The evolution of the Ekka’s show bags, which originally contained coal and condiments & More Latest

Each 12 months youngsters flock to Brisbane’s Ekka to take a look at the brightly colored show baggage stuffed with treats, toys and trinkets — a far cry from the pattern baggage of outdated.

As the Ekka kicks off for an additional 12 months, the Queensland Museum has unearthed some of the state’s oldest show baggage.

They originated when the Royal Brisbane Show allowed stall holders to present away free samples in 1902 — the very first one held coal.

“It was the earliest sample bag on record, and that piece of coal was worth a lot at the time and many were able to use the coal at home,” stated Tess Shingles, the museum’s appearing assistant curator for Queensland tales.

“It must have been a big hit, as the tradition of the show bag has continued to this day.”

Black and white photo of two young girls holding showbags.

Two ladies holding pattern baggage at the RNA showgrounds in 1946.(Supplied: John Oxley Library, State Library of Qld)

Sample baggage vs show baggage

Sample baggage have been originally stuffed with produce and edible objects that have been made and manufactured in Queensland.

“Technically the sample bags were the precursor to the show bags and were originally paper bags,” Ms Shingles stated.

“The plastic bags came in during the 1970s and at that time they switched to being more commercial and more about pop culture.”

The Bertie Beatle bag stays a show-goer favorite to today after first showing in Queensland in 1963.

Paper bag with a beatle on the front.

Bertie Beatle first appeared in the Hoadley’s pattern bag.(ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)

“Bertie Beatle was originally created to compete with Freddo frog,” Ms Shingles stated.

“The same company was making Violet Crumbles so they would use the by-product of the honeycomb in the Bertie Beatles.

“Bertie then featured in pattern baggage for Hoadley’s earlier than turning into a stand-alone bag.”

Another popular sample bag in the 1960s was the Rosella bag, which highlighted pickled products and the quality of its condiments.

“The bag confirmed folks how the pickling course of occurred and why their explicit merchandise have been secure and trusted,” Ms Shingles stated.

Red and blue bag with the words Rosella on the front.

The Rosella pattern baggage featured pickles and condiments.(ABC Radio Brisbane: Kate O’Toole)

Some of the first toys that appeared in the bags were cardboard pistols that would fire rubber bands.

“The toys have been usually secondary in the early days to the confectionary and meals; many of the toys can be put collectively when households received residence from the show.”

Many of the snack food sample bags claimed to be nutritional for children and were endorsed by health professionals.

“The Twisties bag is humorous because it was marketed as the wholesome snack and would use a photograph of the strongman holding the Twisties,” Ms Shingles said.

“A leaflet was additionally included in that bag saying that Twisties have been advisable by dentists as they have been safeguarding youngsters’s tooth and ought to be on each tuckshop menu.”

A bag saying Twisties

Bags for chips have been usually displayed as wholesome and endorsed by docs and dentists.(ABC Radio Brisbane: Kate O’Toole)

Keeping effective artwork historical past alive

The museum has also collected Ekka fine art entries from as far back as 1916 featuring button work, embroidery and knitting.

“One of the most iconic items is a framed work by a button maker known as John Ward, who entered an art work in 1916 made up of buttons and carved pearl shell from the Torres Strait,” Ms Shingles stated. 

Buttons and shells arranged as kangaroo and emus on black material.

A profitable entry from 1916 used buttons and pearl shells to create coats of arms.(Supplied: Queensland Museum)

A knitted christening gown and a handmade dog called Bo Bo also feature in the collection showing the variety of entries over the decades.

“Although it did not win a prize, the dachshund known as Bo Bo by Elise Hicks in 1972 has a particular place in our assortment,” Ms Shingles said.

“This half of the assortment reveals the expertise of native Queenslanders and that is why we preserve them as they have been exhibited.”

A handmade brown Dashund dog.

A hand-crafted canine was an entry in the effective arts competitors in 1972.(ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)

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