Content of this history has been extracted from “1915 to 2000 – A history of the Sunbury Agricultural Show Inc” written by Chris Wood. A copy of the book is available through the Sunbury Agricultural Society Secretary.
Sunbury has so much history. Being on the way to the gold fields in Bendigo, it began as a stopover for the people out to make their fortunes. It was endowed with good grazing land, which settlers soon took up. Horses were used extensively. Heavy horses pulled ploughs and other agricultural machinery. Blood stock horses pulled elegant carriages and gentry had fine riding horse. Even the children rode their ponies to school. It is not surprising that breeding, buying and selling of this commodity played a very important part in the lives of the people in the early 1900s. It was in this climate that the Sunbury Horse Show began and later became an Agricultural show, still held every year in October.
Melbourne auctioneers Messrs. Jennings and McInnes held a monthly horse sale in Sunbury at the Corporation sale yards for many years, until one of them had a bright idea. It was reported in the Sunbury News on 21 August, 1915. It stated, “Messrs. Jennings and McInnes, the well known auctioneers, whose interest in the advancement of the district has always been in evidence, have decided to hold a horse parade at half past ten at the sale yards on Thursday September 9th, which will be followed by a horse sale. Prizes will be awarded to certain classes and the parade will include stallions and brood mares. The yarding sale will be about 120 farm horses from two to four years old, many of which are pedigreed. The parade should attract a good deal of attention.”
In fact, it was a great success with buyers coming from all Northern parts, including the Riverina and Wimmera. And so, the Sunbury Horse Parade was born.
The second parade was held at the reserve on 31st August 1916, and although there was some controversy over the event being held on the reserve, the show went from strength to strength, eventually becoming the Sunbury Show, as it is known today with a variety of events and attractions for all the family.