FOSTER Showgrounds’ historic Exhibit Shed has been granted $10,000 by the Victorian Government for more upgrades to the 80-or-so-year-old structure.
The grant was part of almost $300,000 shared between 46 projects proposed by registered agricultural, pastoral and horticultural societies, rural field day organisations and pony clubs across the State.
Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas officially announced the successful bids for Agriculture Victoria’s Agricultural and Pastoral Society Grants Program funding on Wednesday April 28, 2021.
Foster and District Agricultural and Pastoral Society secretary Denia Gilheany said she was “very happy to get the email telling us we had been awarded the grant.
“I contacted the other members of the Society who had helped prepare our application to tell them the good news and they were just as pleased as me!” she said.
“The grant will be used to replace the western wall of the Exhibit Shed, the one facing Station Road.”
The Agriculture Victoria grant allows the Foster Society to continue renovating and improving the timber weatherboard and corrugated iron-roofed Exhibit Shed, using materials sympathetic to the building’s age and history.
Denia said the north and south walls of the building were replaced by the South Gippsland Shire Council in 2020.
“The interior of the Shed has also been refurbished recently so the Society can keep on promoting the safe exhibition of community produce and craftsmanship,” she said.
“This inside work was done by local builder Mick Doran of Welshpool with labouring help provided by members of our committee and was paid for with some of the $90,309 Regional Agricultural Show Development grant we received from the Federal Government last year.
“Although it has been gradual, the step-by-step nature of upkeep reflects the interest held in the Exhibit Shed by multiple facets of our local community,” Denia said.
“This heritage building has been an integral part of the Foster Showgrounds and of the Foster and District Show since it was constructed in the early 1940s, and on-going maintenance is essential to ensure its continued use for years to come.
“We are thrilled to have received yet another boost towards keeping our show and the showgrounds running at their full potential for many more generations,” she said.
“We look forward to our 2022 Show when we will be able to show off this rejuvenated space.”
Agriculture Minister Thomas said, “Agricultural and Pastoral Societies play a crucial role for many regional communities, hosting events ranging from the annual shows to markets, dances, touring entertainment and more.
“These Agricultural and Pastoral Society Grants will provide an opportunity for many Victorian societies to improve their facilities, which will benefit the whole community,” she said.
“I anticipate heading along to some of the great shows our Agricultural and Pastoral Societies will be putting on this year as they bring our regional communities together and promote Victorian agriculture.”
Ms Thomas said the funding support comes after societies experienced a tough year in 2020 with shows cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Other examples of projects funded include equipment such as sanitiser stations, animal yards, fencing, shade covers and lighting or upgrades to shearing pavilions, luncheon halls, public amenities and viewing stands.
“The projects will help the societies deliver exciting events that provide a direct benefit to agricultural communities, building confidence in the sector and supporting regional economies and jobs,” she said.
“The new funding program aligns with the Government’s Agriculture Strategy by supporting Victoria’s Agricultural and Pastoral Societies to promote the industry’s commitment to quality and high performance.”