The site of the current Fairfield Showground was bequeathed in the last century to the Fairfield City Council by the Bossley Family, an area of 90 acres of the Tarburton Bossley Estate in the Polding Street-Hamilton Road region.
Planning for the Showground begun in November 1954 when an inaugural meeting was called to discuss about the project. The meeting was attended by 11 aldermen and one business man. In December of that year, a master plan was subsequently adopted by Council and the first annual Fairfield Show was held in the Showground.
According to V. Movizio’s notes ” both the Engineer’s and Health Departments of Fairfield Council were very much involved with setting up the Showground. Management Committee member and Council Inspector Mr. Bill Matheson laid out the 14 furlong trotting track with the help from staff of the New South Wales Club. In 1956, volunteers helped to erect running rails and horse stalls from recycled materials sourced from Victoria Park Racecourse. The Ledger Grandstand was erected, along with the Exhibition and Commercial Halls that were relocated from Moorfield Racecourse“.
The Showground complex was controlled by a management committee, appointed by Fairfield City Council under the Local Government Act. In addition to the 22 trotting meetings per year, the committee was also responsible for the conduct of the annual show and other functions.
The Showground became a community project with groups represented from diverse interests (such as lapidary, dairy goats, poultry, dog training, pony clubs, model steam train enthusiasts and gardening clubs) all participating in the project. Additionally, for nearly 30 years, the renowned annual Oktoberfest was celebrated at the Showground.
The Exhibition Hall and Commercial Hall were purchased from the old Moorefield Racecourse and dismantled and re-erected at Fairfield Showground in 1956 using mostly voluntary labour Parklands. In 1982, Fairfield City Council and the Fairfield and District Agricultural and Horticultural Society expanded the Showground by constructing a new grandstand and a function centre. The new Parklands Function Centre provided seating capacity for 500 people and enabled the race to be viewed by 1000 people in the grandstand. The project, at a cost of $1.4 million, was partly funded by the Racecourse Development Fund (one million dollars), Fairfield Council’s contribution of $250,000 and the A&R Society ‘s funding.
Fairfield Annual Show
The Agricultural and Horticultural Society was established in 1953 to administer show and field functions. In December 1955, the first Annual Show was held by the Fairfield A&H Society.
This is the Biz’s account of the first Annual Show : ” Fairfield Municipality’s first annual show, held at Fairfield Showground (Bossley Bush) on Friday and Saturday, December 2 and 3, exceeded all expectations. Over 2500 children and adults attended on Friday and Saturday, when the show got under way, and by 2 p.m. the programme was going smoothly, the sideshows operating in full swing, whilst the exhibits and business displays were being inspected by a steady stream of people“.
[Source: ” A journey in time: a history of St Johns Park and its people/Vicki Movizio”, p 123.]