A day at the Show
Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the annual Royal Melbourne Show, now in it’s 161st year. I hadn’t attended the Show in more than a decade, and much had changed at the Royal Agricultural Showgrounds in that time, following their redevelopment in 2006.
Yet aside from cosmetic changes to the venue, the event itself was much as I recall from my childhood; show bags, rides, farm animals, riding trials, handicrafts, cooking, animal shows and machinery. An all-round great day out!
Everybody has different interests at such a varied event, but for me it’s the farm animals and culinary fare that I’m most interested in. Living in the city, it is sometimes easy to forget just how enormous a bull can be, or how soft the wool on a sheep feels. So I had a wonderful time looking at the cows and sheep, poultry, llamas and so forth. Because of the “swine flu” (Influenza A H1N1) epidemic, the organisers withheld the pigs this year.
Despite that, pigs weren’t completely absent.
One highlight of this year’s show was the pig racing and diving event, otherwise known as the “flying pigs“. Several pigs were raced around a track, before they were encouraged to dive from some height into a large pool of water. The pigs seemed to love it, and so did the crowds – it was hilarious! (You can see a video here)
Another personal highlight was the display of poultry. Ever since I was a child, I have enjoyed seeing ducks and so made a special point of looking at the duck exhibit this year. There were so many breeds in this year’s show, all beautifully groomed, but photographing them was quite a challenge as many were camera-shy.
One event that aroused considerable interest was the dog judging. The effort that some people put into grooming (or should I say “decorating”) their canine friends is astounding . I tender this photograph as proof:
Aside from the animals, I was interested to see the heritage steam-powered farm equipment, much of it dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The culinary displays were also impressive, most especially the cake decorating. Unfortunately I missed the wood chop, which I was keen to watch.
After spending the day walking the grounds, looking at the animals and exhibits and dining on food mostly selected from the middle and upper sections of the food pyramid, I made my way home. But not before taking a dusk photo of the heritage-listed “Pie in the Sky”, which was restored with the show grounds in 2006. The Pie used to have a canteen below it, but now accommodates the Royal Melbourne Show information desk.