Agricultural society’s first showgirl

Diane Hope-Johnstone was the inaugural Miss Wanneroo Showgirl.
Diane Hope-Johnstone was the inaugural Miss Wanneroo Showgirl.

As the inaugural winner, the then 19-year-old Diane Hosken went on to coastal zone judging and was inspired to volunteer for the society, helping with future competitions and serving as assistant secretary twice.

‘It was more about promoting the agricultural district and show than a beauty contest,’ she said of the quest, judged on personality, dress and agricultural knowledge.

‘After that first year, it developed into a bit more of an event and my mother Ailsa and Rose Marinovich looked after Miss Showgirl for Wanneroo.

‘One year I was a judge and eventually they had a flower girl as an added attraction, which my daughter Chloe was chosen for.’

Diane’s parents Russ and Ailsa were already community stalwarts having moved to a poultry farm on Gnangara Road, Wanneroo from Wickepin in the early 1960s.

‘Upon arriving in the district, the first port of call was the then Shire of Wanneroo office and Margaret Cockman,’ Diane recalled.

‘Margaret soon had mum, a trained nurse, helping with the local St John Ambulance Brigade and home nursing and Dad as a volunteer ambulance driver.

‘Then came their involvement with Buckingham House and Cockman House.

‘Dad was a member of the Rotary Club of Wanneroo and both were members and volunteers for the agricultural society and awarded life membership.

‘With both parents being involved over the years, generally each year the whole family became involved for periods of time.

‘Wanneroo Show was always a fun time, an opportunity to catch up with old and new friends.

‘Volunteering and meeting child and adult exhibitors or event participants was a way of connecting with the community and was very rewarding.’

Diane, whose working life has been in local government, recalls the early years in Wanneroo, where her poultry farmer father also drove the local school bus for the Vosnacos brothers as required.

‘When we arrived, it was bush all the way to Tuart Hill,’ she said.

‘We’d come from Wickepin, a country wheatbelt town with electricity and roads.

‘There was no electricity on Gnangara Road.

‘We used lanterns and then a generator for the poultry farm, which also provided power to the house until powerlines went in.

‘In the townsite was Tony Villanova’s Four-Square store, a post office and two schools ” that was it.

‘It was more isolated then than it had been in the country.’