The mother of Agricultural Societies, the Port Phillip Farmers’ Society was founded in 1848, consisting of the parent body (later the National Agricultural Society) and finally the Royal Agricultural Society and three branches – Mornington, Bacchus Marsh and Gisborne.
In 1856, the Mornington Farmers’ Society was formed and the Society’s first Show was held at Cranbourne in 1857. Two years later Mornington, Bacchus Marsh and Gisborne held Shows and it was during 1859 that the Whittlesea Agricultural Society had its beginnings on a site near the Whittlesea Railway Station. Here the Whittlesea Fair was held on Tuesday 3rd May, 1859. There were 40 members, who subscribed approximately 1 pound each.
Through lack of interest and support from the branches, the Port Phillip Farmers’ Society disbanded, the last Show being in 1867, and all the Show’s assets were handed over to Trustees for the new National Agricultural Society in 1870. The Mornington Farmers’ Society continued to progress. Eventually in 1918, the Society became known as the Berwick and District Agricultural and Horticultural Society.
The Whittlesea Show began as a fair in 1859 and has grown to become one of the best Shows in Victoria and is a signature event in the Whittlesea Community Calendar with large crowds flocking to the Show each year. The Whittlesea Show brings the best of country life and enables people of all ages to share and recognise the history and heritage of the Whittlesea Farming Community and the Whittlesea Agricultural Society.
From this snippet of history it can be seen that the Whittlesea Agricultural Society in its own right has the proud distinction of being one of the oldest functioning Agricultural Societies in Victoria.
It has since become one of the best Shows in Victoria. It is a signature event in the VAS Ltd and Whittlesea community calendar. It attracts over 50,000 people in a weekend.