Voice of agricultural shows named Queensland Great
THE pavilions and arenas of showgrounds across Queensland have mostly fallen silent this year.
Normally, these areas are hives of activity - a place where primary producers meet to showcase the best our agricultural industry has to offer.
But in 2020 these cornerstones of Australian rural life were sidelined, one of the many victims of COVID-19 event restrictions across the state.
The impact is not lost on the man many regard as the voice of agricultural shows, Angus Lane.
"I was taught when you wake up of a morning you take each day as it comes," Angus said.
"I feel so sorry for the show societies and the Showman's Guild, all those wonderful people who bring all the rides to the show.
"There's only been 13 shows held this year in Queensland. There hasn't been one show held outside the Darling Downs. It's had a huge effect on the economy, and it's had a huge effect on those volunteers."
Chances are if you've been to an agricultural show across the Darling Downs and Queensland in the past three decades, you have heard Angus' voice.
Growing up in Brisbane, a desire to live on the land grew from holidays spent in the country.
"That desire always lived in my heart," Angus said.
He moved to "the bright lights of the bush" in the 1960s after purchasing his aunt and uncle's property.
In the 1980s, another passion came calling - show announcing, which began with the Jandowae Show.
"I always had a lingering (desire) to do some announcing. That dream was always there in my heart. I was very honoured," Angus said.
That dream stretched back to his childhood, sitting on Machinery Hill at the Royal Queensland Show.
As his work at rural shows across the Darling Downs grew, Angus realised he couldn't commit to both show announcing and farming.
He chose to continue his work in the announcer's box and placed his two Jandowae farms on the market.
Eventually he would be awarded the honour young Angus dreamt of - chief announcer at the Ekka.
At his height, Angus' voice could be heard at 52 events across the country each year.
"From there it just got bigger and bigger. Back in my peak I was travelling from Darwin to Perth," Angus said.
These days he has cut back and now focuses his attention on the Ekka, Toowoomba Royal Show, Royal Darwin Show and Perth Royal Show.
Today, the voice of those agricultural shows formally becomes one of Queensland's Greats.
It isn't the first award bestowed on Angus - he was named Queensland Father of the Year in 2002 and awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2013.
He dedicates his latest honour to primary producers.
"It's been my role as an announcer to promote the focus on people involved in agriculture," Angus said.
His other dedication was more personal - wife Vicki.
"I never would have had the success and been put up for awards like this without the support of my wife," he said.
"I've been blessed. It's a total team effort."
All is not lost for the show circuit in 2020, with plans to still host the Perth Royal Show in September if COVID-19 restrictions allow.
Angus will be in the announcer's box if it goes ahead.
"To be able to promote agriculture after all of those years on the land and join the two … it's just been a great journey," he said.
"You see the best of the best.
"Whether it's dairy cattle, beef cattle, the other livestock breeders. To be able to go to a royal show and bring that all together has been one of the greatest highlights of my life."
- Since the Queensland Great Awards began in 2001, 102 individuals, 16 institutions, six posthumous and one honorary recipient have been recognised as Queensland Greats.
- They are awarded on Queensland Day each year, marking the day the State of Queensland was proclaimed - June 6, 1859.
- Each Queensland Great is honoured with a commemorative plaque displayed at Roma Street Parkland in Brisbane.