Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Royal Melbourne Agricultural Show - My First

I put this photo up front because this is my favourite memory from childhood visits to our local agricultural show.  They weren't Disney characters back then but clown heads with big open mouths slashed with red.  I heard an ex-carnie (person who works in carnivals) say on the radio the other day that they and many other of the carnival attractions are rigged so that you cant win top prize.  That bottom pin is never going to fall over with a sandbag being thrown at it because it is weighted to stay put.   Bit of a spoil sport but then how many kids are listening to drive time radio on their way home from work.

standard take-away fare that certainly hasn't changed.

Fairy Floss - i use to love this stuff but couldn't stand the sugar overload now.   
Back home, back then, you knew whose Mum had baked the cake that had won first prize in the cooking competition and you knew who had made the best jam or chutney. It was certainly stiff competition when most of the older women in town belonged to the Country Women's Association (CWA).

The men in town all knew who would take out top prize for livestock, as it varied little year by year.  Usually it was one the rich cockies from a big station out of town who could afford to buy in pedigree breeders and pamper a beast in preparation for the show.

We all knew at school  who had thrown up on a ride and who (tsk tsk) had been seen smooching with one of the "carnies" around behind the livestock sheds.  In hindsight i think the attraction was not that these guys were so attractive it was that they were different.  Meaning you didn't spend your entire life growing up with them.

Arhh...  good memories.   Well it was all such a long long time ago.

Last Saturday, i went with Tom (his first show ever at 16) and friends (Naomi, Ian and son, David) to my first ever "Big Smoke" show.  Not just any show but the Royal Melbourne Agricultural Show.  In small towns throughout  the country the local shows prize winners usually get automatic entry into a regional show and then they progress to state level if successful. I'm sure this is the same worldwide and so by the time you get to Melbourne, you've got to be right up there with the best of the best.

Our big adventure started off at their home in Spotswood.  Ive got to show you it because it was recently renovated to become a two storey house and i love it.  Very Wisteria Lane, don't you think?

Out the back of this beautiful home are chickens and veggies in a lovely mature garden.   
We walked (more about that later) to Spotswood Station and caught trains to the Showground's doorstep.  Definitely the way to go as on Sunday a friend went by car and it took two hours to do the same journey and then they had to park miles away.  I don't travel on public transport very often and enjoyed the ride.

I had pre-purchased the tickets online. Adult - General Entry ($34) and Adult - (Entry and Ticket to Ride) for Tom $60 - Ouch!   Pre-warned i had a wad of cash but no need, they had ATM's very conveniently placed all over the place.  They certainly didn't have that back way back when.  Come to think of it ATMs didn't exist.  Gulp!

There were multiple gut wrenching make you want to vomit rides that I'm very glad Tom couldn't go on. Since his episode of Intercranial Hypertension that involved a spinal tap and going temporarily cross-eyed, he gets vertigo going on a round-a-bout so he was confined to Dogem Cars and a sedate trip on the Ferris Wheel.  His friend, David managed to go on a few of the others by himself with no ill affects.  Must be acclimatised to being thrown upside down and being shaken to death.  I couldn't imagine anything worse.

Our day, the adults that is, was spent wandering the pavilions of displayed prize winners, livestock competitions, and partaking in the the many samples provided by Victorians food producers.   We almost didn't have to eat lunch, but we did anyway.

A bakery set up inside preparing sausage rolls behind a glass wall.    
Lunch, beef pie with the flakiest of pastry topped with mash and mushy peas covered in rich gravy - $8.
   Good value and very good.  Why on earth would you go outside and buy greasy takeaway rubbish when inside you can get such wholesome quality food.  

