Among the twenty-five member founding council of the National Agricultural Society of Victoria stood James Buchanan; a dairy farmer and politician who had arrived in Australia in 1849 from Scotland. He settled in Berwick and began farming wheat, for which, in 1858 the Port Phillip Farmers’ Society awarded him a gold medal. As the price of wheat collapsed, however, he expanded his operation into dairying and the breeding of Ayrshire cattle.
In June 1870, talks began of a new agricultural society that would be 'similar to the Royal of England, or the Highland Society of Scotland'. And, in February 1871, James was elected member of the first council of the National Agricultural Society of Victoria (NASV) where he became widely regarded for his kindness and charity. James Buchanan passed away on the 11th of September, 1914.
The Buchanan legacy continued in 1954 with the election of his son, Mr. J. M. (Jack) Buchanan to council. Through the dairy cattle committee and the dairy cattle section of the Melbourne Royal Show, Jack Buchanan gave most of his life to the Society and was regarded as one of the top Ayrshire judges in Australia. Prior to his time on council, Jack was pictured on the front page of ‘The Sun’ milking a cow outside the newly renovated Agricultural Hall in the 1930s. His love for the Ayrshire breed ran deep as he was a second generation principal of ‘Gleneira,' the infamous Ayrshire Dairy Cattle Stud and was heavily involved with the Ayrshire Cattle Society in Australia, an organisation his father helped to establish.He was made a Life Councillor in 1973 and died on April 18, 1985, aged 87 years.
A third generation involvement began in 1973 with the appointment of Jack’s son, J. Keith Buchanan AM to the council. Keith later served as President from 1993 to 1997, with some of his major roles within the society involving the commissioning and adoption of the Crawford Report, overseeing the appointment of a new Chief Executive in May 1994 and the building of the Showgrounds Exhibition Centre. At the time of his appointment, Keith already sat on a number of show committees including the management, farm management and pig committees, and was chairman of the finance, membership and dairy cattle committees.
Keith also overtook his father as studmaster of the 'Gleneira' Ayrshire cattle stud, showing his cattle in the Melbourne Royal Show up until 1983. For his generous service and tireless dedication to his community, Keith was made a member of the order of Australia in 1979, and passed away many years later in 2007.
The enduring impact of three generations of the Buchanan family spanning more than 150 years is remembered fondly by Melbourne Royal.