Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Royal Hobart Show organisers look at dramatic site transformation

Royal Hobart Show organisers look at dramatic site transformation
October 22, 2018

With the 2018 Royal Hobart Show set to be held this week, the Royal Agricultural Show Society of Tasmania has revealed its plans to dramatically transform the site including building a hotel and housing.

Running since 1822, the Show has faced significant challenges in recent years as a result of declining attendances.

In 2015, the Show Society leased part of the showground site to hardware chain Bunnings in order to generate extra income, while this year the Show’s duration has been reduced from four days to three.

The Wednesday, which was traditionally the main day for school groups, has been dropped.

Show Society Chief Executive Scott Gadd told the ABC that without the Bunnings deal - worth several hundred thousand dollars annually - this year's 196th show would not be going ahead.

Gadd advised “we've been hit with some big costs in the last year - power costs, insurance costs and others - and if we hadn't done that Bunnings deal we would have had no capacity to meet them."

It has been a tough year for shows in Tasmania.

The Launceston Show was cancelled in December, then revived in a reduced format of just one day instead of three while rhe century-old Devonport Show was cancelled and a replacement Farm Festival failed to secure enough backing to be staged.

Gadd said he was determined to prevent that happening in Hobart, advising “we're going to have to get smarter about other income-generating activities.

"So we're looking at tourism, we're looking at housing and we're looking at a much higher-utilised event precinct."

The shed that houses Bunnings already overshadows the showground's now smaller central arena and there are plans in place to dramatically change the site further.

A new exhibition pavilion will be built next to the Brooker Highway and the Tasmanian Planning Commission is considering a proposal for three more large retail spaces to be built next to Bunnings.

Gadd said longer-term plans included a three-and-a-half star hotel with river and mountain views and housing for hundreds in the area where homeless people were camping out earlier this year.

He stated “we're very keen on a pathway-to-purchase model for housing, which means you're not just subsidising rent, you're actually assisting people into home ownership.

"I'd like to see them all engaged in the stuff we do every weekend, like dog shows, cat shows.

"It would be a great little precinct."

With those plans comes promises of preserving the 196-year-old show but shifting it away over the next decade from commercial elements like showbags, sideshows and rides.

Gadd said the commercial presence had already begun to dwindle, with a major show bag provider and a major ride operator deciding not to make the expensive journey from interstate for this year's show.

Gadd added “the show, if we get our way (will have) more emphasis on agriculture, more emphasis on food and fibre, entertainment, family fun and less of that commercial element that we've seen come in over the last four or five decades."

The idea of reducing the commercial side is worrying for the Tasmanian Showmen's Guild, whose members deliver rides, sideshow games, food and showbags around the state.

They rely on the Hobart Show as a major part of Tasmania's show circuit.

The Guild's President, Debbie Welch, said she hoped the Society would continue to see the value in commercial activities, advising “you have to weigh up whether they would be viable once they lose the commercial side of it.

"That's really up to them."

The Royal Hobart Show runs from Thursday 25th to Saturday 27th October.

Images: Royal Hobart Show (top) and the RASST showground (below).

Related Articles

19th March 2018 - National Trust Tasmania to launch campaign to save Royal Launceston Show

19th October 2017 - Annual Devonport Show axed after 108 years

12th October 2017 - Fears 144th Royal Launceston Show could be its last

22nd October 2014 - Royal Hobart Show expected to attract 50,000 people

14th October 2014 - Showman’s Guild of Tasmania makes assurances on carnival ride safety

12th August 2013 - Prime Minister pledges $5 million for Hobart Showground redevelopment

17th October 2012 - Agricultural shows in decline, while country events thrive

26th October 2009 - Hobart Show draws big crowds

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Altitude Training Systems

Also at 3 Squill Place, Arndell Park NSW 2148 ATS are global leaders in altitude training and research. From mask systems and inflatable tents to simulated altitude facilities, we help…

read more

Fitness / Sport / Technology



Geoff Ninnes Fong & Partners (GNFP) is a structural, aquatic and civil engineering consultancy with broad experience in the design of new municipal and institutional swimming pools, hydrotherapy…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Design / Venues



Solarwise NSW / Dolphin Tech were the first and are the largest Dolphin dealer in NSW with a full service facility and full range of spare parts "on the shelf". We also provide on site…

read more

Aquatics / Venues



Headquartered in Brisbane with an Australia-wide network of satellite offices, PaySmart is one of Australia’s largest and longest-standing direct debit billing companies. In 1996 we began…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Technology



Aerobic Microphones Australia provides audio products for the fitness industry. Products include the sweat resistant Cyclemic and Aeromic headworn microphones and pouchbelts that are made in…

read more

Fitness / Technology



Technogym is the leading company in the Wellness and Fitness field all over the world. With 2,200 employees, 14 branches in Europe, U.S., South America, Asia  and Australia, Technogym exports its…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness



Myzone is the industry’s leading wearable technology solution. Myzone’s wearable products show and reward effort when you work out. It displays accurate real-time heart rate, calories, and…

read more

Fitness / Sport / Technology / Wellness



A leading designer and manufacturer of innovative waterslides and attractions, Australian Waterslides and Leisure (AWL) is also able to advise clients in the areas of concept and design, feasibility…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Waterparks


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business