A traditional Aboriginal smoking ceremony was held at Narrabri Showground on August 12 to mark the completion of a NSW Nationals in the state government project to replace the showground caretaker’s residence.
NSW Nationals Upper House MP Sam Farraway said the project was among a range of showground improvements taking place at Narrabri and across the state under the government’s showground safety upgrade and COVID-19 stimulus programs.
“The NSW Nationals in the state government are providing $44.97 million across the state for showground projects under its safety upgrade and stimulus programs to strengthen their infrastructure and support jobs in local economies,” Mr Farraway said.
“Showgrounds are multi-use facilities at the heart of regional communities so we want to ensure they are kept safe and functional for future generations.
“As well as the new caretaker’s residence, safety upgrades at Narrabri Showground have included replacing external cladding on the harness racing stewards building, new aluminium seating, and checking and securing floodlights for the pony club.”
NSW Nationals Water, Property and Housing Minister Melinda Pavey said the COVID-19 stimulus program provided additional funding of more than $381,000 to Narrabri Showground for upgrades to the pavilion’s kitchen facilities, the arena, showers and grandstand, as well as structural repairs to walls and asbestos removal.
“Showgrounds today are multi-use facilities for a range of activities from agricultural shows, rodeos and horse clubs to farmers markets, festivals, camping, men’s sheds, and sport and cultural events,” Mrs Pavey said.
“Our showgrounds are at the heart of communities including serving as evacuation centres during bushfire and flood so we want to keep them in good shape.”
NPMI Indigenous, which managed the showground safety upgrade work, organised the traditional Aboriginal smoking ceremony with the assistance of the Narrabri Local Aboriginal Land Council to mark completion of the caretaker’s residence.
“The smoking ceremony will pay respect to the land and acknowledge ancestors while providing a spiritual cleanse to provide a safe environment for the caretaker’s house,” NPMI director James Russo said.
Narrabri Showground chairman Bill Wood said the new residence is a fantastic addition to our showground together with the other improvement works that have been done with the NSW Nationals in the state government’s support.
“It was with much sadness that our long serving caretaker Paul Douglas passed away prior to the house being completed. After 18 years of dedicated service to the grounds and user groups, Paul would have enjoyed seeing the project completed,” Mr Wood said.
“The showground is a popular local venue and base for local clubs and groups including the harness racing club, pony club, poultry club, boxing club, show society, Riding for the Disabled, and Bushman’s Carnival Association. It is also used by the Rural Fire Service for training events and as an emergency relief centre when needed.
“The Narrabri Show is the shire’s largest annual event and we’re looking forward to it being back bigger and better than ever next year with improved facilities thanks to the support of the government, our members and the local community.”