Article by Katie Stanley, Executive Officer, Agricultural Shows of Australia.

As I walked through those familiar gates of Sydney Royal, which I had done for so many years prior, I took a moment to think about whether I would notice the difference in this show compared to those gone by.

I enjoy walking around the show early in the morning gathering photos of exhibitors preparing their animals and exhibits for the days’ judging ahead. To me this truly shows the enormity of time, effort and love that goes into all exhibitors at any show, but a Royal is certainly next level. 

2021 Sydney Royal Merino Fleece Judging

First impressions were that everyone had such a sense of happiness about them. For those that were around during the 2000 Sydney Olympics, it could be likened to that. People were genuinely happy to be out and about, meeting up with friends they may only see on a yearly basis and having a good old chat about all things Ag. 

As the public started to roll through the gates, the grounds filled with families, children, prams, and teenagers enjoying a day out without their parents.  With continuous sold-out days of their 60,000-person cap, the overall feel as you moved around was one of ease and calmness and although the Covid safe measures were in place, they didn’t feel like they were impacting your day at the show. Yes, there were the usual line-ups for those popular spaces (farm-yard nursery and showbag pavilions) but the lines flowed and with the crowd management system in place, it allowed the general public to easily identify beforehand those pavilions that had reached capacity and return at a quieter time.  Hand sanitising stations were distributed across the site, Covid Marshalls were present and cleaning staff numbers were increased to provide a Covid safe environment.  

All the usual attractions were front and centre. The motorbikes and utes in the main arena, the district exhibits showing an amazing display of produce from around the state, rides galore and little hands on the land teaching our younger generation where our food and fibre comes from. There was a multitude of animals across all pavilions including the impressive horses in the main arena and to wrap up the day an incredible night-time show including an exceptional display of fireworks.

ASC of NSW holds all their State Young Judges and Parading finals at Sydney Royal. These 9 competitions across Cattle, Sheep, Poultry and Alpaca are hotly contested as only the winner will move onto the ASA National Finals, this year to be held at the Ekka in August.

The NSW State Australian Young Farmers Challenge was an exciting display of teamwork focusing on farm safety and fun. The Albion Park Show Team were the outright winners and will be heading to Adelaide Royal in September to represent NSW in the National Australian Young Farmer Challenge. 

Winners of the Australian Young Farmers Challenge team at the 2021 Sydney Royal

The NSW Rural Achiever award saw 8 finalists spending a jam-packed week participating in social engagements, stewarding across a multitude of animal competitions, and getting to know the behind the scenes of what it takes to put on the largest show in the Southern Hemisphere.  Congratulations to Dione Howard from Milbrulong. Dione will be representing NSW as their Rural Achiever at the 2022 National Finals back at Sydney Royal. 

Sydney Royal Rural Achiever winner Dione Howard, Milbrulong

Sydney Royal staff and NSW Health should be beyond proud of what they have achieved putting together a successful and safe event for all to enjoy. This was the largest event in the world since Covid. 

Over the past few years, we have certainly had our challenges; drought, floods, fire, pandemic and to come together at the event, that for nearly 200 years brings the country to the city to share stories and meet up with old mates is just fantastic both socially and mentally for all involved. 

Here’s to next year!

Here’s a wrap up of Sydney 2021 by The Land