The Maclean Showground is a popular camping site less than 1km from the centre of town with 10 campsites. The campsites are around the main showground ring, some are along the river bank with first-rate water views.
The flat and grassy sites are facilitated with toilets but there are no showers. It isn’t clear if there is a self-contained requirement for Maclean Showground but a sign at the entrance says it is for RV Camping with a picture depicting a caravan at a dump point, so it is not suitable for camping with tents and camper trailers. Power is not generally available either.
The campground is generally closed for camping around April when the annual shows are held and can be closed for other events through the year.
Maclean Talking Trail
The Maclean Showground was part of the Maclean talking trail, the brown sign is there as part of the talking trail. Headphones were borrowed and audio played as you walked the trail. Below is what was included in the talking trail audio.
The Lower Clarence Agricultural Society was formed in November 1890 however it was not until May of 1896 that the first Maclean Show was held at the present showgrounds.
In 1890 the ground was very swampy and heavily timbered in parts, and so extensive drainage and preparation had to be carried out. The original pavilion was constructed on the lower flat, but it was dismantled and re‐built on the hill in 1899.
Controversy rocked the Maclean Show in 1910 when the refreshment provision rights were awarded to the local Baptist minister and as a result, no alcohol was served.
At the southern end to oval, an information plaque marks the location of the famous Fig tree which is part of a Yaegl creation myth. The tree was removed in 1986 due to its deteriorating condition.
As one can see, the view from the pavilion overlooking McFarlane’s bridge and the river beyond is quite magnificent.
Welcome to Yaegl Country. My name is Ron Heron. I’m a Yaegl Elder and I also lived down here at Canberra.
Many years ago, back in the dream time, there was an old lady called Durrangan. This young man and his two wives, they were looking around for some water to drink. This Durrangan she was a mean old lady. One said is there any water, Durrangan, over here on the side of the hill?
She said ‘I got no water’ but she did have water hidden in the high grass and clay.
This young man’s pet dog went round the back of the hut and he was sniffing around and he found the water in this high grass and clay. He had a good drink and he even had a swim in the water.
Later then when he caught up to his master, his master and his two wives they looked at the dog and they thought that this dog has had a swim, you know, he must have had a good drink of water.
This young man went back then, he plunged his spear into the high grass and as the water gushed out, this young man got washed by this water, see, as it gushed out. And this young man reached up and he grabbed hold of this branch of this tree. The water then kept washing him down the valley.
It washed the young man onto the Maclean showground. The young man hung onto that limb, and that limb grew into a giant tree.
The story is that the young man, his spirit is still in that tree, see, and when they chopped down that tree, his spirit moved from that tree and went into the nearest other big tree near the High School.
This is the version I was told by my mother.Ron Heron, Yaegl Elder, Maclean Talking Trail
To get there
Heading south on the Pacific Hwy, take the Yamba Rd exit for Maclean. Turn left (west along the Clarence River) and from the brown sign for Tourist Drive 22, follow Yamba Rd for 5km. Passing the pedestrian crossing at Woolitji House on the left, continue into the main shopping street in Maclean to the other end where you will reach a roundabout. From the roundabout, continue straight ahead for 850m, the entry to the showgrounds is on the right.
Heading north on the Pacific Hwy, take the Cameron St exit for Maclean. Follow Cameron St for 1.3km and turn left after the showgrounds.