200 years of agricultural showing in Hobart was celebrated on Wednesday April 14 with an event on the lawns of Parliament House where the Royal Hobart Show first began.
The Show is one of Australia’s oldest annual events. With the permission of Parliament House, the day featured a petting zoo, bullocks, a mini-Carnival, vintage machinery, and a historical display. There was also a release of homing pigeons.
The mini-Show, open to the public from 10.00am to 3.00pm. “Should provide children with some great holiday entertainment,” said Scott Gadd, CEO of the Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania.
The Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania (RAST) is one of Australia’s oldest entities. Its origins go back to 1821 – the same year that the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte died. Land and stock holders met at a Hobart hotel in 1821 to form what was originally called the Van Dieman’s Land Agricultural Society, now the RAST.
At the time they described Tasmanian agriculture as the great Source of Colonial Prosperity. Their initiative in founding an agricultural society received strong vice regal support – what we’d call “fast tracking” today.
The first Show, held on the Parliamentary lawns in 1822, was the first agricultural show in Australia.
“The occasion will be a chance to acknowledge our debt to all those who maintained and built the Show over the last 200 years,” said Mr Gadd.
“Most of them were volunteers, and that remains the case today – a striking example over two centuries of the people of the bush and the townies in Hobart who thought it important enough to come together and organise a showcase of the best that Tasmania has to offer the world.”
“While the economic focus in modern times moves to hi-tech and service industries, the fact remains that a successful and vibrant agricultural sector, and the food it produces, are the bedrock of everything else our community does,” said Mr Gadd.
“Without farming, cities simply can’t exist.”
Following the announcement of Government support for the redevelopment of the Showground, the 2021 Show will occur as normal at the Showground, Covid-19 allowing. However, the 2022 Show may need to find a new, temporary home.