Tuesday, 9 August 2016

The Royal Queensland Show, alias The Ekka

Friday 5 August

It's many years since I have attended The Ekka. I have fond memories of being 17 and helping a family friend look after his stud Rommney Marsh sheep, that he had entered. I even made it into the Brisbane's Courier Mail.

When my friend Jocelyn commented that she had never been, it seemed an omen to make a return visit and introduce her to the excitement of this annual event.

"The Ekka began in 1876, attracting 17,000 visitors to the grounds and is now Queensland's most celebrated event with an average attendance of 400,000 visitors annually. 2016 marks the 139th show and brings with it a variety of best talent, culture, produce, fun and entertainment, over 10 days."

The Ekka has always been in August, but unfortunately it is also the month of our cold westerlie winds and many a show has been rained on badly. Flu season is also quite prevalent, with a rapid increase after the show. We chose day one for our visit, as it is known for minimal crowds. Next week the different suburban areas are granted a public holiday and the attendance numbers rise dramatically.

Our arrival at midday saw us detraining close to the beef pavilion, giving us a starting point for exploring, after our coffee and lunch.

Ekka food from the Stockman's Bar.
Hot dogs have become an Ekka Tradition since their introduction in the 1950's. I'm not sure when the German version was introduced.

I wondered why this stud had the name,' Mickey Mouse'. My googling only found a facebook page. a I think the owner is just a teenager who began breeding last year. Below is her last facebook entry.

"Had a good show at the Ekka with Mickey Mouse Lex Luther, as he got first in a difficult class of junior bulls." I wish her all the best.

A glimpse of the arena as we passed a gate, drew our attention to the judging of cattle taking place there. It was fantastic to be able get close and watch and listen to the judges comments, as he moved around the hopeful champions.

'Just a tad boring waiting to be judged'.

We were very impressed with the gear required to show a champion.

The horse pavilion was next, but a large number of stalls were still empty, as their events are after the weekend. This chap was not happy. Understandably, as he had just been transported 1700 kms by road. Many of the beef cattle would have had similar long journeys.

Beautiful animal.

This x race horse was reaching out for her 'Aldi' licorice. She won't take any other brand.

Crowds building, but it was still pleasant to stroll and explore. 

The popular and very spacious baby animal enclosure. Both big and small kids love this. [free]

What a treat to be able to hold a baby chicken. [free]

Children's cookery class. [free]

In bygone years the fruit and vegetable displays would have filled one hall. Today there were just 6 displays. 2 by growers and 4 by schools. This was such a clever exhibit, with the Olympics taking place. The buildings [back R] were made from sugar cane stalks.

School entry.
The sheep's head nodded and the puppies snuggled in.

The cookery shared part of the fruit and vegetable hall, along with photography and cake icing.

No, we haven't moved to the floral hall. This is all icing!

As is this arrangement.

The remaining photos were taken by Joc. I foolishly decided not to take my camera, opting to just use my I-phone. I couln't believe how quickly the battery ran down.

The Old Museum building was built as a show building 119 years ago, but for financial reasons was quickly sold off. This year saw it again being used to house the quilt and floral displays.

Within its wonderful garden is the 'Love Tree'. It's a lovely, large shady tree, adorned with red ribbons, hearts and fresh roses with their stems in narrow cylinders of water.

I don't think anyone goes home without indulging in the Ekka strawberry icecream extravaganza.
Sooooo delicious and where better to eat it than ............

........... on a grassy bank, watching the final judging of the Grand Champion Bull of the Ekka

Our visit to Side Show Alley was brief, to take a ride on the ferris wheel.

We just caught the final wood chopping competition of the day.

The poultry exhibits were quite extensive. Noisy but engaging.

 We were ringside about 5 pm and were well entertained by the program of events. We hadn't realised there was to be an official opening, especially one of such pomp and ceremony. It was most impressive and marvellous to watch.

His Excellency, Paul de Jersey, Govenor of Queensland, arriving in the State Rolls Royce, escorted by Queensland's Mounted Police.

The evening concluded with a spectacular fireworks display. Leaving the venue with all the crowds was not a problem.The atmospehere on the train reflected how how much we had enjoyed our day. Such a happy buzz.

Another visit on opening day next year is definitely on the cards. It is such a wonderful opportunity for town to meet country.

I would love to read your comment.


  1. This is similar to parts of our Calgary Stampede!

  2. Looks a little like a visit to our Kansas State Fair, which is coming up next month. Our daughter plans to take a day off from work to bring the two granddaughters so that maybe we can avoid the weekend crowds. It will be hot at our fair, though!

  3. How fun! Looks like the state fairs that we have here in the US. I loved the old newspaper clipping of you.

  4. Oh gosh, what an amazing day you had and all the wonderful photographic memmories you have shared. I feel as though I have just had my own private tour just a shame I couldn't taste those hotdogs (the one on the right for me) and that amazing icecream!
    Horses are such characters who ever would have thought it preferred an Aldi liquorice! They could make an advert!
    Thank you for your delightful post and have a wonderful Wednesday :)

  5. Such a fabulous Show, cute critters, wonderful floral displays and amazing quilts. I wouldn't know however what to do with cakes like those ones shown - I could never cut and eat them. :)
    What a lovely newspaper clipping!
    Thank you for sharing! xx
    PS Yes, our summer is very short and precious. :)

  6. Wonderful fun park and healthy beautiful birds and animals.

  7. Such a wonderful show and your photos are fantastic. I am always amazed at the creativity of the displays made of fruit and veg. Incredible!

  8. What an experience - and such a typically Aussie one too! Your numerous photos gave me a chance to see the diversity of what's shown at Ekka.
    I don't think we have a real equivalent in France, apart from 10-day the salon de l'agriculture in Paris where the best in crop and cattle is shown every year, but to tell you the truth I've never been there.

  9. Being a Queenslander I have fond memories of the Ekka but I guess the last time I visited that venue was in the wool Pavillon doing uni exams in the 70s. I have never quite got used to the idea of the Easter Show which is what we have in Sydney.