A public meeting in the Shire Hall on Wednesday 4th May 1887 saw the official formation of an Agricultural, Pastoral and Horticultural Society in Maffra. A Committee was elected and the first meeting of the Committee was held on Friday 13th May, 1887. Mr F Horstman who clearly was the driving force behind the Society’s formation was elected as the inaugural President in recognition of his efforts.
An area of 5 acres of land was given by the Shire Council and after further negotiation with the Lands Department, the area was extended to 10 acres. Preparations then began in earnest for the first show in 1888. The building committee prepared a site plan and in their December report presented a list of those structures they considered should be erected first.
“We would advise that only the show room and the ladies seats be erected at present in the way of buildings, such to be contructed of hard wood.
Other building work to be considered were:
• Sixty small Cattle Pens
• Twelve large Cattle Pens
• Twenty Sheep Pens
• Twenty Pig Pens
• A Water Closet for Gentlemen
• Stallion Yards
• A Well
• General Horse Yard
• A Place for Dogs
• A Judges Box
Eventually the first show was held on Wednesday 21st March, 1888 and was as predicted, an unqualified success. Extracts from the Maffra Specatator on Thursday 22nd March included reference to the Show Room which had been erected and “is equal to the best in the colony”. The official opening of the Show was overseen by the Premier Mr Gillies and also attended by Mr Laurens MLA, Mr McLean MLA and Mr Harris MLA.
From these beginning the Maffra Show became a major event for the district and continues to be so today. Throughout the history of the Maffra Show emphasis has been placed on agricultural content as well as appeal to the general public.
The Maffra Show is indeed indebted to many families in the district who have had and continue to have a significant contribution to the ongoing success of the Show.