Jack Rae OAM
There’s few names more synonymous with the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria than Jack Rae OAM.
After more than 70 years volunteering in an extraordinary range of roles, Jack officially retired from the heritage committee in 2020 – heralding an end to an era that began in the 1930s when a young boy from a dairy farming family became captivated by the magic of the Melbourne Royal Show.
Jack was a founding member of the Victorian Agricultural Society Association in his 20s and went on to become its third president. During this tenure in 1971, Jack was appointed as a councillor of the RASV, and officially recognised as a Life Councillor in 1991.
A hard worker with a knack for knowing what needed to be done, Jack was a member of the pig, dairy cattle, horse, poultry, catering, caged birds, feline control, and heritage committees. He was instrumental in the creation of the show girl competition, and was chief steward of the dairy cattle competition.
The master of diversity, Jack’s skills and experience culminated in his most endeared role – ringmaster. He spent 12 years overseeing ring events and recalls with fondness instigating the memorable parades held in Swanston Street. Horses, sheep, cattle, wagons; the spectacle shone the spotlight on Victoria’s rich agriculture sector.
Jack remained on the dairy cattle committee until 2018. It proved to be a full circle for the man who has given so much to the Society and the Show.
“I started with the dairy cattle committee, and coincidentally, I finished with the dairy cattle committee,” Jack mused at the time.
“I’m very pleased, after having been through the various avenues. It was nice to finish up where you started.”
Noelene King OAM
Noelene King's journey with Melbourne Royal began as a young girl attending the Show with her father, Jack Rae OAM. Today, she shapes the future of the organisation as a director.
Her childhood memories are filled with experiences at the Show, from visiting cousins who kept their horses under the roller coaster, to witnessing the transformation of the Victorian Agricultural Shows Association building.
Following in her father's footsteps, Mrs King has actively participated in various committees, including the Melbourne Royal Beef Cattle and Beef Carcase Committee, where she was one of the few women involved. She has also been part of the Poultry Committee.
Her expertise in running cattle shows and extensive knowledge of agriculture earned her respect among her peers. Mrs King's dedication and contributions led to her appointment as chair of the beef cattle and carcase committee, where she worked tirelessly to improve the show and mentor young stewards.
Beyond her committee roles, Mrs King played a pivotal role in the redevelopment of the Showgrounds, advocating for first-rate facilities for showcasing cattle and sheep. Her passion for agriculture and youth development was recognised with an Order of Australia Medal, highlighting her significant contributions to the agricultural show movement.
Mrs King's journey continues today as a director of Melbourne Royal through which she remains actively involved in supporting the organisation and inspiring young people in agriculture. Noelene joined the Board of Directors in 2011 and is Chair of the RASV Foundation and a member of both the Nominations & Performance and Master Planning Board Sub-Committees.
Hear from Jack himself in his oral history interview below