Step back in time and meet Miss Show Girl. Featuring photographs, film, prizes, sashes and outfits from the quest, Miss Show Girl (1957 – 1996) highlights the history and behind the scenes stories of this quest.
The Young Bull and Herdsman sculpture that greets visitors to the RASV was first exhibited at the Royal Academy, London in 1887 and a year later was shown and sold at the 1888 Centennial Exhibition in Melbourne.
For many visitors, sparkly dolls on sticks are synonymous with a visit to the Show. The Stott family have been making and selling cupie dolls at the Show for over 70 years and have a loyal fan base.
Showbags are an Australian phenomenon with no overseas counterpart. A firm favourite on the local scene, showbags have established a place for themselves in the collective history of generations of Australians.
Did you know today’s Art, Craft & Cookery competition originates from another called ‘Women’s Industries’? When it was introduced to the Show in 1911, had just 172 entries. In 1916, Women’s Industries introduced the Red Cross Division competition within the traditional needlework and cookery competition of the Royal Melbourne Show. Following the guidelines stipulated, women competed by creating items from the Red Cross Booklet. Flick through the RASV Heritage resource below to find out more.
The Minister for Defence formally requisitioned the Showgrounds for the war effort on 22 July 1915 and the RASV Council announced that the Royal Melbourne Show would be abandoned for the year.
A short film celebrating the history of the Miss Showgirl competition at the Royal Melbourne Show
A short film highlighting the showing of Dairy and Beef Cattle at the Royal Melbourne Show.
A short film of sheep breeders, exhibitors and judges at the Royal Melbourne Show
RASV Heritage launched an oral history project in 2011 to collect, record and document the experiences of individuals who have been involved in the RASV in various ways. An overview of each of our oral histories is provided here.
Cattle exhibitor and judge - Lindsay Anderson is one of seven generations of the Anderson family that has been connected with the Royal Melbourne Show for over a century.
Art, Craft & Cookery steward - Jan Baker got involved with the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) and the Royal Melbourne Show through her parents.
Show Announcer - Having called 43 Royal Melbourne Shows, announcer Graeme Barker is known as the ‘Voice of the Show’.
Sheep breeder & councillor - Robert Beggs grew up in a farming family outside of Ballarat. He knew that his life would involve working in agriculture, as had his father’s and his father’s before him.
Dog exhibitor, judge and councillor - Robert (Bob) Bell, grew up in the city but has been a very familiar face around the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV). In the 1950s, when he was just a teenager, Bob started showing his pet dog.
Winemaker - Wolfgang Franz Otto Blass arrived in Australia in 1961. Born in Germany, Wolfgang started working in the wine industry at a young age.
Miss Showgirl organiser - Norma Buckland was a somewhat reluctant contributor to the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) at first.
Councillor, committee member and exhibitor - Ian Bucknall is a fifth-generation sheep farmer. He has a long family history of farming in Victoria and sheep have always been a part of that history.
Betty Burgess and Kay Kyle are both dedicated members of the Country Women’s Association (CWA). Combined, they have spent over half a century volunteering at the Royal Melbourne Show in the CWA Cafeteria.
Councillor, RASV Vice President - Michael Burston was born in Melbourne but lived on a farm at Mulwala in New South Wales until being sent to boarding school aged five.
Showbag developers - Tommy Carter and Dawn Rae began working together at the Royal Melbourne Show in the 1960s.
Wine judge - Bill Chambers has been a familiar face at the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards for many years. Born in Rutherglen in 1933, Bill became the fifth generation winemaker in his family.
Bill and Edna Chandler first met at the Royal Melbourne Show, where they were both exhibiting Clydesdale horses. Edna grew up on a small farm, where her father bred and later showed Clydesdales. Bill initially came to the Show to work as a farrier for another exhibitor.
There are not many people who can claim to have grown up at the Royal Melbourne Show, but Marjorie Chant is one of those lucky few. She has spent each year of her life at the Show, and continues to love every minute of it.
Harley Clappison was Director of the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) from 1971 until 1980.
Garryowen competitor & steward - Mary de Crespigny (nee Bartram) grew up with a long family connection to the Royal Melbourne Show.
Woodchop stewards and committee members - For nearly fifty years, Neil and Joan Edwards were a familiar team in the woodchop competition at the Royal Melbourne Show.
