Perth Royal Show
The Perth Royal Show is an annual agricultural show held in Perth, Western Australia at the Claremont Showgrounds. It features informational exhibits, agricultural competitions and display animals, a fairground and rides, and showbags. It has been held for over 100 years and is organised by the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia. It currently occurs during the spring school holidays (either the last week of September or the first week of October) and attracts around 500,000 people a year.
The Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia, established 1831, held its first annual agricultural show, the Fair and Cattle Show, at Guildford on 7 November 1834. The show was moved to the new Claremont Showgrounds in 1905. In 2004 the Royal Show was named an Icon of Western Australia as part of the commemoration of 175 years of Western Australian Self Government.
The primary purpose of the Show was to showcase Western Australian industry, primarily agriculture. It has been the venue for the display of new animal breeds and sports. The first Show included equestrian events, sheep dog trials, wood chopping, and prizes for cattle and sheep. These events are still part of the Show today.
The Modern Show
In 2013 the Show will be held from 28 September to 5 October.
Transport and parking
The Show attracts around 500,000 people. This has created new problems for the Claremont venue, which was selected over 100 years ago.
Parking at the Show is notoriously difficult. To facilitate the growth of the Show, parking space is hired on private front lawns and school/club parking areas proximal to the Show. 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 to the nearby area. A family going to the Show can purchase a FamilyRider ticket from railway station ticket machines or on buses.
Showbags and Sideshow Alley
The scope of the Show has also expanded. Although it includes traditional events – such as animal competitions – its agricultural focus has been somewhat replaced by a commercial fairground atmosphere.
The ‘showbag,’ which became part of Australian shows as an advertising gimmick, are now sold at prices ranging from $1 to $150  each and contain a number of cheap novelty toys and lollies. Showbags are related to a particular candy product, television show, product brand name, or ‘jumbo’ bags containing a number of brands. They are a focal point of the Show for many younger children.
The Show also hosts a sideshow alley. Rides are paid for at the venue. Rides include several haunted houses and bumper cars, among others. The show features the Python Loop, which is a medium-sized roller coaster and the "Mega Drop", the world's fastest and fastest accelerating drop ride, reaching speeds of up to 204 kph in 1.8 seconds. Sideshow Alley also features numerous show games. These include fishing, shooting, and tossing games. In fishing games the player must use a fishing rod to fish out a small plastic duck or other object, which has a prize number on the bottom. Shooting games, common at many shows, involve shooting down tin cans using a low-powered air rifle and usually, corks as ammunition. ‘Tossing’ games involve throwing balls into buckets.
Shows and performances
An entry fee applies to enter the grounds. This fee covers the more ‘traditional’ aspects of the show in providing information to Western Australians. For example, free events at the show include:
- Various events in the main arena including wood-chopping, equestrian events such as horse racing and – more recently - monster trucks
- A large number of various shows in pavilions, exhibiting such things as animals (including sheep, alpacas, cats, dogs, domestic poultry, pigeons and goats) and new products (foodstuffs, gardening and household tools and massages are common displays).
The fee covers events such as a nightly fireworks show.
Funding the show
The show was originally funded entirely by the Royal Agricultural Society. The current show is funded by the Society, the Western Australian Government, visitors' entry fees, competitors' fees and commercial sponsorships.
- "Vigilans et Audax" (3 Nov 1905). "The West Australian". The West Australian. p. 4. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
- 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