Mr Brian Parry AM

The CEO who got the Show celebrate Japan and Italy

Brian Parry AM was the CEO of the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria from 1981 to 1986 and saw the introduction of two international themed Shows.

When Brian Parry joined the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria in 1981, he came from a management background, not one of agriculture.

“There’s not many places you can go where there’s people screaming on rides, people buying chocolates, kids running around, beautiful arts and crafts, lovely animals, it’s a big deal,” he said.

During his six year term, Mr Parry worked closely with the Council to significantly increase the level of free family entertainment at the Show, in addition to introducing agricultural based education programs, themed primarily at city guests, particularly school children. Mr. Parry was successful in significantly reducing the number of rides, games and novelty stands on the Showgrounds and achieved a higher overall standard of amusements. He was also responsible for initiating the theme concept for each Melbourne Royal Show, around which the Show's basic components of entertainment, education and agriculture are structured.

In 1984 under Mr. Parry's directorship, the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria staged its first "international" Show featuring Japan as guest nation. So successful was "See Japan at the Show" that the Society invited Italy to participate in a similar way. Mr Parry also made it his mission to see the use of the Showgrounds and facilities for other activities outside the Show. He succeeded in creating a greater awareness of the Showgrounds as a multi-purpose facility which has resulted in them being used for a number of diverse public activities, ranging from open air popular music concerts to national stud livestock shows.

Brian Parry (L) and GR Starritt (R) 2

Mr Brian Parry, Mrs Norma Starritt, Lady Janette Murray, and Mr G. Ray Starritt (then RASV President) examining the winner of the Florence Monod Memorial Award, 1983. Image source: Melbourne Royal Heritage Collection.