CEO Message - April 2024

I am pleased to announce that Art of the Brick, an immersive new LEGO art exhibition has opened at Melbourne Showgrounds. Art of the Brick features original collections with over 100 sculptures made from more than one million bricks, moving installations, 360° projections, and much more. The exhibition will be at Melbourne Showgrounds until 31 August and I encourage you to see this amazing LEGO art exhibition. Tickets are available here.

FutureAg Expo 2024 held at Melbourne Showgrounds from 17-19 April was a great success. The Victorian Minister for Agriculture, the Hon. Ros Spence (pictured) officially opened the inaugural FutureAg Expo presented by Hannover Fairs Australia. The conference and trade show attracted farmers, producers, manufacturers, importers and distributors of products and services related to agricultural, aquacultural, horticultural, livestock processes. Matt Coleman, Melbourne Royal President and I had the great pleasure of attending a dinner hosted by the National Farmers Federation (NFF) on the first night of the expo at Melbourne Showgrounds. I thank David Jochinke NFF President and Tony Mahar NFF CEO for their support and involvement in the inaugural FutureAg Expo.

Congratulations to Tim Bostridge, Managing Director, and Mike Nissen, Commercial Director, as well as the whole team at Hannover Fairs Australia for presenting a fabulous trade show and conference. We look forward to FutureAg Expo returning to Melbourne Showgrounds bigger and better in 2025.

The Great Australian Beer Spectacular (GABS) is another exhibition that will be held at Melbourne Showgrounds for the first time. The very popular three-day consumer exhibition to be held from 21 to 23 June 2024 is a fabulous celebration of beer and brewing that provides an opportunity for Australian brewers to reach, connect and promote directly to consumers.

Judging of the 2024 Melbourne Royal Australian International Beer Awards will be held at Melbourne Showgrounds from 6-10 May with a panel of 80 judges including 16 international judges from 9 countries. The Trophy presentation dinner will be held in the Victoria Pavilion on Thursday 16 May is expected to attract around 900 guests and tickets are available to purchase here.

Entries for the 2024 Melbourne Royal Australian Food Awards opened on 21 March. This year's awards have expanded to include smallgoods in addition to the categories of Sweet and Savory Preserves and Dairy with judging to take place at Melbourne Showgrounds from Tuesday 25 June to Tuesday 2 July. In a new initiative this year, the trophy-winning products and producers from the Melbourne Royal Australian Food Awards will be celebrated at an awards presentation luncheon in the Master Chef Pavilion during the 2024 Melbourne Royal Show on Thursday 3 October.

This year we are celebrating ten years since the Melbourne Royal Australian Distilled Spirits Awards were first held. Endorsed by the Australian Distillers Association, Melbourne Royal Australian Distilled Spirits Awards is the largest national awards program that celebrates excellence in Australian manufactured spirits, liqueurs, aromatics, vermouths and ready-to-serves. Entries are now open for the 2024 Awards and this year we are aiming to attract around 1000 entries, which is remarkable considering there were 115 entries in their inaugural year just ten years ago.

As we countdown to the 2024 Melbourne Royal Show to be held from Thursday 26 September to Sunday 6 October, entries for a number of Melbourne Royal agricultural and leisure competitions are now open. There is nothing like the thrill and excitement of winning a Melbourne Royal blue ribbon, in particular Best in Show. There are several exciting new categories and innovations this year and I thank our Competitive Section Committees for the considerable thought and work that has gone into preparing the Schedules for the respective competitions with our Melbourne Royal team.

Melbourne Royal membership year commenced on 1 April and membership renewals are now open here. If you are not yet a Melbourne Royal member, I encourage you to consider becoming be a member for the 2024/25 year. Melbourne Royal membership is extraordinary value that offers you and your family unique benefits and privileges across the range of Melbourne Royal events, competitions and programs including our signature event, the 2024 Melbourne Royal Show. For more information on membership or to renew your existing membership, visit our website.

The Melbourne Royal Board, management and staff were very saddened to learn of the passing of Judy Watson, the beloved wife of Allan Watson and mother of Simon and Nigel. The Watson’s have had a long and valued association with Melbourne Royal, most notably with the Melbourne Royal Wine Awards for which the Jimmy Watson Memorial trophy is the champion trophy Australian winemakers want to win. On behalf of the Melbourne Royal, I extend my sincere condolences to Alan, Simon and Nigel.

Finally, thank you for your ongoing interest in Melbourne Royal and I trust you will enjoy reading the additional articles in this edition of the newsletter. To stay well informed about all the latest news and updates with Melbourne Royal events, awards and venues, visit and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.


Brad Jenkins
Melbourne Royal