CWA President - Valerie Fisher grew up in Melbourne and had never heard of the Country Women’s Association when she moved to Barnawartha as a young woman.
RASV President - John Fox AM grew up on a farm in New South Wales. He attended agricultural college and learned wool classification before moving to Victoria to join a wool broking firm in Geelong.
Sponsor, supporter and exhibitor - Diana Gibson has a long family connection to the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria.
Lawrie Griffiths grew up in Ascot Vale, delivering milk from his family dairy and sneaking into the showgrounds with any chance he got.
Sheep exhibitor & judge - Ivan Clifford Heazlewood came from generations of sheep farmers in Tasmania. Growing up, he knew being on the farm was all he wanted to do.
Fireworks Designer - Sydney Howard’s family have been in the pyrotechnics business since 1920 and he was only 11 when he supervised his very first fireworks display.
Husband and wife team Kevin and Lucy Hyde have worked at the Royal Melbourne Show for over thirty years. Kevin first started working as a bar steward for the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV).
Garryowen winner - Vicky Lawrie has wanted to be a competitive horse rider her entire life. From the age of four she was riding horses on her family’s rural property in Queensland.
Peter Leaver began working as a professional photographer for the Royal Melbourne Show and the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) in the 1970s.
Cattle exhibitor and judge - Brian Leslie grew up in a family with a long history of dairy and cattle farming. He first went to the Show as a small boy and loved it.
Clydesdale exhibitor - Bill Mahncke has a history of over six decades of showing at and attending the Royal Melbourne Show.
Adnan Mansour came to the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) from the world of business, rather than agriculture. In many ways, it was a steep learning curve for Adnan, but one he relished.
Horse Demonstrator - Owen ‘Doc’ Matthews’ dressage displays set to music captured the imagination of thousands of Royal Melbourne Show visitors in the decade between 1965 and 1975.
RASV staff member - Carol Mazurek grew up in Melbourne and had almost no connections to rural life in Victoria.
Garryowen winner - Since she was a young girl, Kath Metherall loved animals, especially horses. She remembers feeding the horses of the baker and the butcher as they came around with their deliveries when she was just two years old.
Megg Miller has had a connection to the Royal Melbourne Show as a competitor, judge and committee member for over 31 years. She first became interested in showing poultry after a visit to the Show as a child.
Richard Miller was destined to be a showman. Born in Toowoomba in 1946, Richard joined the fourth generation of Miller family show people.
John Moore first learned about the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) as a young man through his connection with Victorian Young Farmers (VYF).
Tim Morgan grew up in south Gippsland in a family that was involved with the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) and had a love of rural and farm life.
RASV staff member - Elma Murphy has been involved with the Royal Melbourne Show almost her entire life. She grew up on a sheep and cattle farm, and attended the Show every year with her parents.
Melissa Neal was born at Box Hill in suburban Melbourne in 1984, and grew up in Lilydale in the Yarra Valley.
RASV CEO - When Brian Parry joined the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) in 1981, he came from a management background, not one of agriculture.
Glen Pate has a long family history connected to the Royal Melbourne Show. His great-grandfather, Willie Matheson, began breeding and importing Clydesdales to Australia in the early 1900s. Willie’s daughter, Alma Pate, became a Clydesdale breeder and a prolific exhibitor at the Show.
Farm Management judge - Banjo Patterson first came in contact with the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) and the Royal Melbourne Show as an adult, through his career with the Victorian Department of Agriculture.
RASV CEO - In 1994, Peter Payne was approached by a recruiter searching for a new CEO for the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV).
Poultry exhibitor and committee member - Neil Penny fell in love with chickens when he was just a young boy. At 12 years old Neil saved up money earned from his paper round and went to the Royal Melbourne Show with the intention of buying some chickens.
Joy Potter grew up in the city and was introduced to farming life by her first husband. They made a home together at Barwidgee in Caramut, south-west Victoria. As well as learning the ropes from her new in-laws, Joy was introduced to the Royal Melbourne Show.
Ringmaster & councillor - Jack Rae was born into agricultural life. He lived his whole life on the same property. His family lived in Narre Warren North for generations and ran a dairy farm.
Cattle exhibitor and Handler's Camp volunteer - It could be argued that Gina Ryan wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV).
RASV President - Jack Seymour’s involvement with the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) and the Royal Melbourne Show stemmed from his professional background in banking.
