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History of Cobargo AP & H Society INC.

Shows Not Held
Cobargo Pavilion early 1890's - provided by Coabro District Museum.png

Cobargo Show Pavilion early 1890’s  
(provided by

Cobargo District Museum)

1981 Pavilion.jpg

Cobargo Show Pavilion 1981 
From Left: Cliff Salway, Jim Cole,      Charlie Ferguson, Jack Allen, Ray Sawtell & Roy Tarlinton 
(provided by Mr R Sawtell) 

On the 16th January 1886 a meeting was held at Cobargo to form the first Cobargo Agricultural Society.  Mr WD Tarlinton chaired the meeting. The site chosen for the showground is where the Showground is still situated. It is believed to be where Mr Tarlinton first camped when he came to the Cobargo area some 60 years previously.  

Over the next few years, a formal committee was elected. The land chosen was heavily timbered and uneven but within 9 months the area was cleared as needed.  Ground works included erection of a small pavilion, a showing ring, 30 cattle pens, 8 pig pens, milking yards and 2 milking bails. 

The first agricultural Show conducted by the Cobargo AP&H Society was held on 27th and 28th March 1889. The population of Cobargo at the time was only 197, including children. There were more than 1300 entries and over 1000 people from the surrounding areas attended each day. A concert and ball were held at the Cobargo School of Arts on each night of the show. The Show was a huge success and has been for the last 135 years.  

Initially the show was held on weekdays with one of the days designated a public holiday for Cobargo. Since 1953 it was held on Friday and Saturday, then in 2013 it was changed to Saturday and Sunday. Our next show in 2024 will be a three-day show. The 100th Cobargo Show was celebrated in 1996.  A souvenir Anniversary Program featuring a summary of the history of the Cobargo AP & H Society and some early show photographs was prepared by Mr Ray Sawtell. 

Many of the early Show Society members have descendants in the current committee.  Names such as Tarlinton, Salway, Cole, Sawtell and Allen are 
prominent throughout its history.

Women were given membership to the Show Society in 1914, and the first woman to be on the Show Society Committee was in 1924. Women have played integral roles since. Mrs Beryl Schaefer was the first elected lady President for the show in 1979.1916 saw the first cars appearing at the show and in 1930 an admission charge was made for them. 
Until 2019 only nine shows had been cancelled due to the impacts of drought, war, fire or flood. The 2020 Cobargo Show was cancelled due to the catastrophic impact of the Black Summer fires of 31st December 2019.  For many months the show grounds were used as a refuge and relief centre for Cobargo and surrounding districts. As the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020/21 created uncertainty and gatherings of large numbers of people were forbidden, the 2021 show was cancelled.  

As the community began its recovery, members of the Show Society used the time to plan for the future. Over the last three years significant building works and improvements to the grounds and facilities have been undertaken. New events are included in the program. 

The Pavilion area has been expanded to include an office, a modern equipped dining room and extensive veranda. The outside seating areas have been expanded, some now under cover. The cattle yards have been improved and made safer, with cooling water facilities for stock. There has been significant landscaping works to enhance movement of people and stock and to provide for camping and car parking. The showground now has internet capability and a new sound system.  All this has required considerable input from local tradespeople and Show Society members. 

he annual Cobargo Show has been a significant event in the lives of many people living in the Cobargo and surrounding areas since its inception. It presents and demonstrates the quality and expertise of our local product and skills. While some parts of the exhibition and entertainment programs have changed to reflect social change, the Cobargo Show holds on to the values of a genuine rural agricultural show. The Show Society is committed to providing a safe, meaningful. modern and fun show for public enjoyment. 

(Bev Holland, Cobargo AP&H Society, 2023) 

Pavillion 2022.jpg

Cobargo Show Pavilion 2022

Interesting Information

First Committee names in the 1889 schedule were

President: Mr WD Tarlinton, Vice President: Messes J Coman & H Street

Treasurer: Mr FG Roberts, Seretary: Mr J Horsley

Committee: Messrs W Allen, DJ Tarlinton, J Graham, WE Seccombe, RM Bate, SW Bate, T Allen, J Tarlinton, C Stewart, AG Sutherland, J Forster, DH Clark & P Engstrom.


1896 - Cancelled drought

1898 - Cancelled drought

1942 - Adandoned WWII

1943 - Adandoned WWII

1944 - Adandoned WWII

1945 - Adandoned WWII

1952 - Bushfires

1971 - Cancelled Record Floods

2002 - Cancelled Very Wet

2020 - Black Summer Bushfires

2021 - Covid19 Restrictions

Cobargo Show 1889 or 1890

Photo courtesy Shane Black

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