At work at the Royal Easter Show

Square Meater.jpg

I enjoyed going to the Royal Easter Show in Sydney as a child, and, later in life, I enjoyed taking my child there, although there was some conflict between us. He wanted the showbags, and I wanted the cattle and sheep and chickens, and of course the displays of fruit and veg. So it was with great delight that I realised that this could become a lexicographical excursion. Work AND play.  The Show revealed so many new breeds of animals that it was worth the annual visit to stay abreast of what should be in the dictionary in this area of Australian life.

I went again this year and was not disappointed.  Lots of chooks, including an Australian one, the Australian Pit Game, bred by British soldiers in the early 1900s for cockfighting. It sits alongside the Old English Game, the Indian Game and the Modern Game.  There was a new dog, the Basset Fauve de Bretagne, a medium-sized hunting dog from France with a wiry coat, a pleasant disposition and an acutely sensitive sense of smell. A few turkeys, notably the Narragansett from America.

But the cattle had, disappointingly, not arrived yet. I have a soft spot for cows, maybe because I used to feed the poddy calves on my grandfather's farm. It occurred to me that I had been coming to the Show since before the internet so I had never thought of it as something that had a digital existence, but the website would probably be able to help out. And indeed it did. A few more breeds of cattle including the Square Meaters, cattle bred in Australia for Australian conditions. I can't track down the origin of the name but I am guessing from the breed blurb that it is because the cattle are squarish in shape and they were bred as 'meaters', that is, to provide premium beef to the domestic market.

So perhaps I won't have to go to the Show again to track down new words, but just to the website. I can't help thinking that is a little sad.



Sue ButlerComment