Ekka's history

Ekka's history

The first show

Bowen Park was chosen in January 1876 as the site for the first ever Royal Queensland 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 the Main Arena.

The Intercolonial Exhibition of 1876 was held from 22 to 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 due to the Spanish Flu epidemic and in 1942 when the grounds were used as a World War II staging depot.

History timeline

1876 THE FIRST EXHIBITION

1877 FIRST EKKA RIDE

1879 INTRODUCTION OF QUEENSLAND'S NEWEST TECHNOLOGIES

1891 DISTRICT EXHIBITS

1894 FIRST FIREWORKS

1919 FIRST EKKA CANCELLED DUE TO INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC

1920 EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES VISITS THE EKKA

1926 SHOW TRADITIONS

1942 WORLD WAR II

1950's EKKA FOOD TRADITIONS

1954 QUEEN ELIZABETH II AND PRINCE PHILLIP VISIT THE EKKA

1959 HRH PRINCESS ALEXANDRIA OF KENT VISITS

1964 ANIMAL NURSERY AT THE EKKA FIRST INTRODUCED

2000 SIDESHOW ALLEY AND WOODCHOP

2010 ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL EKKA'S IN HISTORY HELD

2011 GRAMMY AWARD WINNERS

2012 AUSTRALIAN FIRST

2013 EKKA WINS INTERNATIONAL AWARDS

2014 MILLION DOLLAR NIGHT SHOW

2015 THE YEAR OF THE FLYING PIGS

2016 THE RETURN OF THE OLD MUSEUM

2017 CELEBRATING EKKA’S 140TH

*Historical information and statistics sourced from 'Showtime - A History of the Brisbane Exhibition' by Joanne Scott and Ross Laurie, 2008; and RNA Archives.

No Forward 54.166.130.157