On the way home from school, Miss 10 was talking about things she was learning at school including the history of The Ekka (the Brisbane Exhibition / Royal Queensland Show).
The conversation with my daughter stirred my own curiosity, and I refeshed my own historical understanding. In true Queensland style, the word exhibition in Brisbane Exhibition was shortened to Ekka. And we don’t think of it as anything else!
1876: The first exhibition in Brisbane was held at Bowen Park in 1876
1877: The first ride was a merry-go-round
1919: First time the show had to be cancelled due to an influenza outbreak (it was also cancelled in 1942 due to World War II)
1984: The first firework display in the main arena
1926: The first night time program was held following the introduction of electric lighting
1950: Strawberry ice-cream & dagwood dogs were introduced.
1964: The animal nursery introduced
2000: Wood chop event redeveloped
Random fact: The first showbag was a bag of coal! Apparently so!
* Information via ‘Showtime— A History of the Brisbane Exhibition’ by Joanne Scottand Ross Laurie, 2008.
The original intent of the Brisbane Exhibition was to promote and encourage newly invented agricultural and industrial devices. Cattle and other farm animals were also exhibited during the show, a practice that continues today. But the heart, the heart is this: The Ekka provides “a unique opportunity for country and urban residents to come together in a celebration of Queensland lifestyle”¹. I love that!
My favourite things about The Ekka: the strawberry ice-cream and the exhibits. I love all the exhibits: food; animals; everything! I loved the Ekka as a child and now I enjoy sharing that love with my own children. It’s about Brisbane, it’s about community; it’s about this wonderful state we live in called Queensland.
Strawberry Ice-cream Sundae
According the Ekka website, approximately 10 tonnes of strawberries are used to make the Ekka Strawberry Sundaes each year. The Ekka Strawberry Sundae is mouth-watering top to bottom, from the crunchy wafer cone to the smooth white ice-cream, sweet chopped strawberries, delicious gourmet strawberry ice-cream, swirls of fresh cream and topped off with a tasty fresh Queensland strawberry. Profits help fund research to find cures and save lives.
The Spirit of The Ekka in Pictures
One year while visiting the Ekka, I made a point of capturing the essence I could see through photographs. Here they are: