Showcase Your Creativity at the Melbourne Royal Show

Perfectly presented cakes, painstakingly crafted crochets, and finessed fine arts will all be on display alongside an expected 4000 entries in the state’s biggest exhibition of creativity at the Melbourne Royal Show in September.

Offering 550 classes and a variety of competition prizes up for grabs, exhibitors across a diverse range of disciplines catering for first timers through to the master, compete for a coveted Melbourne Royal blue ribbon.

Entries for lemon curds to tomato relishes, Anzac biscuits to confectionery, scones to sponge cakes are now open, so too those with a flair for photography, felting, sculpture or still lifes, millinery, leatherwork, tapestry and textiles.

New for 2024 is the ‘Dog Fashion’ class which offers canine couture creators the chance to enter a textile garment made with love for their furry friend, and the newly created ‘Pop Culture Craft’ is for fun and all things bedazzled jackets and bright friendship bracelets that have had a moment expressing pop idol devotion this year.

First time exhibitors to the Art, Craft and Cookery Competition can feel confident in the ‘Have a Go’ class and put forward baked goods or craft where they will be judged on skill and creativity.
The wide-ranging art category offers classes such as mosaic, printmaking, digital art, sculpture and a specific class that calls for pieces celebrating agricultural heritage, encapsulating the notion of the Show, where city meets country.

The diversity of this renowned competition also extends to younger creatives from school years Prep to Year 12, who can enter their goods in a range of classes, and compete for the chance to take home the coveted Janice Gray Memorial Award for most successful school exhibitor.

“Arts, Craft and Cookery entries for Melbourne Royal Show will close on Wednesday 21 August, so it’s time to get the creative juices flowing,” says Chair of the Arts, Crafts and Cookery Committee Malcolm Sanders.

“Plenty of competition prizes are on offer this year, but for exhibitors with the passion for creating, cooking and taking pride in showcasing their goods, this is just the icing on the cake.

“Celebrating community, creativity and expression, this competition has consistently offered something for everyone with a huge range of classes available for people of all ages - school children to lifelong competitors.

“We have several new competitions, including celebrating canine couture, pop culture craft and further growth in our innovative section of decorated cakes classes.”

While the competition has a strong female presence - it was originally named ‘Women’s Industries’ in 1911 - Paul Morrison from East Brunswick has made his mark over the past 14 years.

The 53-year-old’s two-bedroom apartment is home to hundreds of jars of preserves as he prepares his entries for the Show. From the first batch of strawberry jam to his crowd-favourite worcestershire sauce, it’s been a 17-year passion for Paul.

“None of my mates could care less about how you make a mustard pickle but when I get into the pavilion all the entrants just start chatting about what we love and it’s a great community,” Paul says.

Paul is now a familiar face among a sea of women but there’s certainly been no shortage of surprised responses to his presence. He recalls in the early days walking into an event for cookery entrants and receiving an amusing welcome.

“One old lady announces, ‘oh look, it’s a male’,” Paul laughs, “They love male entrants though and certainly the most successful recipes I’ve had have been passed down from these experienced ladies.”

As his delicious jams, jellies, relishes and sauces continue to stack up in his inner-city apartment, Paul has his sights set on glory in one section he’s yet to conquer.

Despite winning the coveted Best Exhibit Jam and Jelly Preserves at last year’s Show, “I’ve never won the raspberry jam before,” he laments.

Another familiar face in the cooking section is Anne-Marie Primmer. The Eltham North resident is the proud recipient of the McRobert Memorial Award for Most Successful Cookery Exhibitor a staggering 15 times, including 2023, and has been known to have more than 80 entries in the pavilion at any one event.

When it comes to baking, there are few competitions as hotly contested as the fruitcake section. The crème de la crème, the holy grail, the one everyone wants to win. Anne-Marie shares a few tips - line your tin well, know your oven and its temperature, and aim for even fruit distribution - to take your fruitcake from mediocre to magical. Of course, we all want to know what not to do too.

“One of the drawbacks that lets first time exhibitors down is they remove the fruitcake from the tin and place it on a cooling rack,” Anne-Marie explains.

“But the judge will turn your cake upside down and if they see the rack marks, it will be marked down.”

For more information and to enter, visit: