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

Praise for council's 'gutsy' move to reclaim Rocky Show

THE Showman's Guild of Australasia president has praised a "gutsy” move by Rockhampton Regional Council to reclaim control of one of the city's biggest annual events.

Luke Hennessy said he supported the decision, which he said must have been hard to make following the fiasco of a "split show” in June this year.

Mayor Margaret Strelow yesterday announced the council would fund an interim committee to run the 2019 event, with plans to again create a community-led committee by 2021 at the latest.

"I believe the Rockhampton show has dropped out of touch with the community,” Mr Hennessy said.

"I think this is what has to happen to save the event for the future.”

Friday was the deadline nominated by the Rockhampton Show Society for a resolution to their ongoing dispute with the guild.

"We've been in touch with the showman's guild, there is no agreement,” Cr Strelow said.

"It's been quite difficult to contact the show society.”

Cr Strelow said the council felt taking back control of the event was the only way forward.

The dispute stemmed from a proposal to move the wood-chopping arena at this year's Rockhampton Agriculture Show. When the two organisations couldn't reach an agreement before the June event, the guild held a second amusement-packed festival at Callaghan Park.

Cr Strelow said it was crucial both elements of the event be united at the one venue.

It's not the first time the council made a last-minute decision to fund the show for the good of the community.

The council bought the grounds in 2002, negotiating with the bank to get the mortgages released for more than $500,000.

"I'm a great believer in shows being run by the broader community but we obviously have some issues to resolve here,” Cr Strelow said.

"What matters most here is that we have everything happen on the same site.”

Although the committee is yet to be decided, Cr Strelow confirmed members would be appointed by the council and given training by the Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Shows during planning.

"We know there's going to be quite a lot we need to do to secure the goodwill and support of the many volunteers and members from the show, many of whom got burnt this year,” Cr Strelow said.

"It's really important we show good faith with that.”

The Morning Bulletin was unable to contact members of the show society for comment.