CEO Update - December 2022

As we approach the festive season and the end of 2022, it’s an opportunity to reflect on what has been a very successful year for Melbourne Royal® and look forward to an exciting 2023 when we celebrate 175 years 

Importantly for Melbourne Royal, after two years of COVID disruptions, this year we returned to delivering on our purpose – to celebrate agriculture, cultivate events and strengthen communities.  

Highlights from 2022 include but are not limited to: 

Melbourne Royal Awards  

  • Judged and presented all four beverages’ awards - Beer, Coffee, Distilled Spirits and Wine
  • Australian Distilled Spirits Awards – record entries, more than 850 
  • Australian International Beer Awards – In May, a record 900 plus guests attended the Trophy Presentation dinner in the Victoria Pavilion at Melbourne Showgrounds  

I thank our respective Committees and Industry Advisory Groups for their involvement, counsel and support in assisting us maximise the appeal and success of each of these awards. In addition, we are most grateful for the incredible support we receive for our Melbourne Royal awards from the respective industries, in particular those who generously volunteer along with sponsors, suppliers and of course those thousands of businesses that enter our awards. Thank you! 

Melbourne Royal Show 

  • Melbourne Royal Show returned bigger and better than ever in 2022  
  • More than half-a-million people come through the gates across 11 days, the highest attendance for 15 years 
  • More than 50,000 attended each of the first four days, including two days being sold out for the first time 
  • attracted a record 1.1 million visits during September 

Thank you to everyone who was involved in making the Melbourne Royal Show better than ever in particular: 

  • Melbourne Royal Competition Committees for their tireless work, commitment, passion and enthusiasm to maximize the appeal and success of their respective competitions 
  • The 1100 volunteers who assisted us deliver the event, involved in a variety of roles from judges, stewards and customer service 
  • Competitors and exhibitors for taking part in the Show  
  • Melbourne Royal members for your support 
  • Principal partners Agriculture Victoria, Coca Cola Europacific Partners, Kubota Australia and Woolworths; Major Sponsors Best Friends Pets, Sushi Hub and TAC; along with our Media Partners Channel 9 and Herald Sun; and all our other sponsors. 
  • Carnival operators, showbag retailers, food vendors and retail exhibitors 
  • Hundreds of casual staff and more than 900 business were involved in some way with the 2022 Show including suppliers and service providers. 

Melbourne Showgrounds 

  • The Victorian events and exhibitions industry bounced back in a big way this year and it’s incredibly pleasing that Melbourne Showgrounds was the venue of choice for a huge variety of events, exhibitions, functions, festivals and other activations  
  • More than 140 external events – including Disney drive through cinema, Meatstock, Caravan, Camping and Touring Super Show, MotorEx and Equitana  
  • Increased utilisation of the fabulous Victoria Pavilion for signature functions including the North Melbourne Football Club’s Syd Barker Medal, Western United Gala Awards Night, Speedway Australia Awards and corporate events such as the Target Town Hall and the MECCA end of year celebration 
  • Continued community support as the largest and most efficient COVID testing site in Victoria until was closed to make room for the Melbourne Royal Show in September  

To our Melbourne Showgrounds clients of which there are many, thank you for choosing Melbourne Showgrounds as your venue. The Melbourne Royal team look forward to working with you to maximise the appeal and success of your events again in the near future. 

Melbourne Royal has fabulous partners, service providers and suppliers that assist us deliver successful events at Melbourne Showgrounds. I particularly thank and acknowledge Encore Event Technologies and Moonee Valley Racing Club’s catering group, Dean & McPherson. Both venue partners have contributed significantly to assisting Melbourne Royal elevating our venue offering and experience. 

Our People 

Our achievements in 2022 would not have been possible without the incredible commitment, support and passion of all involved and associated with the Melbourne Royal including but not limited to our directors, staff, committees, Industry Advisory Groups, members, exhibitors, sponsors and volunteers. 

As a membership organisation we highly value the support and involvement of our Honorary Life members along with all our financial members. Pleasingly, we had the highest number of new members join in 2022 for 15 years.  

I thank our President, Matt Coleman and Board of Directors for the considerable time they devote to Melbourne Royal and in particular their tremendous support and counsel they provide to management.  

We have a wonderful team of staff at the Melbourne Royal. I very much thank the Executive Leadership team and all the staff for their passion, commitment and enthusiasm to deliver successful programs and outcomes. I am most grateful for their incredible support, commitment and engagement. 

Our highly experienced and dedicated Board, Executive Leadership team and staff are committed to ensuring the Melbourne Royal continues to grow and prosper. Together with your ongoing support, we will continue to adapt and innovate as required to deliver programs and initiatives that align with our purpose. 

Most recently, the Melbourne Royal Board of Management and staff were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Jack Rae OAM. Jack had a long and significant association with Melbourne Royal over many decades. Jack will be fondly remembered by the Melbourne Royal  community. Our sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to Jack’s family and in particular, Jack’s daughter Melbourne Royal director, Noelene King OAM. 

Celebrating 175 years in 2023 

2023 will be an exciting year for Melbourne Royal as we celebrate 175 years, and 140 years for Melbourne Showgrounds at Ascot Vale, and we look forward to you being involved in our celebrations and future success. 

Thank you to our Heritage Committee who have dedicated significant time and energy into assisting us plan and develop a program to celebrate 175 years. A signature event to commence celebrations will be the 175th  Gala Celebration on Saturday 1 April 2023save the date – more details to be published in the new year.  

In addition, available for purchase will be commemorative limited edition: 

  • Coffee table book will be available for purchase, featuring wonderful stories about some of the people and families that have helped shape the organisation’s remarkable history and future, capturing memories, moments and innovations 
  • Wines – Shiraz and Chardonnay from Hanging Rock Winery 
  • Limited edition Brandy ‘XO’ from St Agnes  
  • Limited edition gin from Anther Distillery ‘1848 Melbourne Royal Gin’  

The festive season is quickly approaching, and the summer holiday period will provide a valuable opportunity for all of us to reflect, relax, and refresh in readiness for an exciting and successful 2023. 

The Melbourne Royal management team are taking time off from Monday 19 December 2022 to enjoy the Christmas and New Year period with family and friends and will progressively return to work from Monday 9 January 2023. 

Thank you for your ongoing support and I wish you and your families the very best for the festive season and the new year.