The RASV has mirrored the progress and development of Victoria from the early days of settlement to the present time. In times of adversity: droughts, floods, depressions and wars, the RASV has drawn extra strength and support for its activities from all sections of the community, and especially from the rural industries.
Throughout the years many competitions of skill have been associated with the Royal Melbourne Show: equestrian events, shearing, rough riding, sheaf tossing and wood chopping. Sheaf tossing declined with the advent of the hay baler, but wood chopping still continues as a main Show attraction. Stock judging is, of course, the basis of a successful agricultural show.
The amusements and sideshows are part of this history: the “showmen” area a vital part of the Show and have been ever since the first ploughing match in 1848. Their role, like that of the Society, has changed considerably over the years. The advent of television in 1956 undoubtedly was the main reason for the decline in “tent shows”, and the last appearance of these was in 1971 when the Jimmy Sharman boxing troupe closed up after the Show of that year. From that time on the “showies” have concentrated on rides and games.