We are RAST,
The Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania
The Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania traces its history back to 1821 when a group of residents of Van Diemans Land corresponded with the Official Secretary and gained approval for the establishment of a Society for the protection of animals. Tasmania has the distinction of being the first colony in Australia to form an Agricultural Society when the “Van Diemans Land Agricultural Society” was formed in Hobart Town on 1st January 1822. The first show was conducted in January 1822, in the Old Market Place, just in front of the present State Parliament House.
The Royal Hobart Show venue has changed many times over the past 198 years and has included Salamanca Place, Hobartville, Bridgewater, New Town, Elwick Race course and even the Hobart Town Hall. In 1903, the Society purchased the 40 acres of bushland then known as the “Elwick Knoll” at a cost of 2525 pounds, and the first Show, at the Elwick Showground, our present site, was held in 1904. In 1922 His Majesty King George V approved the granting of the prefix ‘Royal’ to the Society and thus we became known as The Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania.
A $4 million redevelopment of the Showground took place in 1980 and provided Pacing and Greyhound racing facilities, an upgraded arena suitable for a variety of events, and the enclosed Grandstand and Amenities building which includes bars, restaurants, betting hall, meeting rooms and offices. These areas are available for public hire. In 2012 a master plan was developed to guide future development of the site. A further $30 million dollar development took place in 2015 which included a revamped motor home park and a significant commercial development.
In the intervening years the Society has grown in strength and stature and in addition to the Royal Hobart Show conducts annually the Royal Hobart Wine Show, the second largest Wine Show in Australia. In recent years The Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania has added the Royal Hobart Fine Food Awards and the Tasmanian Vineyard of the Year Competitions to its portfolio. More recent business additions are Tenancies at the Showground, Showground Market and the very popular Motor Home & Caravan Park on the ground. The Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania is possibly the oldest cultural institution still operating in Australia and is now focussed on celebrating 200 years of showing in 2021 and continuing to make the Royal Hobart Show and the Society contemporary, relevant and sustainable for the next 200 years.