Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] Jimmy Sharman Article

Tari, Vince fstariv1@NMHG.com
Mon, 14 Apr 2003 21:10:17 -0500

Hi all, found this interesting article about Jimmy Sharman in today's Sydney
Morning Herald.

For those who don't know, the Royal Easter Show is an annual event that has
been held in Sydney for over 100 years. Basically, it's where the country
folk come to town show off their best fruit & veges & farm animals & receive
awards for having the best quality in each category.

There's also carnival rides, fairy floss, woodchopping, showbags....etc




Sharman the showman is an official bloody legend
By Daniel Lewis
April 15 2003
>From the red dust north of Dalmore Downs
Sharman's tents roll into town.
Twelve will face the auctioneer.
Sharman's boxers stand their ground.
Fighting in the spotlight
Eyes turn blacker than their skin
For Jimmy Sharman's boxers
It's no better if you win.
The Midnight Oil song is the only tenuous connection many at the Royal
Easter Show yesterday had with the 90-year-old proudly clutching his Show
Legend award.
But for those of a certain age who were there for Seniors Day, Jimmy Sharman
had been a show legend for decades.
Until the Government put an end to it in 1971, a visit to the Sharman boxing
tent was as much a part of the show as Dagwood Dogs, amusement rides and
district exhibits.
People would pay for the privilege of going a few sometimes bloody rounds
with Mr Sharman's troupe of talented Aboriginal boxers. Later the show
included professional wrestlers like Chief Little Wolf.
"You have got no idea how honoured I am," the old showman said yesterday.

"This award I won today, I put it down to my dad. He gave me a bloody good
business. It's as much for him as it is for me."
Jimmy Sharman snr started his famous boxing troupe in Wagga Wagga in 1911
and it toured the shows and country towns for six decades. His son was born
in Narrandera - "the best little town in the Riverina" - a short time later.
"He was the hardest working father any son ever had," Mr Sharman said. "He
was tough when he had to be. He was always a hard man with a quid ... but he
was a great father."
After a sporting career that included eight seasons playing first-grade
rugby league for Wests, Mr Sharman started working with his father full-time
in 1945 and took over the troupe after his death in 1965.
New regulations that stopped boxers fighting more than once a week, and kept
them out of the ring for a month if they were knocked out, put the troupe on
the canvas, but Mr Sharman stayed a showman, getting into dodgem cars with
his mate, Reg Grundy.
The old man still has a financial interest in some of the rides and food
outlets at the Royal Easter Show and thinks the boxing troupe could still be
making money in the bush.
"Country boys are different," Mr Sharman said. "They like a bit of a
punch-up." As for the Aborigines he employed: "It's in their blood to
Watching Mr Sharman get his award yesterday was Marina Thurgar, 65. She grew
up in the Queensland town of Nanango, not far from the Cherbourg Aboriginal
mission where many of the best Sharman boxers came from.
Mrs Thurgar's boxing father would fight whenever the Sharman caravan came to
town and the event was a social highlight.
"I couldn't get there quickly enough," Mrs Thurgar said of the tent.
"We used to sing out, 'Come on licorice!' You can't do that any more. And
then [the locals] talked about it for years and years afterwards."
It was brutal entertainment and there were plenty who did not mourn its
As Midnight Oil asked:
Why are we fighting for this?
Why are you paying for this?
You pay to see me fall like shrapnel to the floor.