Royal Melbourne Show won’t go on amid pandemic

By Rodney Woods

For the first time since World War II, the Royal Melbourne Show has been cancelled, this time due to the coronavirus.

Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria chief executive officer Brad Jenkins said the organisation was very disappointed but ensuring the health and safety of the community was paramount.

"The COVID-19 health crisis is unprecedented and the ongoing social distancing measures and mass gathering restrictions mean that in the best interest of public health, we are unable to plan and deliver the 2020 Royal Melbourne Show," he said.

"It was important to decide on the Royal Melbourne Show now, as many sponsors, exhibitors and competitors spend months preparing for the show.

"We also rely on hundreds of volunteers including committees, judges, stewards and more, who give their time so generously each year for the Royal Melbourne Show, many of whom take annual leave or time away from their farm."

The announcement follows the cancellation of the Adelaide Royal, Brisbane Ekka and Sydney Royal Easter Show earlier this year, all in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Royal Melbourne Show is Victoria’s largest annual community event, attracting around 450 000 visitors over 11 days each year and contributes more than $244 million in value to Victoria’s economy annually.