CEO Update - February 2024

Welcome to the first edition of Melbourne Royal News for 2024. We look forward to 2024 being a highly successful year with much to celebrate together.

We have commenced the new year celebrating the dairy industry with the cream of the crop being revealed at 2024 Australian Grand Dairy Awards.

Held at the Victoria Pavilion at Melbourne Showgrounds on Thursday 1 February, the 25th Australian Grand Dairy Awards hosted by Dairy Australia acknowledge excellence, quality and innovation across 18 dairy product classes, attracting entrants from each Australian state. Only manufacturers of gold medal-winning products that are made from Australian milk and have already been through a rigorous judging process at Australian qualifying competitions (such as Melbourne Royal) are invited to enter the prestigious annual Australian Grand Dairy Awards.

This year there were 380 entrants across 18 categories. Chief Judge, Russell Smith led a panel of judges to determine the finest products judged on flavour, aroma, texture, body, and visual appearance.

Two products you may want to include on your shopping list to enjoy are Victoria’s Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese Oak Blue which was awarded Grand Champion Cheese and Queensland’s artisan gelato shop Milani Minus Eight Degrees crowned as Grand Champion Dairy, for its Peanut Caramel Gelato. Both are sensational!

Melbourne Royal proudly partnered with The Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland (RNA) and The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RASNSW) as part of a collaboration with Dairy Australia to deliver the 2024 Australian Grand Dairy Awards. I thank David Nation, Managing Director and Glenys Zucco Head of Marketing from Dairy Australia for their trust in us to present the awards. I thank my counterparts Brock Gilmour, CEO RASNSW and Brendan Christou, CEO RNA for the collaboration along with Russell Smith, Chief Judge.

The Australian International Beer Awards is the first of the Melbourne Royal Food & Beverage Awards Programs to be held in 2024. Entries are now open, and we expect to attract around 3000 entries from more than 400 breweries from all around the globe to enter this year, making it the largest annual beer competition in the world assessing both draught and packaged beer. Judging will take place in early May at Melbourne Showgrounds, with the trophy presentation dinner to be held in Victoria Pavilion at Melbourne Showgrounds on Thursday 16 May. If you enjoy a beer or two, I suggest you secure your tickets early for this special evening as in previous years the function has been a sell-out with more than 900 guests in attendance.

I am pleased to advise that Melbourne Royal proudly received a commendation award in the 2023 Victorian Community History Awards for our book published to Celebrate 175 years – Celebrating our History, Cultivating our Future. The Royal Historical Society of Victoria in partnership with the Public Record Office Victoria presented the 2023 Victorian Community History Awards on Friday 2 February 2024 at The Arts Centre. This award is a wonderful recognition for the considerable time and effort dedicated to researching and publishing the book, particularly by our Heritage Committee and Meghan Grech, Heritage Coordinator along with Marcia Allan, EGM Marketing & Membership who managed the project.

It’s not too late to get a copy of this fabulous commemorative book. I am sure you’ll enjoy reading the many wonderful stories about some of the people and families that have helped shape our organisation’s remarkable history and future, capturing memories, moments and innovations. Copies of the book are only available here.

During December we were saddened to hear of the passing of Bill Chambers OAM. Bill has been a familiar face at the Melbourne Royal Wine Awards for many years. Born in Rutherglen in 1933, Bill became the fifth-generation winemaker in his family, serving as a Wine Judge for the Awards for the first time in 1950, and later as Chairman of the Royal Melbourne Wine Show judging panel for 21 years. In 1994, Bill was awarded the President’s Medal as well as a life member of Melbourne Royal in honour of his valuable contribution over many years. Our thoughts are with Bill’s family during this time.

Congratulations to Scott Chapman, who recently received an AM in the 2024 Australian Day Honours list for his significant service to the community of Victoria through a range of governance roles. Scott served as a Melbourne Royal Board Director for 11 years from 2009 and was awarded Honorary Life Membership in 2022.

The Victorian Caravan, Camping & Touring Super Show is one of the largest annual events held at Melbourne Showgrounds each year and the 2024 Show is set to be bigger and better than ever. I wish the CEO of the Caravan Industry Victoria (CIV), Daniel Sahlberg and his team all the best for the forthcoming 2024 Show and trust that it will be highly successful for all involved. Further details regarding the 2024 Victorian Caravan, Camping & Touring Super Show can be found here.

Our commitment to integrating sustainability and ethical considerations into an organisation's operations and decision-making processes are reflected in our recently released Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Strategy.

ESG is of critical strategic importance to Melbourne Royal. Our ESG strategy is designed to align our operations with broader societal and environmental goals, manage risks, and seize opportunities for growth and innovation in an evolving business landscape to drive sustainable business success in the long term.

Our ESG ambition is to celebrate our community, build trust, and contribute positively to the environment through our role as a venue, as the organisers of the Melbourne Royal Show, and as a platform for the agricultural community. A summary of our ESG Strategy is available for your reference on

Thank you for your ongoing support and involvement in Melbourne Royal and I look forward to keeping well informed during 2024.