Ekka Media Kit 2023

across 650 classes with people competing for trophies, cash prizes and medals. Visitors were treated to more than 1,000 exhibits and charged an entry fee of a half-crown, or one shilling if they waited until after the official opening. The first show depended heavily on the voluntary efforts of RNA Council members, judges and stewards as the RNA did not yet have its own staff, apart from employing nightwatchmen. Celebrating the colony’s achievements, the Intercolonial Exhibition of 1876 was praised as the most significant event in Queensland since its separation from New South Wales. Since 1876 the Ekka has continued to grow in popularity and size, remaining one of the most anticipated yearly events. It has been held annually at the Brisbane Showgrounds since its inception except for four instances – in 1919 at the height of the Spanish influenza epidemic, in 1942 during World War II when the grounds were used as a staging depot for troops and most recently in 2020 and 2021 due to the worldwide coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. STRANGE BUT TRUE n A key event at the first show in 1876 was a competition for the best sample of 5 tonne of manure, deodorised and prepared in the most economical form of use n The first ever showbag was a bag of coal n In the 1920s a flock of 90 sheep were used to maintain the lawns at the Brisbane Showgrounds n At the first show there was a competition for the fastest walking farm horse n During the Great Depression new entertainment was introduced including goat races that attracted some 100 competitors in a single show n There was no Sideshow Alley in 1876, just a lone individual known as the ‘lightning calculator,’ whose facility with numbers amazed the crowds Learn more about the Ekka’s history at the Show! Check out the Heritage Display in the Channel 7 Pavilion from 9am to 6pm each day. See trophies, vintage showbags, plus a special display celebrating 60 years of the iconic Bertie Beetle chocolate.

WHO IS BEHIND THE SHOW? Founded in 1875, the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland (RNA) is an independent, not-for-profit member based organisation that has freehold title to the iconic Brisbane Showgrounds. The organisation’s guiding mission is to celebrate and champion the essential role agriculture plays in the everyday lives of Queenslanders. Governed by 21 elected Councillors, the RNA showcases and rewards the very best of the best in agriculture through the Royal Queensland Show (Ekka) and Royal Queensland Awards (RQA) competitions. Outside of Ekka, the Brisbane Showgrounds is a venue business which hosts more than 300 events each year including exhibitions, conferences, banquets and music festivals. HOW IT STARTED The RNA has a rich history stemming back to 1875 when a group of colonists joined together to encourage the development of Queensland’s primary industries. Leading members of the colonial society formed the first RNA Council, under the presidency of Governor Sir William Cairns, with most of the 35 members pastoralists and merchants. The RNA Council immediately committed themselves to organising the very first exhibition for Brisbane - from calling for tenders for the initial building to meeting with the Premier of Queensland to establish a public holiday on opening day. The result was the Intercolonial Exhibition of 1876 - the largest event to be held in the state up to that point. The RNA, along with the exhibition, continued to expand and grow in popularity and in 1921, the association was granted the prefix ‘Royal’ under warrant from His Majesty King George V. Since then, the shortened name ‘Ekka’ has replaced ‘Exhibition’ in the Queensland vernacular. THE EARLY SHOWS On August 22, 1876, a crowd of more than 15,000 people made their way by horse, foot or carriage to experience the very first Ekka, at what is now known as the Brisbane Showgrounds. Some of today’s traditions stem back to this first exhibition. Competitions were a cornerstone of the Ekka right from the beginning with 1,700 entries

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