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Show Me The History: 7 Things You Need To Know

The Sydney Royal Easter Show has a long proud history but you don’t need me to tell you that! What I do need to tell you is that there was once a very unAustralian show…. a show… without beer!

Over the years there have been some interesting moments in the shows run and what better way to familiarise yourself than on World Heritage Day. I’ve compiled my 7 favourite facts and points about the Sydney Royal Easter Show for you. How many have you heard before?

1. The Show Was Once Held On Someone’s Property

Many patrons visiting the show today will be aware that before the Showground was a part of the Sydney Olympic Park precinct, it was held in Moore Park in what is now known as the Entertainment Quarter.

The show has been held in 6 different locations throughout its history. Originally starting in Parramatta, the show went on to operating in Liverpool, a 2nd location in Parramatta, Prince Alfred Park (Surry Hills) and Moore Park before arriving at Olympic Park in 1998.

The Liverpool location was in the town of Collingwood on property owned by agricultural society member J.H. Atkinson. Atkinson’s property was used for 3 years until the society and the government acquired new land in Parramatta.

Back in the late 1850’s, Liverpool would have been considered semi rural at best!

Easter Show Locations:

Parramatta (1st location) – 1823 to 1834

Collingwood (Liverpool) – 1857 to 1859

Parramatta (2nd location) – 1860 to 1868

Prince Alfred Park – 1869 to 1882

Moore Park
1882 to 1918, 1920 to 1942, 1946 to 1997

Sydney Olympic Park – 1998 to Today

Fireworks company PyroStar International recorded a video during the final show at the Moore Park showground in 1997.

2. All Is Not Fair In Love And War

The Easter Show has stopped numerous times. Originally the show didn’t run for 23 years between 1834 and 1857 as the agricultural society, responsible for organising and operating the show, elapsed due to low membership and rising costs.

The show also stopped due to a government ruling. In 1919, returning World War I soldiers brought the Spanish influenza home with them and the government had to ban public gatherings leading to the 1919 show being cancelled. The Royal Hall of Industries at Moore Park was used as a morgue.

Between 1942 and 1946, the show didn’t run as World War II soldiers were occupying the Moore Park show ground.

3. Take A Bite of Food, Not A Bite Of Your Wallet

The Easter Show is full of amazing options for food and beverages and over the years show patrons have been on a hunt to find the best bargain.

My stomach and I have been out on a mission to find the best deal on food.

If you’re looking to feed a family on a budget, head over to the northern side of the Showground Stadium. In the ‘Sydney Royal’ grand stand you will find Snack Shack where you can pick up an array of hot food for just $3 each. Thats right, hot chips, crumbed chicken pieces, pizza single and more are just $3 each.

You can also pick up a 650ml bottle of Mount Franklin water for just $2! That’s half the price compared to some of the various food trucks and stalls around the show ground. There are also Coca-Cola 250ml can varieties for $2 for those looking to treat themselves.

Looking for something different? Check out the $3 cheese toasties. For an extra $2 they’ll throw in a diary farmers flavoured milk.

4. Show Bags For Days!

The (year) 1900 show saw the introduction of free sample bags. Patrons had the chance to test out products and produce when visiting the show. This concept would go on to become the phenomenon and obsession we have with Show Bags today!

Lets face it, when you can get an Oreo Cookie bag for $10 with enough Oreos to give you diabetes in one hit, they’re practically free samples!

5. How Much Wood Can A Woodchuck chuck?

It would be hard to find someone who doesn’t recommend checking out the would chopping at the show! Show patrons have been memorised by this sport since it was included in the show back in 1899.

6. A pub… no, a show with no beer!


In 1948 a strike at the state’s three biggest breweries lead to a show without beer. Don’t worry though, patrons discovered a suitable alternative.

Adults attending the show found wine was a suitable alternative to wet their whistle. Today there are a number of licensed sellers in the showground and recognition for Australian wine producers have been a part of the show since 1885.

7. Keeping Traditional Trades Alive

Old tools of the trade
An old printing press

This year as a part of World Heritage Day celebrations, you can discover amazing skills that the community in Bathurst are displaying as a part of World Heritage Day.

The team from The Bathurst Heritage Trades Trail work hard to ensure these skills aren’t lost to time. Chris had John Kitchen, a vintage bike builder, in the booth at Showground Stadium talking about his work and his Steam Punk fashion!

The Bathurst Heritage Trades Trail can be found on the lawn next to The Little Big Top Amphitheatre.

Detail on The Heritage Trades Trail
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