Monday, 14 March 2016

Royal Easter Show Flashback: 1991

With the Easter Show set to start on thursday at Sydney Olympic Park, I thought I'd look back through my collection to gain an insight into what the Easter Show was like 25 years ago.

1991 was the second Easter Show that I can remember going to and as pointed out last year, not missed one since.

The 1991 Royal Easter Show was the seventh last show held at Moore Park (1997 was its final year). In the previous year, its future was being sealed, it was heading west to Homebush Bay. Sydney had also made its decision to bid for the 2000 Olympic games, and that would further change plans.

As with every year so far, I  have found the preview guides in the newspapers to be highly valuable in terms of what was happening in 1991.

Dates: March 22 to April 2 1991


It may appear to be more affordable to the average person, but remember you could purchase either a show entry ticket only or the all in one ticket like today where you pay a flat admission charge and includes public transport to and from the show on all modes. Cityrail offered Showlink Tickets which included a return rail fare to Central and bus to Moore Park.

Adults: $11.50 (Showlink - From $13.00). This was one dollar more than 1990.
Children: $5.50 (Showlink - From $6.00)
Students & Pensioners: $8.50 (big hike from $5 for pensioners in 1990).

Family Super Saver Tickets were available for $39.50

This year, an adult will be charged $40.50 for Easter Show admission but is lower if booked online.


In addition to regular timetabled services, special bus services operated from Central Station, Circular Quay, Bondi Junction, Dolls Point and Kogarah direct to Moore Park.

Park & Ride Stations were at the Goulburn Street Carpark and the Domain Carpark.


  • Fiji, Portugal & The Phillippines were the guest nations
  • Moonlight Concerts featuring a roster of artists including: Johnny Diesel & The Injectors, The Angels, Julie Anthony, Athol Guy & Bruce Woodley (The Seekers) and Slim Dusty.
  • Easter Alive - Normie Rowe focused on Christian Rock. 
  • Midnight Oil leading a concert on the final evening to raise funds for Sydney's homeless attended by 25 000 people. 
  • The Grand Parade.
  • Below is an advertisement promoting the Police Exhibition exhibition for 1991.

Source: NSW Police Service. 1991. "Police and Young People Talk Together" (Advertisement). The Sun Herald, March 17: 108.


In 2016, there are over 300 bags available, and all viewable on the Easter Show website.  The choices can be overwhelming today, but in 1991, many options were there.  In 1991, showbags were from $2 to $10 with the average bag costing $6. Showbags in 2016 will sell for as high as $30. Bertie Beetle was and still is $2 though you can choose from several other Bertie Beetle Bags that retail for up to $15. There are two show bag advertisements that I've included for you to get a feel of what was available.


1. Anonymous. 1991. "Great Value Show Bags at This Year's Royal Easter Show (Advertisement)." The Sunday Telegraph. March 17: 37.

2. Anonymous. 1991. "Super-Hero Showbags" (Advertisement).  The Sunday Telegraph. March 17: 35.

3. Anonymous. 1991. "This Year's Top 5 Showbags" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph Mirror, March 21:51. 

Key Statistics

According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald on April 3, 1991:

  • Total attendance was 942 000 (Up 86 000) on the previous year, and the highest attendance since 1985. The Sunday Telegraph reported on April 15 that 167 000 had attended the show on Good Friday, the busiest Good Friday since 1975. Note that only 759 000 attended in 2015, which is down 20 % when compared against this figure. 
  • 1 100 children were lost.
  • Almost 1 million showbags were sold.
  • 8500 cartons of beer.
  • 7400 metres of hot dogs.
  • 106 000 cups of chips
  • 52 500 ice creams.
  • 300 tonnes of rubbish were removed daily from the showgrounds. 
Source: Anonymous. 1991. "Show ends with plea for homeless." The Sydney Morning Herald, April 3: 2. 

I thought it would be worth mentioning that 2016 will seen the return of the guest country with one of the main exhibition halls being handed over to allow for this to happen. India will be the guest country for 2016.