Chief to step down after epic run

Danella BevisCountryman

It has been 14 years since Martin Molony took his first step through the Royal Agricultural Society's doors.

With a new concept plan in the wings, which includes the redevelopment of up to 4ha of the showground, the chief executive of eight years says it is time to step down from the role in April next year.

Mr Molony says the concept plan, expected to be released to the public in March next year, has potential to generate a multi-million dollar income stream, and would be best served under a new person at the helm who had the capacity to oversee its implementation over a 10 to 15 year period.

"I've seen significant capital expenditure on the grounds and the refurbishment of a number of buildings," he said.

"You could also probably say millions of dollars in capital expenditure in upgrading fences, roads, the fire hydrant system, underground power and the refurbishment of the arena.

"We are teaching children not only about general agriculture and animals, but we are teaching them about where food comes from and starting that at a younger age - that's the future direction of this organisation."

Throughout the year, Mr Molony also visits schools as part of the RAS interactive Farm to School program, which has so far educated 35,000 primary school children about where their food comes from.

Despite his work days sometimes stretching out to 16 hours during the Royal Show, Mr Molony said it was simply the "nature of the beast".

With a permanent staff of 40, about 28 councillors and past presidents, not to mention an enormous volunteer base that has expanded from 1400 to 2500 people over his time as chief executive, Mr Molony said one of his highlights at the RAS had been working with many skilled and talented people.

"It is an extremely complex business … it is not just about money in and money out and marketing - it is everything," he said.

One person guaranteed to be up and at 'em each morning is Pam Raven, who is enjoying her 40th Royal Show as an employee this year.

After her 30th year at the RAS, the "jack of all trades" had the Raven Room named after her, and even now she still remembers the clacking of rows and rows of typewriters as she sat typing out competition entries in the 1970s.

"Computers have made it a lot quieter because it was very rowdy back in the day," she said.

"Every show as far as I can think back has been different … it is amazing how different it can be each year."

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