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A day at the Show

I had a great time at this year’s Royal Melbourne 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.

The Royal Melbourne Show is hosted by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria annually. The show will return from 16-26 September, 2010. More information at



2 responses to “A day at the Show”

On 27 September 2009, Andrew wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

What a nice post. I went a few years ago and happened across the pigs water diving. What a laugh. The steam powered farm equipment in operation would have been interesting to see.

On 28 September 2009, isobel wrote: Hyperlink chain icon

Your blog once again afforded much interest, and caused me to recollect times (long ago) when I visited the show. My memories make me think of crowds everywhere I wanted to see most, (cake decoration, embroidery, smocking) lucky to get a glimpse of these, and trying to get the right showbags for the family, really a test of patience!
Lots of dust about too, tired feet, what a relief to sit
at last in the grandstand and watch the sheep dogs at work! I do not remember ever seeing the ducks, only “chooks”.
I was especially drawn to the agricultural pavilion where the produce was displayed beautifully. Lovely brown eggs, ham, vegetables of great quality, and bottled fruit perfectly arranged—and sheafs of wheat.
Thanks for the memories your blog evoked, I am pleased you had such a good day,and invited us to read about it.

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