Poultry exhibitor - Don Simpson grew up in Glen Huntly and first attended the Royal Melbourne Show as a ten-year-old, in 1933.
Art, Craft & Cookery steward - Despite growing up in the Melbourne suburb of Balwyn, Shirley Sleigh had a family connection with agriculture via her father who worked as a wool broker.
Councillor, judge and exhibitor - Bruce Starritt has a long connection with the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), being the third generation in his family to be involved in breeding and showing animals at the Royal Melbourne Show.
Cupie dolls are one of the most iconic symbols of the Royal Melbourne Show and the Stott family have been involved in their making for generations.
Councillor, judge and steward - Keith Urquhart can’t remember exactly how old he was when he started going to the Royal Melbourne Show but knows he was ‘pretty young’.
Frank Johnson was a highly esteemed photographer who spent many years photographing the Royal Melbourne Show for the publication Stock & Land, starting from the late 1940s. During Show week, it became an occupation that involved Frank’s whole family, including his children, Frances and Cass.
Winemaker and Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy - Allan Watson became involved with the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) through his father, the famous Jimmy Watson.
Veterinarian - Hugh John Wirth, loved animals from a young age, so it was no surprise that he chose a career in veterinary science. Hugh loved visiting the Royal Melbourne Show as a child.
Constructed in 1977, the Pie in the Sky is all that remains today of what was at the time a new concept in food kiosks for the Royal Melbourne Show.
Grand Parades on the main arena were a popular Royal Melbourne Show attraction and tradition.
The motto of the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Limited is as old as English literature and dates back to the Paxton Letters of the fourteenth century.
The making of the Hollywood movie 'On the Beach' was a significant event for Melbourne and for the Melbourne Showgrounds.
In 1898, the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) submitted an application to the RASV Council requesting that a booth be erected for the sale of light refreshments and afternoon tea on the showgrounds during the annual show. This request led to the establishment of the White Ribbon Tea Rooms.
The RASV has a rich history, which is closely entwined with the development of Melbourne and Victoria. Our history and stories belong to the community and we welcome your participation in recording our shared heritage.
Each year, between 1957 and 1989, in the lead up to the Royal Melbourne Show, The Shell - RASV Journalists Tour took journalists on a guided tour of a particular region in Victoria to highlight agricultural industries and the plight of farmers and their families.
Harold Thomas Popple was a lifelong member of the RASV. He joined in 1933 and continued his membership until 2010 – 78 years in total. Harold passed away in 2010 at the age of 103.
Bob Morgan, RASV public relations manager 1964 - 1977. For more than a decade Bob Morgan, as RASV public relations manager, sold the fun and excitement of the Royal Melbourne Show to families across Victoria.
An energetic Chief Stewardess
A tale of knitting, royalty and a bouncing baby.
Do you know the story behind the painted murals at the Showgrounds?
The RASV Trophy Collection represents over 160 years of reward and recognition in the agricultural industry and allied fields. The aesthetic and historical qualities of the trophies are such that the Collection is of state and national significance.
The Marshwood Challenge Trophy was first awarded in 1974.
The Col. AV Pope Cup was first awarded in 1950.
The Alice Laidlaw Memorial Trophy was first awarded in 1947.
The Alistair Irving Memorial Trophy was first awarded in 1988.
The K G Luke Perpetual Cup was first awarded in 1946.
The Arnold Caddy Memorial Trophy was first awarded in 1951.
The Prince of Wales Cup was first awarded in 1971.
The Borthwick Trophy was first awarded in 1953 at the Coronation Show.
The Victoria Agricultural Society Champion Ploughing Cup was awarded in the 1870s.
The Providence Cup was first awarded in 2012.
The Waterford Charolais Youth Team Challenge Trophy was first awarded in 2007.
The Earl of Stradbroke Cup was first awarded in 1924.
The Eileen Bartram Perpetual Trophy for Best Welsh Exhibit at the Royal Melbourne Show was first awarded in 1979.
The J F Guthrie Perpetual Trophy was first awarded in 1955.
The Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy was first awarded in 1962.
The Garryowen Perpetual is awarded to the winner of the Garryowen Equestrienne Turnout - one of the most prestigious equestrienne events in Australia. The trophy was first awarded in 1934.
The Janice M Gray Memorial Trophy was first awarded in 1988.