GENERATIONS: Former Grafton showgirls Danielle Bower, Kathryn Stewart and Melanie Austin, with Melanie’s daughter Matilda, preparing for the 50 year anniversary of the showgirl contest.
GENERATIONS: Former Grafton showgirls Danielle Bower, Kathryn Stewart and Melanie Austin, with Melanie’s daughter Matilda, preparing for the 50 year anniversary of the showgirl contest. Jarrard Potter

Once a showgirl, always a showgirl

ONCE a showgirl, always a showgirl, according to Grafton Showgirl coordinator and 1975 showgirl winner Kathryn Stewart.

<< Grafton Showgirls Honour Roll - 1962 to 2015 >>

This bond of shared experiences will be celebrated with a reunion of past showgirl winners to mark the 50th year of the competition at the 150th Grafton Show.

"Even though all of the winners have come from different walks of life, we can all pick up where we left off, so it'll be great to see everyone again," Mrs Stewart said.

"I'm looking forward to the reunion, and to celebrate the 50 years of the showgirl is very exciting, it should be quite nice."

This year, three entrants in the Grafton Showgirl competition have mothers who were past winners, which is a trend started by Mrs Stewart, when her eldest daughter Deanna won in 2003, followed by Melanie in 2006.

"I was the first to have that honour, having two generations of showgirl winners," Mrs Stewart said.

"I was lucky that my girls wanted to be a part of the competition, and I hope I've started a tradition now for the younger ones, which I'm very proud of."

<< Got any Grafton Show memories to share? The DEX is publishing a special feature on Friday, April 15 >>

While a lot has changed over the 50 years of the competition, Mrs Stewart said some things never change.

"The showgirls have always been good ambassadors for their show society and the whole Clarence Valley," she said.

"The showgirl winners get to go on to represent the show society at zone, where they're up against 15 girls from Gloucester to the Queensland border, and if they're lucky enough to get chosen they get to go to Sydney, which is a real eye-opener for the girls.

"The experience of being a showgirl never leaves you. I remember I was very surprised when I won and I was very thrilled and proud, and I endeavoured then to go on and do myself and my family proud."

Mrs Stewart said she hopes the whole community comes out to support the show in its 150th year.

"I just want everyone to come and bring their children and share the experience that we had as children growing up," she said.

"It was a big thing to go to the show, and it's something that's been handed down to us so I hope everyone comes out and supports it."

<< Got any Grafton Show memories to share? The DEX is publishing a special feature on Friday, April 15 >>



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