The shows must go on, says stalwart
By RACHEL AFFLICK
IT WOULD break Helen Trustum's heart to see the Lismore Showground go under.
The 60-year-old grandmother of two has worked in shows for 35 years, but concedes the way of life she experienced as a girl is under threat.
"It's so sad, beyond belief, to think that the show could end," she said.
Working first with horses, then moving into cattle, Helen has won a stack of awards on the show circuit, including the Brisbane Royal Show's Champion of Champions with a 14-month-old Charolais bull.
But the show has meant so much more to Helen than the competition.
She recalls the way it made her feel as a young woman.
"Going to the show was the big event of the year," she said.
"It was a chance to get dressed up and everyone looked forward to it."
Helen has used her rich knowledge of shows, and the people behind them, to compile a book.
Taking three years to write, It's Showtime encompasses over 100 years of local shows from Grafton to Murwillumbah.
"I learnt about the pioneers and what they put into the showgrounds," Helen said.
"They worked so intensely hard to get the grounds suitable, but now what the pioneers put in the new generation is losing".
Despite the decline in show culture, culminating in the Lismore Showground's recent financial woes, Helen remains hopeful the joy of shows will be rediscovered.
"The show is about meeting people you don't see at any other time," she said. "It's about families enjoying themselves.
"It's so lovely to see mums and dads and children together."
Helen's family has been involved in shows since the 1920s, so she hopes her grandchildren carry on the flame.
"What a lot they'll miss out on if the shows fold," she said.