Douglas Blow was an eight-year-old Albion Park lad when he entered his first exhibit in the local agricultural show.
It was the start of a life-long association. Doug went on to win state competitions in maize, potato and vegetable growing, as well as sowing grass and cloves.
He was awarded the Most Successful Exhibitor at the Sydney Royal Easter Show five times, a feat which has rarely been repeated.
The woman who would eventually become his wife, Daphne Mayo, shared his love of shows and became involved with Albion Park Show as an exhibitor and steward from 1966 to 1999 and later as a Pavilion Judge.
More than 20 years since the couple died, the Albion Park Show Society plans to honour their dedication by naming the Albion Park Showground Pavilion in their honour.
At the latest Shellharbour Council meeting on 24 October, councillors unanimously supported the society’s proposal to name it the Doug and Daphne Blow Pavilion.
Both Doug and Daphne exhibited in the pavilion for more than 70 years in vegetables, farm produce, pot plants, cooking, jams, jellies, preserves, flowers and floral art. Between them, they had exhibits in nearly every section.
According to a letter from the Albion Park Show Committee requesting approval for the commemorative naming, Doug was a dairy farmer who grew up in Albion Park and lived there his whole life.
He worked for Shellharbour Council for 23 years as leading hand gardener in charge of tending the council’s parks and gardens.
He was a member of the Albion Park Show Committee from 1964 to 1996, was awarded life membership in 1990 and became an honorary committeeman until his death in 2002.
Mourners at Doug’s funeral in 2002 were told that as a member of the Junior Farmers, Doug was never beaten in a ploughing match at the Junior Farmers Field Days and in later years he acted as a judge in ploughing state championships.
In the late 1930s, Doug was selected as the most outstanding Junior Farmer in NSW to represent the state on a trip to New Zealand. However, World War II broke out and he never got to take the trip, he was sent to New Guinea instead.
Daphne also grew up in Albion Park and came from a farming background. She was a member of Albion Park Red Cross, often organising and catering for farm sales, auctions and community events such as the Marshall Mount Dances.
Daphne made the bouquets for the Annual Debutante Ball from 1973 to 1982 and was a member of the Shellharbour Bicentennial Committee and the Marshall Mount Progress Association.
At their home opposite the Albion Park Showground, Doug and Daphne created a plant nursery where they grew vegetable seedlings for the community to buy for their own gardens.
Doug was also a Life Member of the Tongarra Heritage Society, and from 1988 was a tireless volunteer work on the establishment of the Tongarra Museum.
According to the Heritage Society, Doug contributed memorabilia to many exhibitions over the years, including Australia Remembers, Year of the Family, Our Sporting Heritage, and Bridging the Divide.
Both Doug and Daphne were recognised in 1997 as joint Shellharbour Citizens of the Year for assisting charities and fundraising, and in 2002 Doug received an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for “service to the community of Albion Park through support for a range of rural, youth, sporting, church and school organisations”.
They celebrated 50 years of marriage in 1994. Daphne passed away on 20 June 2000 and Doug just two years later in June 2002.
The proposal to name the showground pavilion after Doug and Daphne will be on public exhibition for submissions for 28 days. Once approved by council, the Show Society plans to install the signage in time for next year’s show.