost of operating the hall.
In 1987 the tenant of the commercial premises, the National Bank of Australia, required additional commercial area to operate their branch. The Society agreed to increase the size of the commercial area and at the same time took the opportunity to again refurbish and modernise the hall to meet ever changing requirements. The Osborne Park Pharmacy is the current tenant.
Even though urbanisation has seen the use of the hall diminish over time, the hall is still used today for gatherings, meetings, celebrations etc. If you or your organisation wish to utilize the hall, or for that matter the buildings situated on Robinson Reserve, please feel free to drop us an enquiry.