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