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Local Time

36 days
to go

Friday 7 to
Sunday 16
August 2015

Our History

Our History

Share your memories of The Ekka

State Library of Queensland is looking for stories and memories of the Ekka. They have uploaded iconic images of rides, animals and food to Historypin to inspire you. Hark back to the days when you had your first dagwood dog, a date at Ekka, or the first time you were allowed to go unaccompanied by a parent! Whatever the story, this is your chance to tell it. Find out how to contribute your story via SLQ's digital volunteer project Pitch In!

The Royal National Association

On 13 August 1875 a group of colonists met at the Brisbane Town Hall to form the National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland. The association's charter, with Governor Sir William Cairns as its president, was to promote and encourage the agricultural and industrial development of Queensland; as well as provide a unique opportunity for country and urban residents to come together in a celebration of Queensland lifestyle.

The First Show

Bowen Park was chosen in January 1876 as the site for the first Show. The park covered 6.8 hectares bordered by Bowen Bridge Road, Gregory Terrace and a creek which ran through the middle of what is now Main Arena.

The 'Intercolonial Exhibition of 1876' was held from 22 - 26 August. A public holiday was declared and on opening day 17,000 people attended - a colossal success, given that the total population of Brisbane at the time was only 22,000.

Men attended in their suits and ladies in their finest garments. Food was served on long tables and the first showbag - a bag of coal - was free for all visitors.

The Origin of 'Ekka'

The first 'Royal' Show was held in 1921, when the Association was granted the prefix under warrant from His Majesty King George V.

Since then, the shortened name "Ekka" has replaced "Exhibition" in the Queensland vernacular, indicating locals' affection for the Show.

Ekka has since been held every year with only two exceptions. In 1919, Brisbane suffered a Spanish influenza epidemic, and in 1942 during wartime the Showgrounds were used as a staging depot for troops moving north.

The modern Ekka

Today, Ekka runs for ten days and attracts about half a million visitors every August. Ekka is famous for its mix of entertainment, agriculture and education. From Champion Rooster of Show to the glamorous fashion parades, Ekka has always celebrated the rural and the urban; the traditional and the innovative, and it's for this reason the event holds a special place in the hearts of Queenslanders - as it has for generations.

Learn more about the History of the RNA.

Spirit of Ekka

Embrace Ekka's rich history and its unique role in the life of Queenslanders across all generations. It's Ekka time, and the spirit of Ekka belongs to you. Watch the Spirit of Ekka video.