Milk and Strawberry White Chocolate Fountains for dipping strawberries into.
Ian and Naomi with the Aussie Farmers Direct mascot.   I signed on for membership and when i get time ill take a look at how i can best support our local farmers by buying direct.  
Somehow Thomas the Tank and the Fat Controller made it inside out of the weather.  
Lining up for fresh prawn tasters.  Yep, Ian has Grinders coffee in hand as well.  Pretty fancy eating at these city shows.   
There were actually very few queues as we fortunately picked the AFL Grand Final Day to go and the forecast was for rain and hail.  It did neither. Everyone went Sunday which was packed, i believe.

Someone had a lot of time on their hands.  These are crocheted.  

You have got to be impressed with this outfit. 
Very clever and Funny - it really was beautiful

This is a cake made by a novice - seriously, a novice?
Not everybody got the memo about looking their best for judging.  

Really - just give up and go home or take a few notes from the next guy.  Sorry Shelby!

No joke, this dog is real.  Going for Best In Show it stood like a statue while it was primped and preened  right down to the hairspray.  There was a serious crowd gathered to watch and it didn't even blink.  When it ran it had springs and sort of pranced looking adoring up at its handler.
Two happy boys with ridiculous drink holders.  I think this was Tom's favourite thing from the Show.  He's still using it today.  
There were lots of good ideas in the backyard and outdoor living pavilions.  
OK, this is getting long.  We left about 7pm, travelling back to Spotswood by train and then a short walk back to our friends home.  We headed off shortly thereafter and were home by about 9pm.  It was a fantastic day that i really enjoyed.  My favourite for the day was the company.  Naomi and Ian were not only good companions but Ian must have taken a funny pill and kept us in stitches and near the point of peeing most of the day.  Not a nice thing to do to middle aged women.  Everything was an opportunity for a gag.  Well Done Ian, i needed to laugh.

The best $13 spent on the day.  This is a great book and i look forward to learning from the best.  

Oh, as for those feet, i am still taking pain killers and hobbling.   I need to lose weight!  No, that was not an invitation for diet suggestions.

Thanks for visiting Living In The Land of Oz


  1. Thanks for the turkey shout out!!! LOL - I love it. Isn't it fun? Here we call them "Fair" - kids join 4H and raise animals to take to the market for judging a selling etc.

  2. I have to admit that although my memories from going to the Melbourne show when I was 17 are a little hazy (it was half a lifetime ago after all) I still prefer the country shows. I remember having a blast at the Temora show and I think my parents took us to Whittlesea several times (although I only remember the massive muddy bog at the entrance one year). We have attended the Kyneton Show the last 2 years and had a blast. Much smaller and missing many of the great glories of the RMS but still plenty of hairdriers and shavers in view for the cattle, plenty of great preserves and fine fleeces to admire and of course sideshow alley although thankfuly it's not a mile long. They also had some lovely free activities for the kids - building a birdhouse, animal nursery and so on.
    There is something special about knowing who baked what cake though isn't there. More chance of a taste of the blue ribbon winner. ;) As an aside, my aunt maes beautiful beaded works and entered a bead framed mirror in the show which won 1st prize. :) Almost as good as a gold medal at the games. :D

    I hope your feet ease up soon. And hen you've finished drooling over your book, may I have a look? It looks srummy and fun!

  3. Hi Lynda, Ive been waiting to see you photos from the show. Looks like you had a great day and Toms smile certainly shows he had a good time. Love the teapot cosy how creative. Also that sheep { I hope it was a sheep or was it a goat}. I certainly remember the old days of the local shows think you pretty much topped it up lol. I took my kids last year for the first time ever , its such a big day and so much to see although I like to take a good look at all the displays where they are not patient enough for that all they want to do is ride those hideous scary rides. I actually suffer vertigo as well so they make me ill. Im happy to watch. Glad you had a great day. x

  4. Thanks for the tour of the Melbourne show, looks like a big event!

    I like to go to country shows, where the competition is not so fierce lol. It sounds like you had a wonderful fun filled day and that is the main thing. Apart from your sore feet of course. Grand final day was probably a good day to go :)

    I love that house, and I would love to see their back yard now you have mentioned it :)


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