The Perth Royal Show is an annual agricultural show held in Perth, Western Australia at the Claremont Showground. It features informational exhibits, agricultural competitions and animal showcases, a sideshow alley and rides, and showbags. It has been held for over 100 years and is organised by the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia. It is held during the spring school holidays, either during the last week of September or the first week of October and at its peak, attracted attendance of around 460,000 people.[1]

Perth Royal Show
View from a Ferris wheel of Sideshow Alley in the evening at the Perth Royal Show
GenreAgricultural show
VenueClaremont Showground
Inaugurated7 November 1834; 189 years ago (7 November 1834) Edit this at Wikidata
Previous event2023
Next event2024
Organised byRoyal Agricultural Society of Western Australia Edit this at Wikidata

History edit

The Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia (RASWA) held its first Fair and Cattle Show at Guildford on 7 November 1834.[2][3][4] It included equestrian events, sheepdog trials, woodchopping, and prizes for cattle and sheep (these events are still part of the show today). The primary purpose of the show was to showcase Western Australian industry, primarily agriculture.

The show was moved to the Claremont Showground in 1905,[5] when it became known as the Perth Royal Show.[6][7] That year 30,000 people attended.[8] At some point a September/October timeframe to hold the show was established to align with the calendars of farmers.[9] World War I interrupted the show between 1914 and 1918; during this time the Claremont Showgrounds were used to house and train Australian troops.[10]

In 1929, the Centenary Pavilion was erected, making it one of Perth's largest undercover venues.

In 1940, because of World War II the show went on a hiatus through to 1944; again the Showgrounds were used by the military during this period. In 1945 the return of the show was celebrated as a "Victory Show".[10]

In 1965, show attendance reached 250,000 for the first time.[10]

In 1979, Prince Phillip opened the show. In celebration of WAY 79, the show ran for 16 days.[10] In 1980, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip visited the show.[10]

In 1995, a new Showgrounds railway station was opened; 460,000 people attended the show in 1997.[1]

In 2004, the Royal Show was named an "Icon of Western Australia" by the Western Australian government and the National Trust of Western Australia, as part of the Western Australian 175th Anniversary celebrations.[8]

In 2015, the show was attended by 353,000 people, down from 410,000 in 2014.[11] 311,000 attended in 2016, while exhibitors cited 2017's show as "one of the worst years they have experienced" in terms of attendance.[12] The drop in attendance during this period, mostly attributed to poor weather, led to some suggestions to move the show to a different time of the year or a new venue.[9][13] The WA government's withdrawal of a subsidy that provided free tickets to children under 12 years of age also impacted attendance.[14]

In 2020, the show, initially scheduled to start on 26 September 2020, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Western Australia as "implementing an appropriate COVID-19 safe plan for this year's show was not possible".[15] The cancellation cost RASWA more than $2 million.[16]

In 2021, the show returned, opening on 25 September 2021. The WA government contributed $4 million to help RASWA recover financially from the 2020 cancellation, and to help stage a COVID-safe event.[17] A walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic also operated on site during the course of the show.[18] The 2021 show implemented a daily 60,000 attendee cap; partially because of this the show sold out for the first time in its history on opening day.[19]

The modern show edit

Events and exhibits edit

A display in a pavilion showcasing the Great Southern region

An entry fee applies to enter the show. This fee covers the show's more "traditional" events that showcase Western Australia's agricultural sector and other industries. These events at the show include:

The show also features entertainment such as musical acts, roving performers, professional wrestling, and a nightly fireworks show. Although the show continues to showcase traditional events, its agricultural focus has been somewhat replaced by a commercial fairground atmosphere.

Showbags and Sideshow Alley edit

Overlooking Sideshow Alley at the Perth Royal Show in 2002

Like at other agricultural shows around Australia, showbags – themed or branded bags containing products and merchandise such as toys or confectionery – are sold at the Perth Royal Show by a number of vendors. They are a focal point of the show for many children, though some showbags (chiefly aimed at adults) can cost over $100.[20]

The show also features an expansive area called Sideshow Alley, which hosts several amusement rides on the west side of the showground. Entry to each of the rides costs extra for attendees and is paid for at the attraction. Rides at the show usually include several haunted houses and bumper cars, a chair lift, a Ferris wheel and a number of thrill rides, and often at least one small roller coaster. Sideshow Alley also features numerous show games such as fishing, shooting, and tossing games.

