Showing off their talents
District Exhibits have long been icons of the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
But the intricately arranged giant mosaics can only endure as long as there is an enthusiastic army of volunteers to assemble the characteristic regional produce.
To nurture the processes involved in creating the crowd-pulling displays, the Royal Agricultural Society introduced a junior District Exhibit category with school exhibits adorning the entry foyer to the popular produce pavilion.
In the second year of competition, the students' efforts have already captured the imagination and understanding of primary production that has been the hallmark of District Exhibits for generations.
Muirfield High, representing Western Districts, took the blue ribbon this year edging out inaugural winners Woodenbong Central from the North Coast. Menai High ranked third.
Public schools from across the state were well represented among the winners in a diverse range of open and schools competition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
Ashley Banwell, a member of the Menai High junior District Exhibit team, proved she knew her produce by beating all-comers in the fruit junior judging state finals and placing third in the horticulture junior judging decider behind fellow team-member, Lachlan Hatton, who was named top judge in both horticulture and dairy goats.
Also demonstrating she had a keen eye was Yanco Agricultural High School Year 10 student, Erin Goldsworthy, who finished ahead of a strong field, including university students and industry professionals, to win the beef cattle junior judging finals.
Scone High added to its reputation with Angus cattle taking home the blue ribbon for the middleweight schools steer.
Murrumburrah High earned its ‘steak' on the roll of merit with its Victor Chang Charity Angus steer yielding the highest score in the coveted virtual taste test award.
Teacher Jan Young praised the "fantastic job" done by Murrumburrah High students, who have been entrusted with preparing the charity steer for competition and sale at the Sydney Royal over the past five years.
Exhibiting cattle to their best advantage is a keenly contested skill.
The honour for the top schools parader went to Brisbane Waters Secondary College Woy Woy campus Year 12 student, Madison Guttridge, who led a Limousin steer that was bred on the college's Umina campus.
West Wyalong High again enjoyed success with every entry from the school's Willow Glen Angora goat stud returning with at least one ribbon, including Willow Glen Consuela named best in show.
As well as cleaning up with the top three places in youth paraders, West Wyalong High team members Amy Rowatt and Allison Lee were Champion and Reserve Champion in the Angora and Mohair Fleece junior judging state finals.
Acting Director-General Pam Christie congratulated all public school and TAFE students who won ribbons at the show.
"The Sydney Royal Easter Show has a well-founded reputation for excellence and is rightly regarded as a pinnacle that brings together the best of the best," Ms Christie said.
"To win a ribbon at the Royal is a commendable feat. But every student who put their skills on the line will gain from that experience."
Photo: Students display their winning ribbon at Sydney's Royal Easter Show. Photo by Grant Hatch.