Did You Know …?

Mrs Debbie Turner | School Archivist

The Ekka came to town!

Back in August 1876, the Brisbane Exhibition opened on a public holiday and welcomed 17 000 visitors to the inaugural agricultural event. The event was a great success considering the population of Brisbane was only 22 000 at the time.

The entry fee was half a crown (about two shillings). Men attended in their suits and women in their finest garments. On display throughout the Exhibition were long tables of homemade food, wood chopping competitions, and displays of cattle and other farm animals. The first show bag was a bag of coal which was distributed free to all visitors.

The Exhibition has been cancelled only twice in its long history. Once, when the Spanish Flu pandemic was at its peak in 1919 and the second time during World War Two when troops occupied the showgrounds as a staging depot before moving northwards.

In 1928, Horace Dixon (the Founder of TSS) took some of the older boys to Brisbane to attend the Exhibition. The trek to Brisbane involved a horse and cart ride to the Southport train station to catch ‘the rattler’ to Brisbane. Sometimes, the trip could take as long as five hours each way.

This annual event, known affectionately as the Ekka, has entertained Queenslanders for over 141 years and TSS continues to be involved through displays and activities.

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