"Shut the gate": A social history of beef cattle exhibiting at the Mackay Show and its relationship to the region's beef industry
thesisposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Andrew MaybanksAndrew Maybanks
"Shut the Gate" was a project initiated and sponsored by the Beef Cattle sub-Committee of the Mackay and District Agricultural, Pastoral and Industrial Association Inc., in collaboration with Central Queensland University. Its goal was to research, write and publish an attractive, engaging and informative account of the history of cattle showing in Mackay, with particular emphasis on the relationship between the regional industry and the 123 year old annual Mackay Show. While the project throws considerable light on the influence that cattle showing has had on the development ofthe beef industry, and the important role it plays in generating and maintaining a positive awareness of the industry among town folk, it is essentially about people. The book celebrates the trials, tribulations and triumphs of those who breed, raise, and compete with beef cattle in the Mackay district. "Shut the Gate" was a commissioned work, with the Beef Cattle sub-Committee its primary sponsor. The essential brief was to prepare 'a readable social history' for possible publication. This in effect meant that the book needed to be written in a style accessible to its anticipated target audience, such as participants in the beef industry, rural primary producers, regular patrons of the Mackay Show, and local history enthusiasts. Its content and tone therefore, reflects this audience. It is a work ofacademic scholarship presented in the form of a textually accessible local history that is not only informative but also a pleasurable experience for the intended reader. The book is introduced by a dissertation that reflects on the research and writing process.