The Melbourne Royal Board, management and staff were saddened to learn of the recent passing of Keith Urquhart and Estelle Nix.
Keith had a long association with Melbourne Royal, most notably his role as Assistant Ring Master.
Keith was appointed to RASV Council in 1977 becoming Chairman of the Farm Management Committee and was a member of the Horse Committee with a passion for Working Stock Horse.
Keith was acknowledged as a Life Councillor in 1997 and subsequently received Honorary Life membership in the same year.
Sincere condolences and sympathy to Keith’s daughter Helen and his family and friends.
To learn more about Keith’s remarkable journey with Melbourne Royal, visit Keith’s oral history.
For almost 40 years Estelle was the face of Melbourne Royal for the many judges, stewards, committees and exhibitors she assisted – and what she didn’t know about the dog competition wasn’t worth knowing.
Estelle started her lengthy career with the RASV in 1988 with a job in the pay office balancing the previous three years of the Show payroll. Writing out tax returns by hand, nothing gave her greater satisfaction than balancing within $50.
She later moved to the computer department and inputted what she describes as “boxes and boxes” of animal registrations from cattle, Clydesdales and dogs to wine and beer entries.
When the RASV took over running the dog competition, Estelle took on the role of Dog Coordinator for an incredible 25 years, during which time there were 5000-plus entries every year, making it the largest dog show in the Southern Hemisphere. It was a role she relished but seeking a change, she later joined the computer department as a test analyst.
Melbourne Royal happily caught up with Estelle in recent times for the Faces & Families series that celebrated 175 years of Melbourne Royal in 2023.
“It was between doing a Johnny Farnham comeback many times, and I later decided it was time to actually retire,” Estelle recalled laughing.
“I absolutely loved this part of my career and I have on occasions thought maybe I was a bit premature in retiring – only a little bit!”
The friendships and camaraderie she established with her colleagues, and some exhibitors, were treasured by Estelle, and she continued to remain in touch with many of the “oldies” as she endearingly referred to them – 40 years on.
“I don’t think any of the earlier staff would say Show time was easy, it most certainly was not,” Estelle reflected.
“But there was always a certain hype that went through the staff, knowing that you have done the best job to your ability and that always gave you a sensation of huge satisfaction after every Show.
“I can honestly say that my 35-years plus at the RASV was the most enjoyable of my career.”
Sincere condolences and sympathy to Estelle’s family and friends. The legacy she left at Melbourne Royal won’t be forgotten.