Chief Executive Update - September 2021

I am delighted to officially launch our new Melbourne Royal® branding in our first edition of the all-new Melbourne Royal® News.

The rebranding of RASV to Melbourne Royal® signifies an exciting new era for our organisation as we look forward to celebrating a remarkable 175 years in 2023.

Since being formed in 1848 as the Moonee Ponds Farmers Society and soon after the Port Phillip Farmers Society, our organisation has undergone a number of name and brand changes over the years as our business has evolved.

After extensive review, consultation and consideration, we have decided to rebrand our organisation from RASV to Melbourne Royal®. The Melbourne Royal® name is familiar to many of you, particularly our members and exhibitors who commonly refer to being involved or participating at the Melbourne Royal®.

The change to Melbourne Royal® as our public facing brand does not change our business entity name, this remains unchanged as the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Limited.

Moving forward all of our events, awards and competitions will be branded Melbourne Royal® including but not limited to Melbourne Royal® Show, Melbourne Royal® All Breeds Championship Show, Melbourne Royal® Beef Cattle Competition, and Melbourne Royal® Wine Awards.

Our vision is for Melbourne Royal® to be globally recognised as a seal of excellence and highly valued for showcasing food and beverage, produce and producers; presenting premier events; and activating and delivering vibrant event spaces.

We will progressively rollout the new branding over the coming weeks and I trust you will enjoy being involved with the Melbourne Royal® for many years to come.

It should be Showtime!

Melbourne Royal® News has been emailed to you on 23 September which was scheduled to be the opening day of the 2021 Melbourne Royal® Show. Under normal circumstances many of you would be at the Melbourne Showgrounds with family and friends ready to compete to win a coveted Melbourne Royal® blue ribbon and others of you would be making your final preparations to exhibit.

For all of us, it’s incredibly disappointing that the Victorian community is not able to come together with family and friends to exhibit or enjoy the fun, discovery and excitement of the Melbourne Royal® Show for the second consecutive year.

The only other time the Melbourne Royal® Show has been cancelled in consecutive years was during World War 2, between 1940 and 1945. If history is anything to go by, the 2022 Melbourne Royal® Show will be fabulous, as the first Show after World War 2 attracted record attendance.

We look forward to history repeating in 2022 when the Melbourne Royal® Show returns bigger and better from Thursday 22 September to Sunday 2 October.

With the cancellation of the 2021 Show, we did explore and consider, in consultation with our Competition Committees, options to conduct alternative Melbourne Royal® agricultural competitions.

We were hopeful to present alternative competitions in 2021 as we understand and appreciate the considerable time, effort and commitment that our exhibitors place on preparing for a Melbourne Royal®.

The state-wide lockdown in Victoria and the COVID outbreak in Shepparton region unfortunately disrupted any plans being considered to hold Melbourne Royal® Beef Cattle and Carcase competitions in Tatura and the Poultry competition in Shepparton.

I greatly appreciate the enthusiasm and work undertaken by members of the Beef Cattle Committee and Poultry Committee in exploring alternative options and the exhibitors for their ongoing support and understanding during these extraordinary times.

New Virtual Competitions

I am pleased to advise that we have created two new online competitions to keep the spirit of the Show alive. There’s a Virtual Sheep Competition for young sheep enthusiasts of all skill levels to enter and have some fun - from beginners to the highly experienced; and an online Makers and Creators Competition for our passionate Art, Craft & Cookery exhibitors.

COVID 19 has unfortunately caused the cancellation of a number of regional agricultural shows throughout Victoria. This is incredibly disappointing as agricultural shows provide significant social and economic benefits for participants, the State and local community as well as marketing opportunities for the businesses and services who exhibit. For the latest update on the status of Victorian Agricultural Shows can be found here Calendar of Shows.

Beverage Awards to proceed

The current lockdown in Victoria has also disrupted our plans for the 2021 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards (ADSA) and the Melbourne Royal® Wine Awards, however we remain confident in delivering both of these programs this year.

We have adapted our plans to enable the record 759 entries in the ADSA to be judged online in mid-October and we remain optimistic that judging of the Wine Awards will be able to proceed from Monday 15 – Friday 19 November at Melbourne Showgrounds.

Thank you to our Members

During these extraordinary times, we are very appreciative for the support of all our members who chose to maintain their membership despite the cancellation of the 2021 Melbourne Royal® Show and forgoing the associated privileges with the event. Thank you, we are most grateful.

On Tuesday 31 August, the 2021 Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Limited Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held online and I thank those many members who attended the meeting. All financial members are welcome to read the 2020/2021 Annual Report.

The Outlook

In closing, it was a positive sign to see that restrictions are beginning to ease and that the State has a roadmap out of COVID lockdown. We are expected to reach the key milestone of 70% of the eligible population being fully vaccinated by 26 October and 80% by 5 November according to the Victorian Government’s Roadmap.

As these milestones are progressively achieved, Melbourne Showgrounds will be able to recommence holding functions, weddings and events with an initial density quota of 1 person per 4 sqm. Pleasingly, one minor adjustment to restrictions has enabled us to offer to clients the use of the Virtual Studio at Melbourne Showgrounds to broadcast a performance, class or concert.

In the meantime, I trust you will enjoy reading this first edition of Melbourne Royal® News and I look forward to keeping you well informed. Please take care and do not hesitate to contact me should you have any queries.

Brad Jenkins
Chief Executive Officer