Ex Terra Vigemus - From the earth we grow
The Walkerville Agricultural Society was established in 1949. We are the custodians of the Walkerville Showground - also known as the Community Center. Our main purpose is to act as the custodians of the property, and to function in such a manner that benefits the greater Walkerville area. We are also the home grounds for many sub-associations e.g. the Tripoli Moth Shell Hole. Walkerville Speedway Riders Club, Walkerville Karate DoJo and the Walkerville Pony Club. Any group or club that provides a service or membership which is free of charge has the free use of the grounds, e.g. choir practices, literary classes. Any group or club that charges a membership fee for their services pays a nominal rental to the Society, e.g. Weigh-less or dancing classes. We are also the editors and custodians of this website.
The Community Centre is made up of:
• A large hall which is used for indoor sports and public meetings, and also hired out for weddings and parties.
• A pleasant pub and dining area, open 6 days a week (Tuesday to Sunday), where locals gather to exchange the latest news and catch a breather after a hectic day working in the city, or not so hectic day working on their plots.
• Several smaller clubhouses used by the various Sub-Associations that occupy the grounds.
• A large arena, suitable for dirt track racing, stabling, sheds, large paddocks, fields and a 4 x 4 track.
For further information on the Agricultural Society contact: Info
Chairman – Phil Gomes
Vice Chairman – Richard zu Bentheim
Treasurer – Pat Pettit 082 578 5941
Secretary – Alexandra Klein
Function Coordinator - Elaine Potgieter 082 573 2780
History of the Walkerville Agricultural Society (affectionately known as "The Agsoc")
As early as 1948, a group of residents in Homestead Apple orchards felt the need for an Agricultural Show in this area, and, being the self-sufficient country folk they were in those days, they decided to get on with it themselves. The first Show held in 1949 was such a success that it was repeated in 1950 and became an annual event after that, attracting entries from as far afield as Natal, the OFS and even the Cape. Also in 1948, two of the founder members, Bill and Ailie Hill, moved into their house in Apple Orchards. Bill would eventually serve as the Auditor of the Society and remain involved in all aspects of the society and the Tripoli Moths Shellhole until his tragic death in a motor car accident in April 1992 just before his 80th birthday. Ailie Hill remained an active member of the community for several years after Bill's death before emigrating to Australia to be with her children.
Being sociable folk, the people began to feel that a session once a year was not enough and they dreamed up various other excuses for getting together. Soon it seemed that some sort of order was necessary and, in June 1954, a gathering of all interested parties was called. After some debate it was agreed to form an organisation to be known as the "Homestead Apple Orchards and District Agricultural Society". You'll notice from the word district that they wanted everyone to join and have a ball. And, have a ball they did! Virtually all the residents of the area became members and there was great difficulty accommodating them all in the marquees, erected in case of the odd shower of rain.
The Society was able to hold its functions on the property of one of its old established families, and over the years, built up a reasonably healthy bank balance. During the 1960's, it was decided to look around the district for a property with the idea of building permanent show facilities and a main hall, which would save the hassles of erecting huge marquees. The most suitable area found was the present site, just off the Vereeniging road, along the road to Kliprivier. Portion 104 of the farm Hartzenbergfontein, measuring 13.2456 Morgan was purchased from Mrs. Christian Korthols for the sum of R3,000.
The members offered loans to enable the Society to pay cash, reducing the purchase price, and after negotiation, the proud members took ownership of their own grounds in 1964. Plans for the main hall were passed and work commenced. The name was changed to the Apple Orchards Walkerville Agricultural Society, in deference to their new residence.
The Walkerville Show
The first ever Walkerville show was held on the corner of 2nd and 7th roads in Homestead Apple Orchards in 1948, and was organised by Mrs. Cronje, Mrs. Copeland and the Knox family.
By 1973 the Society was ready to hold their 25th Southern Transvaal Show, at the new "Southern Transvaal Show-grounds" off the main Johannesburg – Vereeniging Main Road. At that time Mrs. Muriel Arthur Walker was the Honorary Life President and Mrs. Copeland was still involved as an active committee member. The Show President was a Mr. G Keartland, better known by his nickname 'Buller'.
In February 1998, The Agricultural Society held the 50th and ‘final’ Walkerville Show. The Golden Jubilee Show was indeed bigger and better. More visitors, stand-holders and entertainers packed the halls and marquees than ever before. The Show had been the biggest annual event in Walkerville and had grown from barely a farmer's market to a three day and night event attended by thousands of visitors.
The committee knew it was time to bow out on a high note. Agricultural shows all over the country have faced the same decision as the areas in which they are become less agricultural, and many residents do not even keep livestock. "It would have been too painful to see the Show die a slow and painful death, becoming more of a flea market than a proper Show. Rather go out flags waving proudly, in full sail, and be missed, than slowly waste away to nothing" was the Show Chairman's comment at the time.
In 2013 with the assistance of the Walkerville Chamber of Commerce the Agricultural Show was revived and was a great success. With a new format the show managed to combine the much loved livestock and homecraft exhibitions with a popular beer garden and modern entertainments. Young and old were once again enthralled by what Walkerville had to offer.
Today the Show-grounds continue to function as a community centre, and home grounds for several other clubs and societies. The Agricultural Society continues to manage the grounds, hall and pub as well as be involved in several other community endeavours in Walkerville. The Committee of volunteers that first gave of their time freely and enthusiastically will be proud to know that the committee of the 21st century has followed in their footsteps – giving their time freely and enthusiastically to retain and improve one of Walkerville's most valuable assets.
This delightful series of cartoon drawings were literally drawn on the backs of cigarette boxes and scraps of paper at the Deep South Pub, the official pub of the Walkerville Agricultural Society, by a certain 'Bob' (surname unknown), whom we suspect might be the same Bob referred to in "tales of old Walkerville". Local residents will surely recognise some of the characters as the resemblance is really remarkable. At the time the cartoons were considered rather risque for a publication as conservative as the "Show Brochure", but the Committee decided "print and be damned". The originals were framed and still hang in the Deep South pub till this day.