Catherine Richardson – The continuing legacy of the 1991 Bulahdelah Showgirl

Catherine Richardson.

THE Bulahdelah Show is fast approaching (18 – 19 November), and this year the Catherine Richardson Award will be re-introduced as part of the Young Women Of The Year Competition.

Catherine was the eldest daughter of Ken and Pam Richardson, and was raised in Bulahdelah with her two older brothers and younger sister.

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Spending her primary school years at St Josephs, Catherine attended Bulahdelah Central School until year eight before travelling to St Clares High School, Chatham through to the HSC.

At almost fourteen, Catherine started working on Saturdays and during the holidays in the local pharmacy with Chris and Allan Lyons.

When she finished her schooling she was employed full time.

Pam Richardson told News Of The Area, “Catherine was a friend to all, loved by the locals at the chemist for her genuine one-on-one interaction with the customers; carrying their items to their cars, taking medication deliveries to the homes of some handicapped people on her way home from work.”

She is remembered as having a friendly, welcoming smile for people from all walks of life.

Catherine loved children, and her mother believes that it was her caring way with people, from the well to do to the less fortunate, that made Catherine stand out from the crowd.

A capable rider, Catherine was also a member of the Bulahdelah Pony Club.

Catherine always took pride in her appearance, and in 1991 entered the Bulahdelah Showgirl competition.

After Catherine was announced as the winner at the Show Ball, she enjoyed the responsibilities of being Showgirl, including sashing the livestock at the show.

Her various duties continued until 1992 when the privilege was handed over to the new winner.

The Lions Club approached Catherine to be a role model, however tragically she did not get to take on that offer.

“On Good Friday 1993, after midday, Catherine fell from her horse Eclipse and struck her head on a large stone,” Pam said.

“On Saturday we lost her.”

When she fell, Catherine had a group of kids waiting for rides on the beautiful Eclipse.

“The shock at the most sudden loss of life was enormous,” Pam said.

“The town was in mourning until well after her funeral.

“1700 to 1800 attended the church and cemetery; this was an estimated count by the funeral directors.

“They were amazed, we were not.

“Peter Irvine and a group of people young and old made a cross and took it up to the top of the Alum Mountain, along with a generator, and turned it on each Easter as a memorial to Catherine.

“As time moved on other people continued this practice, but unfortunately during the discussions regarding the Bulahdelah Highway Bypass the cross was destroyed.

“This Easter, Catherine’s brother Ken made another and it is glowing at night.”

The Great Lakes Tourist Board in 1993 approached the Bulahdelah Show Association to have an additional Showgirl competition in the form of a perpetual trophy in memory of Catherine Richardson.

The Association agreed and Catherine will continue to be remembered and honoured in her local community each year as long as there is a Showgirl.


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