Transport and parking edit

Showgrounds railway station, a common entry point to the Perth Royal Show

The show attracts several hundred thousand people each year, which usually creates problems for visitors heading to the Claremont venue, which was selected over 100 years ago and is now surrounded by residential housing. RASWA and the Town of Claremont encourages visitors to take public transport to the show if possible.[21]

Parking at the show is notoriously difficult due to a lack of parking spaces around the Claremont area.[21] To facilitate the increased demand for parking during the show, parking space is hired on private front lawns and school/club parking areas near to the showground. This activity is community-natured and is often organised by school children or run as a fundraiser for a school or club.

Showgrounds railway station is on the Fremantle line of the Perth public transport system, which provides transport during the show and for other major events at the showground. Bus services also operate in the nearby area. A family going to the show can purchase a FamilyRider ticket from railway station ticket machines or buses.

Funding the show edit

The show was originally funded entirely by the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia. The society funds the current show, alongside the Western Australian government, visitors' entry fees, exhibitor and competitor fees, and commercial sponsorships. Despite this, the show has operated at a loss in some recent years.[11][13]

References edit

  1. ^ a b "History". Perth Royal Show.
  2. ^ "THE WESTERN AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL". The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal. Vol. II, no. 97. Western Australia. 8 November 1834. p. 386. Retrieved 4 May 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "We've Been Showing Off Since 1834". Daily News. Vol. LXVII, no. 23, 237. Western Australia. 3 October 1949. p. 6 (FINAL). Retrieved 4 May 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "THE FIRST SHOW—AND TODAY". The Mirror. Vol. 14, no. 753. Western Australia. 3 October 1936. p. 31. Retrieved 4 May 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ Vigilans et Audax (3 November 1905). "The West Australian". p. 4. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  6. ^ "ROYAL AGRICULTURAL SHOW". The West Australian. Vol. XXI, no. 6, 122. Western Australia. 31 October 1905. p. 9. Retrieved 4 May 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "THE FARMER'S DAY". Sunday Times (Perth). No. 409. Western Australia. 5 November 1905. p. 4. Retrieved 4 May 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ a b "October – Royal Show". The Constitutional Centre of Western Australia. Government of Western Australia. 12 June 2015. Archived from the original on 15 March 2019.
  9. ^ a b Emery, Kate (31 July 2018). "Royal Show boss shoots down relocation 'whispers'". The West.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Timeline". RASWA. Retrieved 19 July 2023.
  11. ^ a b Acott, Kent (10 August 2017). "Perth Royal Show: Poor crowds leave Royal Agricultural Society with $1.7 million loss". Perth Now.
  12. ^ Tyrrell, Claire (30 September 2017). "Perth Royal Show: rain and fragile economy adds up to low crowds and empty rides". The West.
  13. ^ a b Wynne, Emma (10 October 2017). "Clouds over Perth Royal Show not enough to force change of dates, organisers say". ABC News.
  14. ^ "DECLINING CROWDS LEAD TO ONGOING PERTH ROYAL SHOW LOSSES". Australasian Leisure Management. 9 August 2017.
  15. ^ Swift, Bree (19 August 2020). "No Perth Royal Show for 2020". Farm Weekly. Australian Community Media. Retrieved 27 June 2021. [Premier] Mr McGowan said implementing an appropriate COVID-19 safe plan for this year's show was not possible.
  16. ^ Brammer, Jenne (22 October 2020). "Perth Royal Show cancellation cost more than $2 million". The West.
  17. ^ Peterson, Oliver (27 June 2021). "The Perth Royal Show is back in 2021". 6PR. Nine Radio. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  18. ^ Peterson, Oliver (29 September 2021). "Thousands of COVID vaccines available at Royal Show". 6PR.
  19. ^ Dupe, Cally (25 September 2021). "Perth Royal Show: Tickets sell out on first day as 60,000 people flood Claremont Showground". PerthNow. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  20. ^ "Baker s bag breaks record – The West Australian".
  21. ^ a b Budihardjo, Nadia (23 September 2021). "Where not to park in Claremont for the 2021 Perth Royal Show". PerthNow.

Further reading edit

  • Cooper, William., Moore, Garrick and Michael White.(2004) Adversity and achievement : a history of the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia Claremont, W.A.: The Society. ISBN 0-646-43969-3

External links edit