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The weird, wonderful and downright scary

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A haunted house full of zombies, flaming stuntmen falling from great heights, a veteran dog show entrant and fascinating fish facts – these are just some of the weird, wonderful and downright scary things on offer at the 140th Royal Queensland Show.

Returning to this year’s show is one of the Ekka’s most dedicated supporters, 91-year-old Phyllis Taylor, who has entered the dog competition for the past 65 consecutive years.

Ms Taylor has entered eight different breeds during her time and has a room in her Hervey Bay home dedicated to all of her awards, with more than 200 ribbons hanging on the walls from the Ekka and various country shows.

“The Royal Queensland Show gives me a great thrill every year, more than the country shows, because you are competing against the cream of the dog world,” she said.

“I do it for the love of dogs, it has been my passion ever since I was a young girl and it has been a wonderful profession to be in.”

This year, Ms Taylor entered two Yorkshire terriers, eight-year-old Bubbles and four-year-old Sparky, and on Sunday had already bagged two more awards in the Canine Pavilion.

She has also worn her Scottish outfit, consisting of a tam o’ shanter and kilt, for most of her time at the Ekka and hopes to come back again next year.

Meanwhile, Graeme Day has been involved in the fish aspect of the show, either as an entrant or steward, for more than 20 years. This year’s display in the Agricultural Hall showcased plenty of fascinating fish.

This included the South American black ghost knifefish, which can swim as fast backwards as it can forwards, as well as the Australian archerfish, which spits water two-feet in the air to knock insects out of trees to feed on. 

However, Mr Day said he had been disappointed by the recent direction the show had taken.

“When I first started coming to the Ekka, and remember I’m now over 60, it was an agricultural show. It’s diverted from agricultural to become more of a food show in the last five or six years,” he said.

“But the show society said this year that they want to bring back more of the agricultural side. This is just what we want, because it makes it more about the animals and getting the kids looking at the animals.

“We’ve got some unusual fish in here, fish from nine different countries as far away as Switzerland, and the only way you are going to get kids interested, is by seeing great-looking aquarium displays such as this.”

Elsewhere, the Hollywood Horrors haunted house featured plenty of impressively made-up – but scary – zombies.

There was also national and international stuntmen in flames diving from 25 metres in the air during the Western High Dive Show and four beeswax sculptures, including one moulded into a house, on display in the Agricultural Hall as part of the show’s apiculture section.

The Royal Queensland Show runs until August 20 at the Brisbane Showgrounds in Bowen Hills, with gates open from 9am and two fireworks displays nightly at 6pm and 7.40pm.

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