‘Hindsight: Covid-19 cancellations have me looking back fondly at family outings’

Dec 05, 2021
Julie remembers going to the show with her family and enjoying being around the horses. Source: Getty Images

Hindsight can be a wonderful thought, but it may not be 20/20 vision. As 2021 rolled past there were more lockdowns in Australia. In fact, most of us were locked away for months. We got used to that.

Major events have been cancelled. The Royal Melbourne Agricultural Show was cancelled again, as were many local satellite shows. I pause, dwelling on hindsight, on memories for our early childhood jaunts to the Royal Melbourne Show. This was a much anticipated family event.

I remember it being an epic trip on a sunny day, with strict cautions to stay together and not get lost. This was in the good old days, when lovely weather could mean literally thousands of families, eager to see the farmer meet the ‘town’.

We always toured the dog pavilion first, hankering after a fur friend for the family. We could have been described as animal lovers from a distance. We loved the horses, especially the grand Clydesdales, symbols of a rural past. There were beautiful ponies, cute Shetlands, and glossy show horses for dressage, with their manes all plaited.

We spent some time, largely bored, gazing at farm equipment, such as water pumps and combine harvesters. Mother thought it was educational. One farm machine blended into another. My sisters and I resolved never to marry farmers (no offence), as we browsed through aromatic stalls of cows and swine doing manure. We did visit interesting displays, such as the honey stand in one pavilion.

All those classic moments were recorded in black and white photos on my parents’ simple camera. Ah, now there is hindsight for the ancient times of loading rolls of Kodak film, and getting them developed into happy snaps. This all part of our younger days.

One of the highlights of our tour of the rustic Victoria in ‘town’, was the show bags. They were known as sample bags. Some were free, made from paper. We were even thrilled by receiving sample small boxes of cereal for variety at breakfast. A favourite item was the flavoured straws to change all that full cream milk we drank.

One classic year, my parents bought each of us an Allan’s liquorice bag. My youngest sister ate the whole bag on the way home. This had a negative effect on her digestive system, and mother’s bad moods, sorting the lavatory department.

Never mind, we still have special memories of lunch with the noble Country Women’s Association ladies. It was delicious, followed by the best scones in town! For total treats, we eagerly consumed fresh spun fairy floss. Then home we went, each of us clutching a fairy doll on a stick, all in different shades of gossamer frocks.

At the time of writing, such simple fun for kids was a non-event in 2021. Not their days in the sun.

I hope vaccinated Australia can overcome, to revive all our economy and events. Sounds like a song, ‘Young Hearts’. I believe time is on the young ones’ side. I am hoping it all turns around.

Do we ever appreciate our past in our hindsight?

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