Becoming the chief announcer at a Royal Show in Australia was Angus Lane’s childhood dream.

Key points:

  • Angus Lane has been a show announcer around Australia for more than three decades
  • His last formal engagement will be at the Toowoomba Royal Show this weekend 
  • Organisers are banking on high attendance numbers after massive financial losses last year 

“I sat on Machinery Hill [in Brisbane], and my mum said to me, ‘If you could do anything at the Royal Show, what would it be?'” he said.

“I said I’d like to take that microphone.”

Fast forward to 2021, and Mr Lane’s dulcet tones have been wafting over show rings across Australia for more than three decades.

Highlights in the former city kid’s career include being the chief announcer at the Ekka from 1992–2008, making the “long list” for showjumping announcers at the Olympic Games in 2000 and announcing at 20 Perth Royal Shows. 

Last year, he was recognised as a Queensland Great for his continued passion and enthusiasm for agricultural shows.

But Mr Lane, who got his start at the tiny Jandowae Show in 1989, has chosen the Toowoomba Royal Show as his last hurrah before retirement. 

“There’s so much history here. It’s just been a joy,” he said.

“What better way to spend your life?”

After moving to regional Queensland, he fell in love with life on the land and announcing became his passion.

And it isn’t just shows that the renowned stalwart has spent his time at, also announcing at events like Beef Australia since 1991 and many equestrian events around Australia.

Man speaking into a microphone.

Angus Lane was named a ‘Queensland Great’ last year.(

ABC Rural: Arlie Felton-Taylor

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Mr Lane’s decision to step down from announcing relates partly to his wife, Vicki, being diagnosed with cancer. 

“I’d never have this success in my life [without her],” he said.

“We’ve been working as a team for all these years.”

He said going nearly 12 months without a show due to COVID-19 last year also helped him realise the time was right. 

Mr Lane said he has a protege in Jake Smith,  who will be going to Beef Australia this year, but other fantastic ring announcers he has worked with included Lyndsay Douglas at the Ekka and Tim Dreverman at the Royal Easter Show.

He said another young announcer, Justin Matthews, who was involved in the show movement’s 2017 National Rural Ambassador titles, had a strong future too.

“There’s an exciting time ahead,” he said. 

A smiling girl wearing fancy headwear holds a bay horse.

The Toowoomba Royal Show is renowned for its horse events.(

ABC Rural: Arlie Felton-Taylor

)

“Whoever follows us, I wish them well, and all I can do is hope and pray that they have a great journey just like we’ve had.”

And he has sage advice for the next person to pick up that microphone. 

“Anyone can do announcing, anyone can do results,” Mr Lane said.

“But learning to become a storyteller is so important because there are generations of people that have given their blood and their sweat and their tears to make a successful business as primary producers and exhibitors.”

High hopes after COVID

Up to 15,000 visitors per day are expected at the three-day Toowoomba Show, which began on Friday.

Last year’s event was cancelled due to COVID-19, and Royal Agricultural Society of Queensland (RASQ) CEO Damon Phillips said it was “an immense challenge” to organise this one during a pandemic.

“We didn’t make a decision that we were going ahead with the [2021] show until October, just to see how it would pan out,” he said.

Two children, a boy and a girl, sitting in a car on a colourful show ride and smiling.

Locals are making the most of the Toowoomba Royal Show, after missing out on last year’s event due to COVID-19.(

ABC Southern Queensland: Belinda Sanders

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“But we’ve got here and the weather looks great.”

Organisers are banking on high attendance numbers after massive financial losses last year and several significant donations to the RASQ, including $150,000 from the Toowoomba Regional Council in October to keep the show afloat.

Toowoomba philanthropist Clive Berghofer has also donated $2 million over five years to upgrade facilities and add several new features across the showgrounds.

There are high hopes the valuable beef industry that exists on Darling Downs in the catchment area of the show will see an expansion of the cattle section and the addition of beef carcase and tasting competitions to the schedule.

This week saw the indicative cattle price climb to never before seen levels and the region is home to Australia’s largest feedlot and some of the biggest meat processors.

The show’s cattle committee vice president Bruce McConnel said because Toowoomba, in a usual year, hosted the first Royal Show on the calendar, there was immense growth potential.

A girl in a white coat and broad-brimmed hat leads a brown cow in a show ring.

Cattle are a major focus of the show.(

ABC Rural: Arlie Felton-Taylor

)

“With the depth of industry we have here right through to processing, the feedlots, the stud stock, there’s no reason this shouldn’t be the number one beef event in Australia every year,”  he said.

Country shows around Queensland have been consistently breaking attendance records — with some attracting record entries — since returning in January. 

‘Be a storyteller’: Last hurrah for voice of ag shows Angus Lane
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