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Ekka 06

August 16th, 2006

Today was People’s Day at the Ekka, and it seemed like all of Brisbane was there, except that we’d already seen half of them, dressed to the nines and headed for the races, on the train on the way there (and saw them again, much the worse for wear in many cases, on the way home).

On the TV news the head organiser was interviewed and said (imperfect recollection), ‘lots of people say the Ekka never changes, but actually there are lots of great innovations … but really it’s the same as ever’.

Put me in the ‘never changes and never should’ camp. I went as usual with my son, and, except that we missed the Silver Spike tracklaying competition, and tried out the Cliffhanger (you lie prone and it whirls around – well worth a go), it was exactly the same as last year – we watched the woodchopping and the stage hypnotist, lost our money on the laughing clowns and shooting gallery, rode the dodgems, Ferris wheel and Gravitron, checked out the cattle in the main arena, bought a showbag and reminisced about how they used to be really good value, then crammed onto the train for the trip home. Even this blog post is the same as last year’s.

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  1. August 16th, 2006 at 23:20 | #1

    … and it seemed like all of Brisbane was there…

    All, except me. Would have gone, except for the crowds and the expense.

  2. August 17th, 2006 at 10:20 | #2

    I stopped going years ago and have been drawn back into it again through having kids who want to go each year. We went on Saturday night and the crowds were not as bad as I thought they’d be. It was quite an enjoyable event. Having done my parental Ekka duty for the year, I went fishing yesterday morning.

  3. wilful
    August 17th, 2006 at 10:53 | #3

    Funny, they’ve totally destroye the Royal Melbourne Show as an event, by trying to ‘fix’ it.

    Kennett didn’t help, getting rid of the public holday, but for the rest of it, they just tried to guess what everone wanted and put a bunch of faddish city crap on, kicked out the rural side of things, didn’t realise that was a major attraction. Oh and now they’ve sold half the site to property developers. How very Melbourne.

  4. James Farrell
    August 17th, 2006 at 14:14 | #4

    It’s the shearing competitions and roundups that stand out in my memory. The Ekka gave me lifelong admiration for shearers and border collies.

  5. August 18th, 2006 at 09:18 | #5

    Pr Q says:

    ‘lots of people say the Ekka never changes, but actually there are lots of great innovations … but really it’s the same as ever’.

    Put me in the ‘never changes and never should’ camp…Even this blog post is the same as last year’s.

    Sounds like Pr Q has really got the spirit of small-c conservatism: “when you are on a good thing, stick to it”, “if it aint broke dont fix it” etc.

    If only more so-called conservatives were like that.

  6. August 18th, 2006 at 16:57 | #6

    Just one showbag, John? I haven’t been to the Ekka for years, but I remember trying to work out which combinations of showbags (2 or 3) would be the best value for my pocket money. Can’t remember exactly which ones, but the Cadbury showbag was always a favorite of mine.

    Still, I don’t think I’ll be back until I have little ones of my own. It’s the nausea induced from the smells of stale grease, tomato sauce and bull dung mixed together. Being shaked and vibrated on the rides doesn’t help either.

  7. Brian Bahnisch
    August 19th, 2006 at 10:53 | #7

    The Ekka has a number of different memories for me. Once in the late 50s I went with a mate on people’s day when they had a crowd of 126,000. I’m not sure if it has ever been topped. We headed for side-show alley which was packed solid. You literally could not move.

    Also in the 50s I remember attending a Billy Graham meeting there when I was at boarding school. Also we went there to meet the Queen in 1954 in her first trip here.

    Back in those days they used to play rugby union tests there. Again at school I remember playing a curtain raiser when we flogged the other mob 44-6. It was the first of several times that year we scored from the kick-off (after scoring a try) without a player being tackled.

    The place was also used for athletics meets.

    Didn’t Jim Soorley want to flog the place off and relocate the Ekka out on the edge of Brisbane somewhere? Hopefully such foolishness will never prevail!

  8. jquiggin
    August 19th, 2006 at 13:51 | #8

    Down and Out, we got the Cadbury bag. I try to keep the cost of the whole outing under $150 which isn’t easy.

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