Olivar Healey (4) tries his luck with the laughing clowns at the Rockhampton Show.    Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Olivar Healey (4) tries his luck with the laughing clowns at the Rockhampton Show. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison ROK170616cshow2

Mystery continues to shroud Rocky Show's crowd size

A MEDIATOR may be needed to end the impasse between the Rockhampton Show Society and the Australian Showman's Guild to prevent a repeat of split shows again next year.

Showman's Guild president Luke Hennessy, who claimed almost 30,000 people attended the rival Callaghan Park event, said the two parties were still at loggerheads with no resolution in sight.

The Rockhampton Agricultural Show is still stalling on providing its official show numbers until later this week.

Mr Hennessy said he met with the Show Society last week to begin negotiations on reuniting the Rockhampton Show in 2019.

READ: Former Rocky Show organiser explains how it went wrong

Luke Hennessy from the Showman's Guild of Australasia talks about the upcoming event at Callghan Park after negotiations on space at the show grounds fell down with the Rockhapmton Agricultural Show Association.
SUCCESSFUL EVENT: Showman's Guild of Australasia president Luke Hennessy was impressed with the strong turn out of 30000 to their rival event the Rocky Super Fair. Chris Ison ROK280518cfestival2

Although they weren't able to reach agreement, he regarded it as "imperative that they found a compromise” suggesting a mediator might need to be involved.

On Saturday, Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow said the ongoing disagreement was damaging to the reputation of the city, saying she had been contacted by many people in the community who wanted a resolution.

As the Rockhampton Region Council was the lease holder for the Rockhampton Show site, Cr Strelow reserved the right to intervene to prevent a similar situation from occurring next year.

READ: Mayor insists there be no repeat of Rocky Show split in 2019

Last year, the united Rockhampton Show attracted 24,000 people through the turnstiles over three days.

However, the lure of sideshow alley's rides, showbags and dagwood dogs proved irresistible with most people choosing to attend the rival Callaghan Park event.

A spokesperson for the Rockhampton Agricultural and Citizens Show Society was unwilling to provide an official crowd figure until the end of this week.

They said providing an accurate figure was something they "didn't take lightly” and said it was a time consuming process checking the number of people passing through the various competitive sections.

NUMBERS DOWN: It was expected that official crowd attendance figures would reflect a significantly reduced turn out for the Rockhampton Agricultural Show in 2018.
SMALLER CROWD: Rockhampton Agricultural Show was quiet in 2018. Contributed

Another spokesperson justified the delay by saying they were a small group of volunteers whose priority was cleaning up the site in preparation for handing it back to the council.

Despite the lack of confirmation from the Show Society on crowd numbers, the general consensus from visitors and images taken during the event pointed to a significant reduction of attendees compared to previous years.

NUMBERS DOWN: It was expected that official crowd attendance figures would reflect a significantly reduced turn out for the Rockhampton Agricultural Show in 2018.
NUMBERS DOWN: It was expected that official crowd attendance figures would reflect a significantly reduced turn out for the Rockhampton Agricultural Show in 2018. Contributed

The Morning Bulletin understands some of the show's traders were unhappy with the poor turn-out which affected their return on fees paid to the Show Society.

Part of the dispute was over a section of the show grounds used by the Showman's Guild for years which the Show Society wanted to reclaim for a permanent wood-chopping arena.

The Guild was concerned that their usual location was the "entrance” into the rides section and without it, members would lose a lot of customers.

READ: ROCKY SHOW FEUD: Spitting chips over arena area

A map of the Rockhampton Showgrounds showing the Showman's Guild area and the Show Society's area, plus proposed changes.
AREAS OF DISAGREEMENT: A map of the Rockhampton Showgrounds showing the Showman's Guild area and the Show Society's area, plus proposed changes. Allan Reinikka