New-look for Hobart Show

FUTURE livestock and animal handling events at the Royal Hobart Show will look very different after changes to the running of the event. While crowds can return without restrictions this year, the show is moving from its previous home at the Glenorchy showgrounds to Hobart’s waterfront regatta grounds due to redevelopment of the original site.

However only the show’s carnival attractions will be held here. All other events including animal and livestock competitions will be held at various separate locations reaching as far north as Campbell Town.

While the show carnival, wood-chopping and entertainment will be run from the Hobart Regatta Grounds, arts, photography and craft events will be displayed from the Hobart City Hall. However, traditional animal judging and handling events will be stretched across the south of Tasmania. Equestrian events will be held in Cambridge, fleece, goat and sheep competitions are being held in Campbell Town while poultry, cavies and alpacas will be held a full month prior to the show proper.

It’s unclear what the long-term impact of separating the show’s agricultural components will be. Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania chief executive Scott Gadd said the location and date changes were done to keep the events animal competitions operating. “We decided that our first priority is to maintain our competitions and therefore, recognised the need to identify other suitable venues,” Mr Gadd said. “We can’t physically run all competitions on the Regatta site, we saw during Covid where many shows cancelled that they also struggled to retain volunteers and competitors.” Mr Gadd said the format would remain until the 2025 show, when the new facilities at the Showgrounds were due to be completed.

“The new facilities will be brilliant for all of our animals with purpose-built pens, they will also be housed close to their respective judging areas, therefore, avoiding the need to move animals through public thoroughfares,” Mr Gadd said. “Everything will be under one roof, with heating, effluent disposal, public interaction, bump in & out, all being considered in the design.”

Geoff Fader, who was CEO of the RAST from 2000 to 2005 and oversaw the first redevelopment processes at the showground, said the current committee should be commended for their efforts to keep the animal judging aspects running normally in difficult circumstances.

“They’ve done a great job to find locations where they can maintain the original parts of the show, their contributions to the sector over the years is underrated,” Mr Fader said. “The carnival is an important part of show events, it’s the key attraction, but how they’ve found a way to keep the animal judging and showing going is laudable.

“Over the 200 years it’s ran, it’s provided one of the best records of animal husbandry in the country, details on the best breeds, the best animals, it’s made a huge contribution to the agricultural sector.