CEO Message - March 2024

I am pleased to announce that Melbourne Royal is an official partner of the inaugural FutureAg Expo 2024, to be held at Melbourne Showgrounds from 17-19 April. FutureAg Expo 2024 presented by Hannover Fairs Australia is an all-new conference and trade show for suppliers of agricultural and agro-industrial products and services serving the markets of Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific. The conference features a fabulous lineup of speakers and panel discussions on a range of topics including innovation, thought leadership, sustainability, biosecurity and technology. Melbourne Royal Executive General Manager Agriculture, Darren Keating has been on the advisory committee assisting Hannover Fairs Australia curate the conference program and he will take part in panel discussions.

The value and importance the beer and brewing industry places on the Melbourne Royal Australian International Beer Awards is highlighted by the record number of breweries that have entered this year. The 2024 Melbourne Royal Australian International Beer Awards has turned out to be a record year, with more than 400 breweries from all around the globe entering the Awards. I thank all the breweries that entered and trust they enjoy great benefits from having their product judged in the largest annual beer competition in the world that assesses both draught and packaged beer.

I am pleased to announce that the Melbourne Royal Australian Food Awards will be expanded this year with judging of three categories including Sweet & Savoury Preserves, Dairy as well as Meat & Smallgoods. Entries for Sweet & Savoury Preserves open 11 April and all three categories will be judged at Melbourne Showgrounds from 27 June to 5 July 2024.

Planning for the 2024 Melbourne Royal Show is well-advanced. There is nothing like the thrill and excitement of winning a coveted Melbourne Royal blue ribbon and this year will be particularly special for the Garryowen Equestrienne Turnout, with 2024 marking 90 years since the first time the event was first introduced. The competition is named after three-time Melbourne Royal Show champion saddle horse, Garryowen, whose owner Violet Murrell died on 24 March 1934 while trying to save her horse and other animals from a stable fire. Entries for the 2024 Horses in Action competition will open 24 April.

The Melbourne Royal Woodchop Championships will be held over the first four days of the Melbourne Royal Show from Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 September, with entries opening on 20 March.

Entries for Beef Cattle, Sheep, Alpacas, Art, Craft and Cookery, Dogs, and Poultry will open progressively over the coming months, and I will update you in future editions of the newsletter. Alternatively, you can visit our Competitions & Awards page to learn more about Melbourne Royal’s competition program.

The Melbourne Royal Board, management and staff were very saddened to learn of the passing of Graeme Barker on 18 February 2024. Known as the 'Voice of the Show' Graeme's remarkable journey as a Show announcer spanned 43 Melbourne Royal Shows. From a young showjumper to an iconic announcer, his dedication and passion were unwavering, and recognised with prestigious awards including the President's Medal in 1997. Graeme's contribution to the Melbourne Royal Show will be forever remembered and I extend my sincere condolences to Graeme’s partner Jacqui Murrell along with his family and friends.

Our membership year ends 31 March and I sincerely thank all Melbourne Royal members for their support and involvement. I am pleased to confirm that Melbourne Royal members enjoy reciprocal privileges at the 2024 Sydney Royal Easter Show being held from 22 March to 2 April 2024. I thank the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW for extending reciprocal privileges to Melbourne Royal members again this year and I wish the Society well for the upcoming 2024 Sydney Royal Easter Show.

We were delighted to hold the 2024 Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow at Melbourne Showgrounds 21-25 February. Congratulations to Caravan Industry Victoria CEO Daniel Sahlberg and his team on presenting a fabulous event.

Melbourne Showgrounds is the venue of choice for a huge line up of events, exhibitions, award nights, music festivals, gala dinners, and conferences in the coming months including the following:
Supanova 2024
Coles Healthy Kicks Program
The Pet Show
Victorian Dance Festival 2024
FutureAg Expo
MotorEx 2024

The Melbourne Royal team looks forward to working with the event organisers to maximise the success of the events and exhibitions being held at Melbourne Showgrounds and ensure that all involved or attend have a fabulous experience.