Showtime heralds rain

SOMEONE must have forgotten to tell the storm clouds about the North Coast National last week because for only the third time since 1971, the show did not bring rain to Lismore during the event - but waited until the show had finished.

Former North Coast National secretary Caroline Standing said the North Coast National had been known among farmers as a drought-breaker since the first wet show in 1885.

According to the society's records and documentation in the show's Centenary book, written by former Northern Star editor Cliff Murray, the show had been so plagued by downpours throughout its history that show organisers had chosen different dates in a desperate attempt to dodge the rain, before settling on the third Wednesday in October in 1936, which historically has been just as wet.

Mrs Standing, who ended her 25-year term as secretary in 2000, recalled only two dry years - once in 1971 when Cardinal Sir Norman Gilroy opened the show; and once again in the 1990s when no rain fell until five past midnight on the Sunday morning.

In the past four decades the North Coast National has never been abandoned due to the wet weather, but severe storms and downpours have reduced some of the ringside entertainment, according to Mrs Standing.

In an ironic twist, this year's dry heat may have contributed to a dip in Saturday's crowd numbers this year.

While show secretary Janelle Hancock said organisers were pleased with the turn-out, she said families may have decided to stay home due to the heat.

“It's just the nature of an outdoor event. If it doesn't rain, it's hot,” Mrs Hancock laughed.

“We could always do with a couple more thousand people.”

On Saturday it reached a hot 35 degrees, up considerably on the 28- degree October average.

But the wet weather may just have been fashionably late, with storms and showers forecast in Lismore for the remainder of this week.

As yet there are no flood warnings reported for the Far North Coast, but a severe weather warning with flash flooding has been forecast for the Mid-North Coast near Coffs Harbour.

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