175 years ago, the Hon. Donald Kennedy MLC was the first president of the Port Phillip Farmers' Society.
In 1848, the Moonee Ponds Farmers' Society was formed and held its first Ploughing Match. In that same year they became the Port Phillip Farmers Society. Leading this group was MLC Hon. Donald Kennedy. He was the president from 1848 until 1864, the year he died.
Donald Kennedy oversaw the first land grant to the Port Phillip Farmers Society of three acres on Sydney Road, Parkville and in September that year a show was held at the Parkville Showgrounds. It wasn’t until after his death in 1870 when the Port Phillip Farmers’ Society became the National Agricultural Society of Victoria.
MLC Hon. Donald Kennedy was a pastoralist, banker, a politician in colonial Victoria and a member of the Victorian Legislative Council. He was a huge promoter of agriculture in the early years, in particular scientific agriculture. The aims and object of the Port Phillip Farmers Society were written as follows, “the objects of this Society shall be to encourage a spirit of emulation amongst Agriculturists, Makers and Importers of Agricultural Implements, by offering prizes, to be competed for annually, for the best samples of Grain, and other Agricultural Produce; for the best Stock, for Agricultural, Grazing and Dairy purposes, and for the best Agricultural Implements.” Principles Melbourne Royal is still built on today.