First Steps – The Showground Perimeter

It’s 6:30am and I’m feeling very reluctant.

For my first walk, I selected a nearby block to circumnavigate. It’s a big(ish) block with a GIGANTIC hill on the far corner. It felt gigantic when I drove up it the other day.

Then I realised that any location evoked a rush of reluctance.

This will have to do, and it did …

The Walk

Forty minutes after setting out, I was back at the car and only a little puffed. Walkers will take about 25 to 30 minutes. I kept stopping to take photos.

This is a walk for celebrating (or confronting your attitude towards) the patina that comes with age and exposure. Aside from the modern RVs and caravans in the camping area, there’s not much that could be described as new – with the exception of some saplings along one fence.

There is something a bit rural and rustic in the air. No footpaths on either side of the road. All of which suits me.

My walk starts at the main gates on the corner of Victoria and Ward streets. The gates seem out of time with the rest of the grounds. I’ve never liked them. Adhoc signage is not helping.

Showground Entrance Gates

From here, you can choose to turn right or left. Your choice will dictate what you see because you’ll approach buildings etc from a different angle  … walkers don’t regularly turn around and look at where they’ve been. Have you ever changed direction on a routine walk, started from the other end? It can be discombobulating.

I head to the right, along Ward Street. The gradient is not too bad and gets the heart rate up quicker than the flatter stretch along Victoria. The rising sun lights up the old showground buildings with a warm glow.

Turning into Mitchell Street, I wonder if things couldn’t be a little tidier. And it’s not just the showground. I ask you … generally speaking … when storing stuff, who steps back, takes a critical look and moves things around so they’ll look neater. I argue we should. Nevertheless, there are still some interesting photos to be found.

Bob Barter Nissan Signs
Photo of white fences used as animal pens at Parkes Showground, NSW.
Photo of Cattle Shed at Parkes Showground, NSW.

Turning into Leighton Street and things did get messier. Some things kept because of potential usefulness; some perhaps because of their size. It’s the back corner, furthermost from the front gate and the action. Isn’t that where we usually keep the messy stuff!

However, these places can be a photographer’s paradise. The contrasts, contradictions, juxtapositions, the play of light and shade. My favourite photo from the walk came from Leighton Street.

Pink

Where there are limited resources, the effort must by necessity go into the highly visible areas. Back at the bottom of the hill (or rise, if I’m to be brutally honest with myself) and heading along Victoria Street, it is clean, clear, the grass is mowed and the lawn areas are being watered. It looks inviting.

(This is where my camera decided to stop functioning! No idea why, but thankfully … after much pressing of buttons back home … it clicks again.)

The last stretch along Victoria Street is shaded by a stand of tall gum trees, making for a pleasant end to a simple yet surprisingly delightful walk. I think I made the right decision on direction.

The After Effect

We all react to our surroundings, regardless of how much thought we might put into the process.

A walk around the showground finds me pondering that fine line between not discarding something that is still functional regardless of its appearance, and not hanging onto something when its functionality has started to decline. How do you decide between conserve, rehabilitate or create anew?

Just make sure we have time to document before anything is changed!


Find Out More About This Walk

Go to our Showground and Woodward Oval Loop page for details on how to find this walk

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